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Tips for protecting your brand on social media

As social networking sites become standard advertising and marketing tool in the real estate industry, familiarity with best practices and risk management has become essential knowledge for real estate agents, according to the social media risk management session, "I Don't Give a Twit" today at the 2016 Realtors Conference & Expo.

According to the National Association of Realtors 2016 Member Profile, 70 percent of all Realtors now use social networking sites as part of their regular business practices, an increase from 65 percent in 2015. As more and more agents and brokers venture into the social media sphere, it is vital to have a thorough understanding how these sites are regulated, monitored and utilized, both by members of the real estate industry and clients.

Trista Curzydlo, principal member of C4 Consulting, spoke extensively during the session about how to minimize potential risk online and best practices to deal with the fallout from any social media missteps or negative online reviews.

"When we talk about social media and social media risk management, it is important to think about it in terms of who is viewing your online activity, as well as why and where online they are viewing it," said Curzydlo. "With 90 percent of buyers utilizing internet resources at some point during their home buying process, it is essential for agents and brokers to develop a social media policy with rules governing how these online tools are used to protect your online professional brand."

Curzydlo recommends the following best practices for maintaining control of a professional online presence:

  • Do not assume that making a post viewable to only a certain set of people means that those people are the only ones who will see the post. Even with privacy settings, it should be expected that anyone and everyone can view posts.
  • Establish a Google alert for your name, listings and business. These alerts can also make you aware of any online comments made about you, positive or negative, that could affect your brand.
  • When faced with a negative online review or social media post, make sure that your response does not bring more negative attention to the issue. Always attempt to counter something negative with a positive reaction.

Curzydlo also said real estate professionals should be educated about their intellectual property rights when it comes to photographs they take of their listings.

"Real estate agents, as independent contractors, need to be aware of who owns the copyrights to their photographs — do they own them or their broker? This can affect future marketing efforts if agents ever decide to leave their brokerage," said Curzydlo. "When you use any social media tools, it is also necessary to look at the terms of use and know if you are giving up your rights to your intellectual property by posting it on that site."

Mike Wheatley

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at mike@realtybiznews.com.

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