Should You Have a Personal Social Media Policy for Property Managers?

Could posts on personal social media sites offend residents?

jfiur thumbnailRemember when you were little and you saw your teacher outside of school and it was totally weird? Teachers have lives outside of the classroom? Inconceivable! (Does anybody want a peanut?)

Oh, but teachers do have lives outside of school. And now, they can even get in trouble if they post pictures on Facebook showing these outside lives, for example, pictures of themselves drinking or doing anything that parents might consider not very teacher-like. They could even get fired for that.

Now that everyone has a camera on their phones and social media accounts, nothing is really private.

Even when you’re off the clock.

So, what about property managers? A while ago, there was a question in The New York Times, where a co-op member said that the building’s super was often fall-down drunk outside the building, and asking if this was allowed since it was off hours. The answer was that, of course people are entitled to private lives, but since this was in front of the building, management had a right to step in.

That makes sense. But what about social media? Property managers are different than teachers — they mostly work with adults. If residents see a picture on Facebook or Instagram of their property manager or leasing agent having a drink, does that bother anyone? What about if it’s something wilder. Like … I don’t know. I’m trying to think of something I do on the weekends. Doing laundry, watching Netflix and drinking wine? That’s … pretty lame. Damn, I need to get out more. How about if it was a picture of them doing body shots while getting a tattoo and riding a mechanical bull?social media

Or, what if the picture isn’t wild. What about pictures or posts on social media where they’re expressing a political view or controversial opinion?

As the “face” of the community (because, after all, the residents mostly interact with property managers and leasing agents), should their whole persona reflect the values, or at least feel, of the the apartment building? Or is this a non-issue? After all, these are all adults, and the residents know that the property managers have a life outside of their job. Plus, what’s offensive to one person can be fairly tame for another.

Obviously, you can monitor the community’s social media posts — as you definitely should — to make sure that there is nothing inappropriate. But what about private accounts?

I’m not going to get into the legality of the issue. Mostly because I don’t know it. (My legal knowledge comes from a pinch of Law and Order, a dash of Better Call Saul and a smidgen of unsuccessfully trying to tune out my lawyer husband when he talks about his work.) But if you are going to make a social media policy for your property managers, make sure you let everyone know from the beginning, and that you’re consistent. Everyone who works for you needs to follow the same policy. (I would think that policy would be one of common sense.)

Do you have a social media policy for your multifamily employees? Have you ever had an issue at your community where residents complained about a post on a personal social media page, and how did you deal with it?

-Jessica Fiur, Senior Editor