Update for MN Real estate agents using social media

3 May

As real estate licensees (brokers and agents alike) begin to utilize social media for promoting themselves and their services, and for advertising or marketing property, it is important to understand the “rules of the road” for using social media.

As you may already know if you’ve been following the updates from the Minnesota Association of REALTORS (“MNAR”), MNAR staff (and I) have met with the Minnesota Department of Commerce (“DOC”) on a couple of occasions to try to clarify these issues.  The Department has stressed that all advertising (including web, blog, social media such as Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn, etc.) had to comply with the Chapter 82 rules regarding advertising.

The “rules” are defined in statute in MN Stat 82.69, 82.68 (Subd. 1), and 82.82 (Subd. 12), primarily, and elsewhere in Chapter 82.  Commerce appeared to expand on those rules, somewhat, with their interpretation that each “Tweet” in Twitter, Status update in Facebook and the like needed to identify your name and your company name.  Given the difficulty that causes in a limited amount of space (such as the 140 characters in Twitter), such a concept is a bit onerous to apply.

Fortunately, the Department of Commerce has confirmed that in the event an agent or broker’s “profile” page contains all the required information, and that the profile page is only “1 click” away from the post/tweet/etc., they intend to consider that as satisfying the requirements on properly identifying the information deemed necessary in advertising.

Although you should discuss your own personal marketing or real estate brokerage company rules and marketing strategy with your attorney, it should be helpful to know that the expectation that you include more information than can reasonably be added into any given “tweet” or “update” now appears to be a bit more relaxed.  That said, you should be vigilant to ensure that proper procedures are in place withing your brokerage to review/supervise the online and social media activities of your agents, and that the necessary licensee information, licensed name, company name, and related information is properly identified in each and every blog, agent profile, profile page on social media sites, and the like.

For more information, please discuss this issue with your broker and/or company attorney.  Additionally, Linda Modlinski, MNAR Senior Vice President, authored an article on this subject that appeared in the MNAR eResource publication on May 2, 2011, which you can find here: http://www2.realtoractioncenter.com/site/MessageViewer?em_id=36121.0#five

If you are interested in these and similar real estate brokerage updates, follow @BrokerageAtty on Twitter:

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This blog entry is written by Brad Boyd, a Shareholder at Thomsen Nybeck. Brad is the chair of the firm’s Transactional Group, and his practice focuses primarily in Real Estate, Real Estate Brokerage, Business and Corporate law, and Wind Energy Law.  Brad provides legal advice, guidance, and representation related to risk management in a wide variety of real estate and business law matters.  He is counsel to the Minnesota Association of Realtors, many individual Realtors and brokerages, business clients and individuals.

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