April 26, 2011

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LeadingRE Releases Social Media Guide


Global real estate firm network Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LeadingRE) has released a set of guidelines for its members outlining how best to use social media.

LeadingRE says these guidelines seek to manage the legal risk that exists for brokerages and sales associates in their use of social media for communication and marketing. The guidelines, created in collaboration with the DLA Piper law firm, cover how company members should use social media professionally and personally to remain in line with their state real estate laws and ethical responsibilities.

Guidelines addressing agents’ legal responsibilities in terms of how they use tools like Twitter and Facebook may sound like a step too far, but the issue has already been recognised by the US National Association of Realtors. At their mid-year meeting, the organisation addressed social media use and reminded agents of Article 12 of the Code of Ethics, which states that agents shall be “honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing and other representations”.

“Social media is a powerful platform for communication, relationship-building, and marketing and has really crossed the chasm this year in terms of adoption by many real estate professionals for these purposes,” states Eric Bryn, LeadingRE vice president of strategic development and intellectual property counsel. “However, with this widespread use, social media carries certain legal risks. Looking ahead to the legal landscape we wanted to get ahead of the curve and give our member brokers a well-crafted document they can adapt to meet their respective company cultures, protect their corporate brands, and mitigate legal risk.”

DLA spokesperson Jennifer Baumann had this comment on the creation of the guidelines:

“The rapid expansion of social media has left many companies struggling to catch up and address complex legal issues that include employment, privacy, intellectual property and free speech considerations. The policies and guidelines we created with LeadingRE take a realistic approach to social media by attempting to manage rather than ignore those complex legal issues.”


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