The purpose of this article is to inform brokers and agents of the potential risks using social media. This article is not intended to provide legal advice and each reader should consult legal counsel to determine how they will participate in social media for their business.
Questions brokers should ask themselves:
- If every agent can create a social media account and can upload anything that they want is the broker responsible for the agents’ activities online?
- Every social media account could be considered a form of marketing, advertising, or communication so how does the broker effectively manage every agent’s social media profile?
- Should every agent become a connection or friend with you as the broker?
- Have there been any legal precedents or examples on how brokers/agents have violated state license law?
Each broker will choose to handle these questions on an individual basis and discuss with their local or state REALTOR® Association, team leaders, and state real estate commission.
What are some possible mistakes or violations that agents can make with respects to social media?
- Agents need to be sensitive to the 7 protected classes which are race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, and disability which could be all considered fair housing violations.
- When sharing listing online agents should closely follow the MLS rules and regulations as well.
- Since the duties of a REALTOR® are to protect the public, clients, and fellow REALTORS® we must abide by the Code of Ethics in sharing content.
- Agents must have rights to use photos, audio, and videos to avoid copyright and trademark infringement.
- Be sensitive to the content shared so that you avoid some of mistakes made using social media.
Maintenance on social media sites
Here are some solutions on how you can effectively manage the agents’ participation using social media:
- Create Google Alerts to be notified of anytime your name or company name appears on the internet.
- If you want to be able to know what all of your agents are uploading to the internet using social media sites here is the easiest way. Each social media site has its own RSS feed. Subscribe to all of your agents’ RSS feeds in a RSS reader.
- RSS or email notifications of content connections post to your social media site
- Remove tags of unwanted photos and videos
- Subscribe to own and or other agents RSS feeds
In most cases brokers/agents do not know what they do not know. Individual agents are moving faster than their leaders who may not be as familiar with the subject. At least in my opinion brokers should invest the time in learning what is even possible, lead by example, and share with their agents responsible practices to keep themselves both out of trouble.