Facebook groups can make it quick and easy for community association boards and their managers to foster communication with and among owners. Like so many other aspects of association management, though, it comes with some risks. This week, we explore some of the biggest risks and explain how to avoid them.
1. Failing to seize control of the association’s identity
One challenge social media users can run into is controlling their own presence, and associations are no exception.
“What usually transpires is that most of a community’s social media presence is unofficial, where people use the association’s name and say it’s the association’s page, even though the association really has nothing to do with it,” says Edward Hoffman, Jr., a partner in Barrow Hoffman, a regional law firm serving community associations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
“The problem becomes that 95 percent of the community goes to the unofficial presence for information. I’ve seen this happen in many communities.”
Associations need to establish an official group and send invitations to all owners letting them know it exists. Hoffman suggests asking the other groups to put up a disclaimer, too.
He wouldn’t stop there, though. Hoffman also advises his clients to obtain a trademark on the association name to prevent unauthorized usage. “People think that might overprotective,” he says, “but that’s my job.”
To learn about how to help your clients avoid costly mistakes on their social media, read our new article Proceed with Caution: Three Risky Mistakes to Avoid on Association Facebook Pages