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HOA boards need good social media policies

If you have not had the opportunity of taking a class concerning social media, I would highly recommend that you take the next one that is offered. I personally do not recommend my association managers or boards of directors to partake in the various social media sites, be it as a formal board member or community manager or as a board member responding to a homeowner.

Responding on social media just doesn’t work, and there are other communication methods that will be more effective as a formal response by the board (please, note not by an individual board member) or by the board’s legal counsel, which will actually reach all of the homeowners on record for your association, be it by e-blast, website or U.S. mail.

At the end of this article, I will provide you with a link that your board should review with your legal counsel as a sample board of directors resolution policy regarding the use of social media by members of the board, committee members and individual owners or the community manager. Boards need a policy because of such potential issues as cyber bullying, defamation and invasion of privacy.

The first list of “bullet” points pertains to the adoption of rules setting forth the use of social media on your association’s website, in any way, be it referring to the association, board members, committee members, community manager and staff or any owner within the association:

■ Social media shall be limited to matters that would only benefit the community.

■ Each owner must agree to the use of terms or service to adhere to the association’s policy.

■ If any of these policies are violated, the offender will hold the association harmless in the event there is a complaint by a resident who believes that he or she is being harmed because of the use of the website.

■ Restricted content, such as information pertaining to an individual resident(s), shall never be posted on the association website by members or nonmembers (tenants).

■ No personal identifiable information will ever be posted on the website, such as Social Security numbers, vehicle license plates, birthdays, private telephone numbers and personal emails and ages.

■ Should committee chairs wish to have a bulletin board to post events, the committee shall submit this information to the designated contact person for the website.

Here is a second list of bullet points concerning prohibited postings on your association’s website that could be adopted by your association:

■ Anonymity is prohibited in any communication on the website.

■ Use of a fictitious name is prohibited.

■ Ranting is prohibited.

■ Photographs of children will never be posted unless the parent has signed a release of liability form and given their consent.

■ The posting of personal harassing, discriminatory or otherwise threatening comments and materials is prohibited.

■ The posting of pornographic, obscene, hateful, incendiary, violent, unlawful or otherwise illegal comments and or materials is prohibited.

■ The uploading/posting of copyrighted materials or images is prohibited.

■ The posting of defamatory comments of any kind is prohibited.

■ The posting of personal views as representing those of the association is prohibited.

■ The posting of “junk” messages, advertisements or other solicitations not related to the association in any way is prohibited.

■ Commercial advertisements are prohibited, as the association does not search to verify proper licensing and insurance and does not assume any responsibility.

■ The association reserves the right to remove offending post(s) without any prior notice and or reserves the right to terminate access to any person who does not abide by the posting policy.

■ Any violation of this rule can be grounds for removal of the post and a ban on all future posts the website.

Here are two links that are helpful: social media adherence policy link,

https://9ce36fba-8439-4540-9be8-5bbf1071fc7c.filesusr.com/ugd/285b66_68ad41d02ae44c72bc1ce52d895de497.pdf and social media checklist, https://9ce36fba-8439-4540-9be8-5bbf1071fc7c.filesusr.com/ugd/285b66_1f53adc6bc3b492a95de50faf715093d.pdf

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager (CPM) and holds the supervisory community manager certificate with the state of Nevada. She is an author and educator on real estate management. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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