Sharing, liking, connecting…the world of social media can be a great (and easy) place to generate business if know the rules of the road.
Follow these smart recommendations for sharing safely and staying on the right side of your followers and the law.
1. Add the required disclosures/disclaimers.
In many states, you have to disclose that you’re a real estate agent when you’re marketing. But, when aren’t you marketing?
As an agent it’s better safe than sorry. Save yourself the hassle of an ethics complaint or legal action. Use the “About Me” or info section in all of your profiles to add the information your state or broker requires.
2. Give credit where credit is due when sharing.
There’s a ton of inspiring online content out there. When you’re sharing it, especially on your business profiles and pages, give credit to the source.
Plagiarism is a much more serious offense online than it was in grade school. Instead of detention, you can end up facing expensive lawsuits, loss of license, and most importantly irrevocable damage to your reputation. So, save yourself the hassle.
Attribute when you’re sharing content created by others. But, don’t just copy and paste, check out this great post from veteran blogger and Trulia’s Head of Industry Marketing on how to reuse content online.
3. Make sure you’ve got rights to the photos.
Photos are worth a thousand words, and even more likes, online. While they are a great tool for getting attention and enhancing your content online, they are also one of the web’s biggest copyright infringement hazards.
If you need a great image for your blog posts, here are a few places you can get professional quality images that are safe to use online:
iStockphoto.com – iStock is one of the Internet’s most popular sites for stock photos. For around $1.50 per photo, you can get high quality images that are safe to use in your online or traditional marketing.
FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Unlike iStock, these photos are free. The catch is, you have to include written attribution anytime you use the photo.
DreamsTime.com/ – DreamsTime is much like iStock, but with another set of images. If you feel like you’ve “seen it all before” on iStock, check out DreamsTime for another great set of images you can download and use safely.
4. Add your two cents.
Your followers and friends are connected because they want to hear from YOU. Adding your own take on news or a blog isn’t just great social content, it’s a lot safer than copying and pasting.
Fair Use is a limitation in US trademark law that allows you to reuse, quote, or copy a portion of a work to make your point. Copy and pasting large portions of work can put you into dangerous territory. Create original content with a few quotes here and there. It’s better for your wallet and your reputation.
5. Check your references’ references.
The web is a wilderness of opinions and sometimes it’s hard to hard to tell what’s really fact. When you find data online, check your references’ references to make sure any facts you cite are reliable.
A great way to spot reputable data sources are to look for both organizations cited by national news providers like CNN and those that exist both on and offline.
As a real estate agent, you can’t afford to get it wrong. One lawsuit could take your entire business under and ruin your reputation forever. Follow these tips for sharing to build your online reputation the right way.