Brokers Corner: How To Control Social Media Risks
Social media is all pervasive. As a property broker, you cannot ignore it anymore. It has now become imperative to establish a vibrant presence on prime social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
As all of these platforms have no restriction on the amount of content you post on a daily basis, property brokers sometimes overwhelm the audience with a flood of updates. Even there are incidents wherein property brokers have gone to an extent that backfire and result in negative publicity and sometimes legal actions, too.
How to avoid such incidents?
Develop a social media policy for your company
This should be the initial step, whether you are a one-man army or a company having several employees. You must set clear objectives, stating what you want to achieve through social media and how you are going to do it. You should assign the rights to post updates through your official social media accounts only to select staff who have the necessary level of experience and skills to do it. The policy should also have dos and don'ts about the type of content that should be posted.
Here are some of the major aspects you must cover under this:
*RERA registration: Section 3(1) of the real estate law prohibits advertisement of any real estate project that is not registered with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority. This provision came into force from May this year, and applies to all the projects, whether ongoing or new. So, make sure that you verify the RERA registration details of a project before advertising it on any public platform.
*Unreal/exaggerated advertising: Until recently, it was okay to advertise attractive images of projects under pre-launch stage. After the implementation of the real estate law, this practice is out of the scene. It is not allowed to entice people through unreal or exaggerated advertising. To steer clear of such risks, you can avoid developing any artwork about projects from your end and source it from the real estate developer who is liable to duly comply with the provisions of the real estate law.
*Plagiarism: As a reputed property brokerage house, you would never want your staff to copy content from other sites and use it on yours. Plagiarism poses a serious risk to your reputation and may even lead to legal actions on copyright violations. Your social-media policy should clearly mention that plagiarism is not acceptable at all. For that matter, also clarify on your stand against any Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringements. If your social posts are including any data, research or any other content that is an IPR to any other person or company, you need to state the source of such content without fail.
Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) defines defamation as: “Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person.”
It is critical that none of your content harms anyone's reputation. Never colour your content with remarks on religion, caste, skin-colour or financial status. A slight ignorance on this front can make you liable against defamation suit in no time.
We are hopeful that the above points will help you in preventing any disasters that can impact your brand's reputation and hurt your business.