Social Media and the Real Estate Industry: The Importance of a Well-Crafted Policy

Social media continues to permeate enterprise operations, particularly in the actual property trade. The overwhelming majority of firms in the actual property trade make the most of numerous platforms to draw leads and join with patrons, tenants, clients, and different companies. Whereas social media presents distinctive enterprise alternatives, actual property employers and brokerage firms ought to guarantee they’ve up-to-date insurance policies outlining the firm’s expectations for utilizing social media and assist guarantee compliance with federal and state legal guidelines and different trade requirements.

With the new 12 months approaching, now could be a nice time for actual property employers to start to evaluation their social media coverage or develop a new one. Whereas the coverage can be distinctive to every firm, relying on its enterprise, actual property entities ought to contemplate the following when revising or creating their coverage:

  • Tone: As a result of of the advantages of social media and excessive engagement with it in the actual property trade, guarantee the coverage encourages participation, but additionally expressly communicates the firm’s expectations for the tone and content material of social media exercise. Will the content material of postings be scrutinized for potential problematic language which may be discriminatory, arguably contain steering or different illegal conduct, or maybe simply be in poor kind and inconsistent with the firm’s picture?

  • Protection: Specify which workers, brokers, and impartial contractors to whom the coverage applies and the circumstances for which the coverage will apply. For instance, will the coverage regulate exercise on private social media accounts? Will it apply to short-term workers, impartial contractors, and so on? Will disclaimers be offered that clearly state the views expressed are the workers or brokers’ personal and don’t specific the place of the firm? In that case, how will this be addressed given different compliance points (resembling these famous under in New York the place an agent’s affiliation with their brokerage firm is required in ads beneath relevant laws)?

  • Expectations and Compliance: Insurance policies ought to embrace pointers for worker, brokers, and impartial contractors on the use of social media and talk expectations to make sure compliance with related legal guidelines and trade requirements, together with numerous actual property trade codes of ethics. Moreover, actual property entities ought to establish and guarantee compliance with firm insurance policies relevant to utilizing social media platforms, resembling insurance policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. For example, in New York, the Division of State and the New York Real Estate Board have applied promoting laws for actual property licensees, together with, with out limitation, for promoting by electronic mail, web sites, and digital bulletin boards that specify, amongst different issues, the place ads could also be positioned and sure required info that have to be included (like the actual property brokerage’s full deal with and phone quantity). 19 N.Y.C.R.R § 175.25. For web-based promoting, the New York laws additionally require that any web sites are “duly authorized by their supervising real estate broker … and they remain subject to the supervision of the real estate broker with whom the licensees are associated while the website is live.” 19 N.Y.C.R.R § 175.25. See additionally New York’s steering on “Advertising for Real Estate Licensees” and “Checklist for Real Estate Advertising.”

  • State Regulation/Nationwide Labor Relations Act Concerns: Given numerous state regulation concerns and previous Nationwide Labor Relations Board (NLRB) choices requiring social media insurance policies to be narrowly drawn, employers ought to work with authorized counsel to craft a social media coverage that establishes firm expectations and encourages participation whereas avoiding authorized pitfalls. When firms are confronted with opposed social media exercise or campaigns (by workers, clients, bloggers, or others), they incessantly are unprepared to take applicable steps to analyze or to weigh the authorized, enterprise, reputational, and associated dangers in deciding what actions, if any, to take. It is very important have a clear office social media coverage in place to assist forestall the probability of an incident or a minimum of restrict its affect. Whereas courts and the NLRB appear to be extra favorable to firms and employers of late in approving such insurance policies, tread fastidiously. Purpose to develop a coverage that achieves the firm’s reliable enterprise pursuits with out compromising particular person rights to privateness beneath statutory and frequent regulation and rights associated to freedom of speech.

Real property firms and employers ought to proceed to train care when addressing or responding to their workers or brokers’ social media utilization. Under are further sources for navigating social media insurance policies in the actual property office and basically:

Source link