Social Media Guidelines and FAQs
How To Do Social Media The Right Way
- Like and be friends with as many relevant people as possible (ie. clients, classmates, friends, and family).
- Never push listings. It's much more effective to occasionally post a new listing photo and lightly mention something like "Check out this pool. It's amazing!" Periodically remind your audience you are in real estate, but don't over do it.
- Stay in touch with clients – past, present, and future. Find your friends who know how to engage (life of the party kinda people). Promote others content 10 times as much as your own. It's important to listen, join in, and add value.
- Include as many solid photos as possible. Text posts are not as effective.
- What's the goal? Start conversations, build a community around your message, build a following among supporters, stay in touch with your community, get more participation from your followers.
Where To Post Content
Knowing how to leverage the power of social media to help build your real estate business will allow you to efficiently spend your time updating your various social media accounts.
We recommend focusing on the following social media accounts...
How You'll Identify Yourself
It’s Hawaii state real estate law and our company policy that you, as a Real Estate Broker or Agent, must include the following on each of your social media accounts where you actively (or have ever) discussed real estate:
- You are a licensed REALTOR© by trade (ie. John Smith is a Big Island REALTOR©)
- Name of the real estate brokerage you are with and link to brokerage site
- Your work email address or telephone number
If our Associates do not follow social media rules, Hawaii Life could be penalized with stiff fines and/or lose its MLS feed which populates our website with listing details.
- How To Identify Yourself on Facebook
- How To Identify Yourself on Google+
- How To Identify Yourself on Twitter
- How To Identify Yourself on LinkedIn
Sensitivity to copyright law and trademark law is especially important when it comes to blogging. Agents affiliated with Hawaii Life cannot copy or post on their blog any information which is copyrighted without giving appropriate credit.
Please make sure you own the rights to or have permission to use any photo in your blogs (MLS photos are fine).
Photos we CAN use:
- MLS photos
- Your own photos
- Photos you have permission to use from owner/photographer
- You can purchase the rights to use photos from certain sites that sell them
Photos we CAN'T use:
- Photos from the Internet (Google images, etc.)
- Photos from another website
Refrain from using photos with a trade name stamped across their face. Exception: Photos stamped with “RAM” (Realtors Association of Maui.)
Things to always include
MLS number. Always include an MLS number for the property you are talking about. The MLS number should be formatted like “(MLS# 12345)” and should immediately follow your first description of the property. Example: This Kalapekacooey home (MLS# 12345) is a must-see for its intergalactic flowers.” Link “MLS# 12345” to the MLS description of the property, found through our website. Do not, however, link the parentheses around your MLS number. If you don't include an MLS number, we must hunt to find it, and this slows down publishing time.
What To Avoid
- Don’t pitch. Social media isn’t about pitching. It’s about interacting.
You need to connect with your fans and make your posts personal, engaging, and meaningful. Sure, you can sell something to them eventually, but if all of your posts are about selling them their next home, your fan base will shrink.
- Don't post without permission.
Give your fellow brokers and agents the courtesy of getting their permission before you write about one of their listings. Here's why: Sometimes it takes years of relationship building to get a listing. Sometimes, sellers hire the listing agent, not the company. So, when someone who isn't the listing agent writes a post about the listing, especially without the listing agent knowing about it, it can create undue tension with the seller(s).
- Don't speak for others.
When it comes to company announcements, don't speak for the company or other agents. Focus on the inventory, the real estate market, the lifestyle, etc. Don't write posts about the company being nominated for or winning an award, or being mentioned in the press, etc. Those events should be announced by the principals and/or the leadership. And, as always, if you have questions, just ask your BIC before you write the post.
- Don't re-post other people's articles.
We don’t want any copyright violations (see below). Feel free to summarize articles you find and to offer your opinion, but then include a link in your blog to the original article itself.
- Don't promise or predict the future.
To be safe, rather than say, “I’m sure you’ll make a million bucks off this vacation rental,” offer only the facts such as, “this vacation rental has seen a steady flow of income over the past five years.” Likewise, don’t state as a fact that a particular home will sell soon. You can, however, offer your opinion as a guess. (E.g., “my guess is that this price reduced luxury home will sell this week.”)
- Don't violate the Fair Housing Act
This is particularly a concern around the protected category of “family status.” We cannot use the word “family” or “ohana” or emphasize the proximity of a property to a school, for instance. Other protected categories are race, color, national origin, religion, sex, and handicap. In accordance with federal law, our blogs cannot show a preference for a member of any one of these groups over another.
Avoid using language that is cliché and contrived to evoke fantasy images without consideration to the client/user’s worldview, and that may alienate people who call Hawaii home. A few examples we’ve all seen before:
“Making your dreams come true.”
“This is your dream home.”
“Piece of Paradise”
At Hawaii Life, what differentiates us from the competition and enables us to build trust with customers is our focus on content rather than “fluff.” As salespeople, we need to remember that what our customers want most is relevant, useful, and interesting information rather than commentary that may come across as spam. Our job is to help our customers obtain the information they need to make important decisions about buying and selling their property. As such, the importance of brief, straightforward, and truthful information cannot be overemphasized. So, draft your blogs in a way that offers information as you yourself would want to receive it – honest, straightforward, and concise.
- Keep it short. Make your point and make a graceful exit. We want to keep the reader’s attention, rather than lose them in long articles.
- One space only between sentences. Normal writing has two spaces; web writing has one.
- Use bold and italics minimally. Otherwise, it’s overwhelming for the reader’s eye.
- Describe properties as “1 bed / 1 bath” rather than “one bedroom and three bathrooms” or “two bedroom home,” etc.
- Create a link to the words “contact me.” Rather than “call me” or “e-mail me,” write “contact me” and link those words to your agent profile, found by going to “Company & Services” on HawaiiLife.com, then clicking on your island, and then your photo.
- Put the period and/or comma before the closing quotation marks.
- 'Correct:' “The big pig looked at the funky chicken."
- 'Incorrect:' “The happy cow jumped over the rainbow”.
Social Media FAQs
If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can always email us Support@HawaiiLife.com.
Q. How do I manage my Facebook business page from my mobile device?
Q: How do I create a Google+ page?
TIP: Bloggers should have a Google+ page. That way your images will appear in Google’s search results.
Q: How do I get my photo to display next to my blog posts in Google’s search?
Create a Google+ page using your “@hawaiilife.com” email address. Remember to upload a high quality headshot and fill out some profile information such as hometown, company you work for, etc.