If you have been following my Pulse blogs you will have noticed that we are in a series called "Does Your Social Media Manager Know NAR Code of Ethics & RESPA?"
We have been taking a deep look at RESPA violations and the NAR Code of Ethics as it pertains to social media. We have actually been looking at the very fine print and nitty gritty details. I encourage anyone to offer your comments. After 17 years working in Title and Real Estate sales as it pertains to digital marketing, I have done a lot of research and consulted with legal teams on this issue.
Today's blog is about why Real Estate agents should include a "link back" in every Facebook post, Twitter post, LInkedIn post, Pinterest Pin or any other public social media or digital media post of any type. Though sad to say, many agents do not include their links as they think it is unnecessary.
The majority of REALTORS® really do not know what the NAR Code of Ethics says about how you market yourself on social platforms. Most agents think it is all about the standards of conduct that we all strive to attain and by which we abide. The history of the Code is at the core of the history of the organized real estate industry. When the Code was adopted in 1913, there were no real estate licensing laws. The Code was the only set of standards of conduct to which real estate practitioners could look to gauge their behavior. The concepts of the original Code continues to be relevant as it evolves in time. The Code is always being changed by the National Association of REALTORS® Professional Standards Committee to the “new” business practices we all use today on social media. Let’s sample how the Code applies in some of these “new” situations.
Most of the confusion among agents seems to be in the area of advertising, whether in print, on the web or in social media. Let’s examine what the NAR Code of Ethics says about the inclusion of your website link in all of your posts and why our real estate social media marketing company adheres to this policy.
Using social media like Facebook, blogging or tweeting without making your company affiliation evident.
"In any digital real estate related communications on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites, you must include your company name in the posting or make it accessible via a link back to your company name, like your username’s link to a profile page. Standard of Practice 12-5 was recently amended to provide for the “link back” idea so a tweet of 140 characters wasn’t required to have your full company name under the Code. “ …Standard of Practice (12-5) acknowledges that disclosing the name of the firm may not be practical in electronic displays of limited information such as thumbnails, text messages or tweets. Such displays are exempt from the disclosure requirement established in the Standard of Practice, but only when linked to a display that includes all required disclosures.”
With this being said our social media Real Estate company has policies set in place to make sure all of our clients are always in compliance. We include the agent's website link and hashtags in every post. We make sure the link actually takes them to the company website and not a "fluff" site. Many times agents will go out and purchase domains that have nothing to do with their licensed name or Broker's name and redirect them. The most important factor in using these domains is to make sure they do link to your licensed agent website and not a 2nd party site you have built.
Many real estate agents, REALTORS®, and brokers are using social networking websites to market their property listings, rentals, news etc... Without knowing it, the real estate professional could be breaking the state law, The National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics, MLS rules, and possibly federal law. This could result in a suspension or revocation of your professional license and result in possible legal repercussions.
If you outsource your social media services, who is in charge of your public brand voice, persona and position? What does your social media "poster" know about your industry?
I represent Real Estate agents from all over the US and it is my responsibility to know the law and the regulations for each state when it comes to marketing Realtors on the web. What does your social media manage know about your industry?
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