All I Really Need to Know (About Social Media) I Learned in Kindergarten


It’s true! Yes, there is always more to learn, but you were probably taught what you generally need to know about social media in kindergarten.Share (almost) everything. 
Be yourself! Social media is all about attraction marketing. It is personal. People follow, friend, connect with or even fan you because they want to get to know you better. Engage people by commenting on posts and blogs, replying to tweets, participating in forums, instant messaging and more. Be genuine and transparent, but do not forget to protect your security. This lesson comes with a caveat: DO NOT share compromising information about yourself, your clients, your transactions, etc.Play fair. 
Playing fair means playing by all the rules. As REALTORS®, we have laws, our national code of ethics and standards of practice, Fair Housing laws and even Arizona advertising guidelines that govern our actions. These ALL apply online. The only difference between an online conversation and a conversation IRL (in real life) is that online, everyone can hear it (because it is in print and published). Remember that the virtual world is part of the real world and be sure to follow all the rules.Don’t hit people. 
Be nice. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything! Would you say that to a person IRL? Think before you share, tweet or otherwise transmit and then do so with the golden or platinum rule. The platinum rule is to treat other people how THEY want to be treated. Don’t hit people up for business right away. Remember that spam is spam. You must have at least a minimal level of contact before marketing directly to someone. (Note: It is okay to “poke” on Facebook.)Clean up your own mess. 
If it is in your space, you are responsible for it. Last year NAR made some significant changes to the code of ethics detailed in this NAR Special News Report dated May 16, 2009:“Standard of Practice 15-2 was amended and a new Standard of Practice was approved to strengthen members’ obligations to refrain from making false or misleading statements about competitors, including in use of social media tools. The new amendment includes the duty to publish a clarification about, or to remove statements made by, others on electronic media the REALTOR® controls once the REALTOR® knows the statement is false or misleading. For example, if you’re publishing a blog and someone posts a false or misleading comment about a fellow REALTOR® on it, it’s your duty to remove the post or publish a clarification when you become aware of it.”Consider taking this a step further to include any comments that may be viewed as a Fair Housing violation, anti-trust violation, etc.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours. 
Don’t take things that aren’t yours without citing your source. One of the beautiful things about social media is that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. It is perfectly acceptable to publish someone else’s information as long as you give credit and cite your source. On Twitter this is done through retweets. Just remember plagiarism is still plagiarism online, so be sure to give credit where credit is due.

And a bonus sixth lesson:

When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together. 
When heading out into the virtual world, keep a watch out for changes in our national and state regulations and laws. Stick together with other real estate professionals by joining professional groups online. AAR, NAR and many local associations have groups and pages on LinkedIn and Facebook. These social media groups publish an impressive amount of up-to-the-minute information.


About the Author

Michelle Lind

K. Michelle Lind, CEO of Arizona REALTORS®, is also an attorney, State Bar of Arizona board certified real estate specialist, and the author of Arizona Real Estate: A Professional’s Guide to Law and Practice. Please note that this article is of a general nature and may not be updated or revised for accuracy as statutory or case law changes following the date of first publication. Further, this article reflects only the opinion of the author, is not intended as definitive legal advice and you should not act upon it without seeking independent legal counsel.