As a broker, owner or manager, overseeing your businesses hard-earned online reputation is imperative. In order to maintain and regulate strict standards around staff and sales agent usage of social media, the development and implementation of a social media policy is a must.
Putting a social media policy in place with specific guidelines and requirements is a crucial step to offering your office the direction and answers they seek when it comes to best practices. It also acts as a company benchmark as you establish what is and is not appropriate when speaking about, around or for your brand.
Below are a few tips to get you started as you build out a social media policy for your real estate business.
1. Establish a Make-Sense Social Media Policy
Take a practical approach to your social media policy. Rather than simply throwing out blanket restrictions to agents and staff, take a make-sense stance. Be clear which sites the company is actively utilizing and how the voice and tone of the brand are shared across each social channel.
Your next steps are to offer clear direction on how agents and employees can meaningfully and responsibly interact with past and potential clients, peers and vendors online. Always remember, you are creating a social media policy for a real estate business with a pre-established mission. It is essential that you incorporate those core values and company mission into this policy.
Casting your vision within your social media policy will express your continued commitment to growing and connecting with today’s online home buyer and seller.
2. Communicate the Policy
Communication of your social media policy is critical. As a broker, owner or manager, ensuring that the policy is understood and complied with can eliminate future confusion and potential online faux pas.
Below are a few suggested items you want to discuss:
- What is and is not acceptable language online
- What company information can be shared and examples of material that will require prior approval from management
- How to share listings online and maintain compliance
- How agents can use company logos and other company proprietary content such as registered trademarks within their social networks
3. Create an Ongoing Training Program
Training your agents and staff is vital to protect the real estate sales professional, employee and business. While most are familiar with social media for personal use, they are not educated on the proper usage of social media for business. They are also oblivious to the potential risks and devastating effects of its misuse.
Create an ongoing training program to allow them to take full advantage of the many beneficial aspects of effectively utilizing social media within their own business. Many agents are still struggling to understand the advantages of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. Give them the tools they need to not only grow their business, but also support the online presence of the company.
4. Policy Enforcement
As part of your policy, there must be a reference to consequence for misuse. Trust is your guiding principle, however, you also have to protect the welfare of the business.
5. Measure the Policy
As your company social media presence continues to expand, it is important to maintain a clear understanding into whether agent’s and employees are in compliance. A consistent social media audit can assess whether or not they are following company guidelines and protecting the confidentiality and privacy spelled out within the policy.
As a real estate professional, you can certainly appreciate the power behind an effective social media strategy. As the leader of your company, you must now put safeguards in place to ensure that your online reputation is not tarnished by a random tweet or flagrant Facebook post.
Manage your company reputation by taking the time to create and maintain a proactive social media policy that promotes responsible usage and reduces the risk and consequence associated with an ill-advised or even well intentioned (with the wrong results) post or tweet.