Finding the Catalyst – Part 2
This is the second part of a two-part blog on building social connections among your residents within your community. If you missed the first part, you can read about the importance of a community and why you need a community catalyst in your corner.
We’ve already talked about the importance of community buy-in to start building a greater sense of community. Here are some additional tips to find a catalyst for that:
Start with Mass Communication: Your plan should be over the course of several weeks, start by using social media, e-mail blast and door flyers, etc. Each flyer, social media post, etc becomes a supporting piece of the over-arching story. Mass communication covers a lot of ground but is impersonal. The purpose is to set the stage for more personal interactions with residents.
Create an Event at the Entrance of your Community: Maybe a breakfast on the go or welcoming residents home in the afternoon. Make a package to give residents as they drive by- include a flyer (maybe an invite to upcoming resident function). Tell the residents what is coming together and ask them if they’re interested. Keep notes of everyone who liked what you’re doing and/or is interested in being involved. These people will be the start of your local social network as things get moving. An event allows more personal conversation. Very quickly you will know interested from uninterested residents. Ask other residents who would make a good catalyst. You may not talk to every resident but will have personal contact with many.
Using Social Media: Create three lists of residents you talk to: Those who don’t care, those who think its cool and those who would like to make it happen. Put the people who think its cool in touch with those who want to make it happen. These two groups will help get the conversation going over social media. Every like, comment and share will grow awareness for what is coming together. Be sure each person on your staff is commenting on each post.
Host a Resident Event for all who are Interested: Once you have a list of interested residents, you’ve asked other residents who would be interested and your staff has identified those who would be a good catalyst then its time to throw a party! Invite everyone but reach out personally to those who liked what you’re doing. There is no better way to build excitement than getting everyone in the room together for a cause, play some music, tell stories and ask for engagement over the coming months. Have residents participate in an activity which demonstrates their decision to get involved.
Make an Offer: People are more likely to keep themselves motivated if there is a long-term goal in place which includes a reward. The reward may be a bigger party, recognition in the local media placques, etc. Think of something cool specific to the group you are working with.
Grow interest from the greater community: Whatever you are starting new in your community has been done several times in your city and more than likely there are many people who would like to see more of it in their city/town. Check the web and local groups for people in the greater community to take interest in the work of your residents. This could be the key to lots of social media love for your residents!
A platform where residents are empowered to strengthen social bonds within a community is what city planners and economic developers are looking for across the country. As more of this effort is made within the world of apartments professionals from our industry will increasingly become thought leaders on the subject. It all starts with the work of on-site staff. Create the story, get the word out and find the first few residents to make their own. You may be amazed at what it becomes and what means for families who live in your community!
- See more at: http://www.naahq.org/read/aptly-spoken-blog/finding-catalyst-part-2#sthash.fuuTso1f.dpuf