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Embracing Digital Communications In Social Housing

There are so many amazing ways in which technology has enabled stronger, digital connections between us in which communication is faster and cheaper. It has also been especially powerful in creating greater inclusion for the diverse communities that you’ll work with within the social housing sector. Are you making the most of the various digital communication channels in your work? Here’s a handful of ideas to get you started.

Video calls – FaceTime, Zoom, Teams, WhatsApp, Google (and so on!)

There is a near-limitless choice of options for video chatting, so you’ll be able to find an affordable one (many are free) and secure enough for your IT people to be happy (most of them). If the COVID lockdowns taught us anything, it’s that you can replace face-to-face communication with a remote conversation that’s good enough for most conversations. Not every one, though. Some conversations or meetings will be more appropriate held face-to-face. But, for those that can be done over Zoom, you’ll be able to widen your reach on who you can communicate with. In doing so, you’ll also be able to reduce your environmental impact: fewer miles = fewer carbon emissions.

Multi-language and translation tools

When using digital communication methods – emails, websites, social media – to speak with your tenants, you have a huge advantage over using traditional hard-copy letters. This is because there are a whole host of free tools that can make your life easier, and quicker, and cut costs. It also offers your tenants more control over how they receive your messages, which helps build better relationships with them. Some examples of these tools include:

  • screen readers for people with visual impairments – something that letters can’t ever offer so it increases the tenants’ independence as they won’t need someone to read the letter for them. You need to follow accessibility guidelines to make the most of this – alt text on images is often overlooked and a great place to start.
  • browser and phone settings to vary the font size so people can read comfortably – one size (quite literally) doesn’t fit all.
  • Google translate so people can read in the language of their choice – we’re a diverse, multicultural society and not everyone has English as their first language.

These tools offer a positive combination of faster, cheaper to produce communications with tenants gaining greater freedom and control to better engage with the messages you create.

Targeted advertising

While targeted ads sometimes get a bad reputation, they’re also extremely useful if you need to get a specific message to a specific group of people. This is more true as the data gathered by Facebook, Google etc. becomes more detailed and precise. For example, you can use targeted adverts to encourage customers to engage with your website or new campaign.

Archiving previous communications

Here’s something that can be useful for tenants as well as any field-based staff: replacing printed magazines/newsletters with online page flip magazines. After you’ve created and distributed them, the older versions can remain available online as archives. This is great because it’s one less thing going to the landfill (and becoming forgotten when it’s there). Also, if tenants or field staff need to check back on something, it’s easily available to find the information or resources online.

All-in-all, there’s so much great potential in building digital into your communications plan.

Need help in making the most of it? Book a free call!

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