Social Media Marketing Real Estate : A Guide 2024

Social media is a powerful tool for real estate professionals to market their services. However, it’s important to remember that various real estate codes of ethics and many local and national laws apply to what you post. So before you publish your next post on Reel, Snap, TikTok, or Tweet, make sure you know the social media rules for real estate agents.

If you’re unsure about what constitutes a good or bad social media post, you can peruse this guide. We’ve laid out laws and guidelines to keep your content ethical. We’ve also included several best practices and examples so you leave with a plan to make every post perfect.

8 social media rules for real estate agents and brokers

When it comes to real estate social media, there are a few important rules to keep in mind. Think of promotional posts as advertisements and remember to present yourself online just as you would in person. And don’t forget, once something is on the internet, it’s there forever! Now, let’s dive into eight specific social media rules for real estate professionals.

Rule 1: Identify yourself

When it comes to promoting yourself as a real estate agent on social media, it’s important to include specific information in your posts. You’ll want to make sure to include your full name (like “Rodney Jones” instead of just “Rod”) and provide contact information such as your phone number, email address, or even your physical address.

It’s also crucial to mention the licensed name or DBA (doing business as) of your brokerage company, like “Jane Smith Realty LLC” or “Smith Realty.” Keep in mind that the requirements for this information may vary depending on the state you’re in. For example, in Florida, you only need to include the agent and broker’s names. So, it’s always a good idea to review the laws and regulations specific to your location.

Rule 1: Identify yourself

Rule 2: Always credit the listing agent when sharing their listings

The topic of promoting a listing online without the listing agent’s consent can be a bit controversial. According to the NAR’s code of ethics, it’s a no-no. And in some states, like Georgia, you can’t promote a listing unless you have written permission from the owner or their authorized agent. It’s crucial to be transparent and not represent yourself as the listing agent if you’re not. So, if you’re sharing a post about a listing that’s not yours, make sure to give credit to the actual listing agent. Include their name, brokerage, and even a link to their social media account or website. This way, you’re giving proper recognition where it’s due.

When it comes to open houses, it’s important to make it clear that you’re not the owner’s representative. If you visit an open house, take some pictures, and post them on Instagram, make sure to clarify who the listing agent is. This way, your followers won’t get the wrong impression.

Rule 2: Always credit the listing agent when sharing their listings

Now, about internet data exchange (IDX) agreements. While they may give blanket permission to share listings, it’s essential to note that social media platforms are not IDX compliant. This means that those agreements don’t cover sharing listings on social media posts.

Rule 3: Take ownership of your social media posts

According to the NAR code of ethics, it’s important to take responsibility for any posts that end up on your social media account. Whether it’s you, an intern, or an agency that posted it, if the message is shared through your account, you’re the one held accountable for any rule-breaking content. That’s why it’s crucial to have a system in place to ensure that only people with knowledge of industry regulations can review, approve, and publish content.

Rule 3: Take ownership of your social media posts

Having a strict and customized approval workflow can make a big difference, and Hootsuite is a great tool for that! With Hootsuite, you can designate which content requires approval and even specify which users have the authority to approve it. You can also set up a multi-approver process for sensitive posts or those that could benefit from an extra set of eyes. This way, you can have peace of mind knowing that your social media content is in line with industry regulations.

Also Read: Hyperlocal Social Media Marketing

Rule 4: Present listings truthfully

That social media plays a crucial role in making a first impression when it comes to selling properties. It’s a powerful platform to showcase homes and attract potential buyers. However, it’s important to find the right balance between presenting a property in its best light and being transparent with potential buyers.

According to the NAR’s Article 12 and various state rules, it’s strictly prohibited to engage in false misrepresentation of real estate in marketing, and this includes social media posts. This means that we should avoid outright lying about important details like the total square footage or available parking. It’s also important not to manipulate photos in a way that hides any flaws or inaccurately represents the property.

By being honest and transparent in our social media marketing efforts, we can build trust with potential buyers and ensure that they have a clear and accurate understanding of the properties we’re selling. It’s all about striking that balance between showcasing the property’s best features while providing an authentic representation.

Rule 4: Present listings truthfully

Here are a few actions to steer clear of:

  • Editing any MLS data
  • Using vague descriptions (“close to the beach” vs. “0.2 miles from the beach”)
  • Over-editing a photo to make spaces look significantly larger
  • Editing out significant features from a photo

The same rules apply if an agent knows a property owner has given misleading or unverified information.

Rule 5: Don’t post negatively about other agents

The real estate industry is made up of diverse individuals with different perspectives. Sometimes, disagreements can arise, but it’s important to handle these situations with professionalism, especially when it comes to expressing frustrations on social media.

Publicly airing frustrations on social media can have negative consequences, not just in terms of how it reflects on you, but also in relation to ethics violations. According to Article 15 of the NAR’s code of ethics, real estate professionals are required to refrain from making false or misleading statements about other professionals, their businesses, and their practices. It’s essential to maintain integrity and avoid spreading false information or making derogatory remarks about others in the industry.

Additionally, it’s crucial to be mindful of the language we use when responding to frustrated homeowners or clients on social media. We should never suggest that they take negative action against their agent, such as firing them and choosing someone else. Instead, we should focus on providing helpful and constructive advice or offering our assistance in a professional manner.

Rule 6: List only correct and updated qualifications

It’s a great way for clients to get a sense of your qualifications and feel confident that they’ve hired a skilled professional.

When it comes to crafting your bio, accuracy, currency, and credibility are key. It’s important to resist the temptation of making exaggerated claims like being the “#1 real estate agent in San Antonio” without proper substantiation. However, if you’ve been recognized by a reputable source, such as a local real estate magazine, it’s definitely something to proudly include in your bio and give credit where it’s due.

Rule 6: List only correct and updated qualifications

Keeping your bio up-to-date is crucial. As your certifications and associations change, it’s important to reflect those updates in your bio. Leaving outdated or expired certifications on your bio can be misleading to potential clients. So make it a habit to review your online bios regularly. Setting a calendar reminder every quarter can serve as a helpful reminder to ensure your bio accurately reflects your current qualifications.

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Rule 7: Protect people’s privacy

It’s crucial for real estate professionals to follow this long-standing rule. It can be tricky though, especially when social media moves at such a fast pace and we want to share updates quickly.

Confidentiality is key. While we would never share confidential client information like their income, it’s important to be mindful of the details that unintentionally make their way into our social media posts. For example, when posting a picture to show how busy your open house is, it’s essential to be aware of any visible license plates in the photo. We want to respect everyone’s privacy and avoid exposing personal information without their consent.

Another potential danger zone is during the closing process. It’s exciting to share the joy of your buyers as they sign the paperwork for their first home. However, it’s important to be cautious because there’s a lot of personal information on the closing table. One unintentional bad angle or unnoticed mirror reflection can potentially reveal sensitive details like social security numbers or bank account information. We definitely want to avoid that!

Rule 7: Protect people’s privacy

So, as real estate professionals, it’s crucial to strike a balance between sharing exciting moments and respecting privacy. Taking a moment to review our posts before sharing them can help ensure that we’re not unintentionally exposing any confidential information. It’s all about protecting our clients and maintaining their trust.

Rule 8: Adhere to the Fair Housing Act

Real estate agents definitely don’t want to discriminate in their social media posts. It’s important to be aware of how our posts can unintentionally go against The Fair Housing Act (FHA) in subtle ways.

One example is how we target social media ads. If we exclude a specific zip code to prevent a particular group of people from seeing the ad, it actually violates the FHA. We want to make sure our ads reach everyone and don’t discriminate based on location.

Luckily, some social media platforms like Facebook have introduced new targeting permissions for real estate ads to help us follow the rules more easily. However, not all platforms have implemented these features yet, so we need to be extra cautious.

There are a few other ways we could unknowingly run afoul of the Fair Housing Act. For instance, mentioning the proximity of a specific church could prioritize a specific religion, which is considered discriminatory. We should also avoid targeting ads that exclude people interested in parenting blogs, as it discriminates based on family status. Additionally, choosing images that don’t reflect the diversity of the area’s population can be seen as discriminatory too.

To ensure we’re following the guidelines, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) suggests focusing on the property itself in our ads and social media posts, rather than targeting a specific “ideal” buyer or renter. And don’t forget to include “Equal Housing Opportunity” in our posts to show our commitment to these ideals.

Also Read: 20+ Secret Messaging Apps For 2024

5 best practices for real estate marketing on social media

With all these rules and regulations, it can be a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry, you don’t have to close your social media accounts and miss out on the amazing benefits of using them for real estate marketing.

I’ve got some awesome best practices for you to make the most out of your social media marketing strategy while staying within the rules for real estate professionals. These tips will help you navigate the dos and don’ts:

Create a social media policy

It’s super important for every brokerage to have a clear set of rules when it comes to using social media. Having a policy in place can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows what’s expected of them.

This policy can cover a bunch of important stuff, like how content gets approved, the types of posts and comments that are appropriate, and even guidelines for maintaining a consistent brand voice. It’s all about keeping things professional and representing your brokerage in the best way possible.

Here are a few more topics you might want to consider including in your social media policy:

  1. No plagiarism or copyrighted images: It’s crucial to respect other people’s work and intellectual property rights. So, make sure that everyone knows not to use someone else’s content without permission and to always give credit where it’s due.
  2. Sharing other agents’ listings: It’s important to establish guidelines on how to handle sharing listings from other agents. You want to be respectful and avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts.
  3. Confidentiality and privacy: Protecting client information is a top priority. Including a statement about confidentiality and privacy in your policy can help remind everyone to handle sensitive information with care.
  4. Disclosing alterations to images: Transparency is key. If any alterations are made to images, it’s important to disclose that information to avoid any misrepresentation.
  5. Following local and federal laws: A blanket statement reminding everyone to follow all applicable laws is always a good idea. This way, you can ensure that everyone is staying within legal boundaries.

And once you’ve got your policy all set up, remember to make sure that everyone reads and acknowledges it. It’s also a good idea to share it with new agents and any third parties who may be posting on your behalf.

Set up a social media listening process

It’s a smart move to keep an eye on your social media accounts beyond just what you’re posting. That means taking a peek at what your agents are sharing and also reading the comments on your own posts.

By doing this, you’re not only staying compliant with any regulations, but you’re also opening up more chances to connect with your clients. Engaging with the people who reply to your posts can create meaningful interactions and build stronger relationships with your audience.

So, make it a regular practice to monitor your social media activity. It’s a great way to stay on top of things and make the most out of your online presence.

Protect your account

Building trust and a following on social media takes time and effort, so it’s crucial to protect your accounts from hackers and scams. You definitely don’t want someone stealing your credibility or locking you out of your own account!

To stay safe, there are a few things you can do. First, enable two-factor identification. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a verification code in addition to your password when logging in. It’s like having a secret handshake with your account!

Second, make sure you have strong passwords. Avoid using common phrases or easily guessable information. Instead, create a unique combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. And remember, never share your passwords with anyone or store them in a place where they can be easily stolen.

Archive your social media activity

It’s always handy to have an archive of your old social media posts. You never know when you might need to reference something from the past, right?

Whether you want to clear out posts that are no longer relevant or simply find something you shared a while ago, having a searchable social media archive can be a lifesaver. It helps you avoid any misquotes or easily locate posts from years ago.

Platforms like Facebook provide instructions on how to archive your activity, making it easy to access your older posts when you need them. Additionally, tools like Hootsuite allow you to create a taggable archive, so you can keep your records organized and searchable.

Batch and schedule posts

When you’re posting on social media frequently, it can be a challenge to ensure that all your posts follow the rules for real estate. That’s where batching and scheduling your posts come in handy!

By setting aside dedicated time to create a week’s worth of content for all your channels, you save time and stay focused. Instead of constantly switching between tasks, you can block an hour or two each week, knock out your posts, and then get back to helping your clients. It’s a great way to streamline your workflow and be more efficient!

Moreover, scheduling your content in advance gives you the opportunity to review what you’ve created before it goes live. You can take a few minutes to double-check your work or even have someone you trust give your posts a once-over. This extra step ensures that you catch any potential problems or make any necessary improvements before your posts are seen by your audience.

So, by batching and scheduling your posts, you not only save time but also have the chance to review and refine your content. It’s a win-win situation!

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