As reliance on cold-calling and door knocking becomes a thing of the past, digital marketing is rapidly becoming the go-to choice for lead generation and building and maintaining trust among former and future client bases. It is important to be cognizant of how our social media presence reflects on each of us as Realtors and how it reflects on our brokerages, our clients and our industry as a whole.
Here are two common mistakes agents are making online and ways to ensure ethical compliance:
Failure to properly identify oneself. According to NAR, required identification includes agent name, brokerage name, brokerage address and phone number, and the broker’s name (click here). This identifying information needs to be readily apparent on all of an agent’s social media platforms. If the app does not allow for the information to be viewed on the main profile page, then it should be accessible to a user within one click. It would be wise to do a thorough sweep of all your social media platforms periodically to ensure you are identifying yourself and your brokerage properly.
Sharing another agent’s listing without permission. The primary concern here is violating or appearing to violate Article 16 of NAR’s Code of Ethics. Article 16 states, “Realtors shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other Realtors have with clients.” To my knowledge there are yet no case interpretations to refer to, though NAR’s manager of Professional Standards and Administration advises getting verbal permission from the listing agent prior to sharing anything from his or her listing on your social media (click here). Again, it would be wise to read Article 16 thoroughly to ensure you are not violating any ethical guidelines. Furthermore, Bright MLS heeds this advice, stating in Section 2.7 of its Rules & Regulations, “A listing shall not be advertised by any Participant other than the listing Participant without the prior consent of the listing Participant except as provided in Section 16 relating to advertising of active listing information on the internet.” (Section 16 refers to IDX participants and sharers). Our local rule is clear . . . before you post anything on your social media regarding another agent’s listing, you must have permission from that agent.
The best thing to remember with your social media presence is that YOU are responsible. Whether your brokerage has a social media policy is secondary to this. It is up to you as a Realtor to maintain compliance. Ethical guidelines apply on and off the internet; so if you would not say something in person, don’t say it online!
Jennifer Augustine, ReMax Pinnacle
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