Social housing moves in on social business

The Connected Housing website

The Connected Housing website

Visceral Business and Thames Valley Housing have recently undertaken two projects which they’ve brought together under the banner of Connected Housing.

Visceral Business has released the Connected Housing Index, the largest study of how the social housing sector is adapting to social business and social media in the UK.
The study has looked at all housing associations in the UK with 10,000 units or more, as well as those active on social networks (as listed by either Guardian Housing @GuardianHousing or National Housing Federation @natfednews), in June and then October this year. Monitoring over 175 organisations in total, it shows how housing associations are using digital and social media, across websites and social network activity and which have grown and been most successful in social media in the last six months.
As economic pressures amplify the pressing issue of housing affordability, the question of how the housing sector can become more effective and deliver social value has been gaining in prominence. There’s a strong argument that social business can provide some of the answer.
“The network effects and economic efficiencies of social business are all becoming evident, including the benefits of community building, resident involvement and lowering costs of sale and service,” says Anne McCrossan, Managing partner of Visceral Business. “We wanted to answer the question of how Housing Associations are responding and adapting to social business, and we wanted to help other Housing Associations use their networked smarts to be able to learn from each other.”
Thames Valley Housing Association have built a real time, dynamic online portal www.connectedhousing.co.uk to enable people interested in the housing sector to discover and connect with each other on Twitter. The idea is to help cut through the noise/signal challenge on Twitter, identifying the key commentators, subjects of discussion, and most frequently shared links. It’s inspired by www.tweetyhall.co.uk and powered by the technology behind Tweetminster.
By aggregating and tracking a range of conversation streams on Twitter, people can see the contributions that Associations and individuals are making to the housing conversation nationwide on a real-time, moment-by-moment basis.
Jayne Hilditch, Corporate Services Director of Thames Valley Housing explains, “The housing sector’s in transition. We think tools like this can help amplify the good projects being undertaken, challenges being tackled, and questions being asked and answered. There’s a growing tribe of housing twitter users, and it’s great to help connect them.”
The Connected Housing Report takes an in-depth look at how Housing Associations are adapting to doing business as connected and networked organisations. It is designed to help Housing providers think about how and where they can improve business performance and service utility by using social media and networking technology to their advantage over the long term.
“What we’re seeing is that data and people connections through digital and social media are having a significant impact on both the form and function of the housing business,” says Anne McCrossan. ‘There are new models emerging out there that are using digital and social technology to redefine how service is delivered – for example Thames Valley’s Fizzy Living customers can do all their transactions online’.
Visit the Connected Housing portal at www.connectedhousing.co.uk and download the 2012 Connected Housing Study for free at www.visceralbusiness.com.

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Editors notes

Thames Valley Housing Association (TVH), based in Twickenham, South West London, was founded in 1966.

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