What to Do if a Social Media Post Goes Sideways?

On social media, an agent praised a group of bipartisan lawmakers who passed a favorable real estate bill – but comments weren’t bipartisan and the post took off.

MIAMI – Anthony Askowitz, broker-owner of South Florida’s largest RE/MAX office, recently examined a hypothetical situation involving the risks of social media:

A successful real estate agent ventured into social media to potentially expand her net profits, and she thought it worthwhile to share a local newspaper endorsing the passage of bipartisan, statewide legislation related to real estate.

While the bill passed with the support of both political parties, however, the post’s comments were polarized. One commenter started using the platform to criticize elected officials without referring to the legislation in question. Other people joined in, and the issue snowballed into a larger argument involving various political views.

The agent’s broker advised her to deescalate the issue by explaining what her intent was and, if necessary, apologize if it offended someone and remove the post.

Agents are bound by the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics, which prohibits statements that are discriminatory or imply discrimination in any way. But while agents oversee the content they post, they have little control over the comments that might follow.

Brokerages should develop clear company guidelines regarding social media, and require agents to sign an agreement in the hiring package. Other good practices include using direct links to third-party articles or columns whenever possible and not paraphrasing them, encouraging agents to begin comments with “In my personal opinion …” and limiting commentary to groups of like-minded people in their social media contacts.

It’s also good policy not to make postings “sharable.”

Source: Inman (08/17/22) Askowitz, Anthony

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