As a landlord, it’s essential for you to be able to reach your tenants when you need to. You can’t simply show up, as there are laws against sudden visits to rented properties. Traditionally, phone calls and snail mail were used to open up the lines of communication.
When it comes to block management (management a large block of flats with hundreds of tenants) the move to digital, emails and smartphones made it a little easier. Some landlords and letting agencies started using online portals that both tenants and landlords could access. This way, all parties can get in touch with each other, highlight issues on either side, and generally maintain a good landlord/tenant relationship.
Is it time for social media communication?
However, the digital world is making communication increasingly convenient and efficient and there is one medium in particular that clearly stands above the rest. Social media in property management is not completely unexplored grounds. Already, some real estate professionals have been using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for marketing and outreach, but what about direct communication with your tenants?
So, let’s take a look at the benefits, as well as the potential drawbacks of using social media and whether it’s worth considering.
It could make it easier to get in touch
As with any upgrade in the ways that we communicate, the ease-of-use and how much it’s likely to be used to impact how effective it is in the first place. For the majority of people using the internet today, it’s clear that social media is incredibly easy to use, whether it’s for public posts or for direct messages. Some older tenants may not be as comfortable using it, which means it’s important to always have other options available, of course, but most tenants are going to have no issue with it whatsoever.
It’s well suited for a mobile society
Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices have quickly become widespread in the modern world. Just about everyone has a digital device that they’re likely to carry with them throughout the day. Not only does this mean that social media for property management is likely to reach them more quickly, but it also reduces the risk of them missing the message entirely. After all, these devices and apps leave notifications, so they can quickly see when a landlord or agency has been in touch with them as soon as they look at their screen. Of course, you will never be able to reach a tenant precisely when you want, all the time, but it does reduce the chance of a message not going through.
Furthermore, tenants can communicate issues more precisely if they use their smartphone cameras. For example, it’s much easier to take a photo of a visual issue such as a leak or hole in the roof other than describe it, meaning a fix can be scheduled more quickly.
This has been adopted by Kent property management company LevelUP who effectively use social media to keep in contact with their tenants.
It can make the tenant more comfortable
Most landlords and letting agents will have the experience of seeing a tenant put their guards up whenever contacted. Social media offers a more informal and less imposing way to get in touch with them than a sudden phone call or an official letter coming through the door.
But it may also make a tenant uncomfortable
It might seem like a contradiction, but there are some ways that tenants might not be happy with you trying to add them on social media. It can feel like an invasion of their own privacy and they may want an online space where they don’t have to worry about being contacted by their landlord or letting agency. As such, it’s vital to make sure you get consent before reaching them through social media.
You can easily keep records
Most private messages and conversations on social media can be saved. As such, if there’s an agreement or conflict that arises between a landlord and a tenant, you will be able to keep the proof. It’s not as binding as an official contract, of course, but should any legal trouble stir, it can be useful.
Social media is still growing, and landlords and letting agencies are still learning how it can be used in different situations. However, there is no doubt that we will eventually see social media for media management becoming a more common sight. The technology is simply too convenient and too ubiquitous to ignore.
LevelUP is U.K.-based property management service provider. Its goal is to deliver a tailored, bespoke service through open and transparent channels of communication facilitated by better use of new technologies.