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Make It Fair, Make It Legal: Mitigating Your Social Media Risks

Make It Fair, Make It Legal: Mitigating Your Social Media Risks



This year marks the 45th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act. A lot has changed in 45 years with the introduction of social media as a primary source of traffic and retention. Join ...

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act. A lot has changed in 45 years with the introduction of social media as a primary source of traffic and retention. Join Ansley Sudderth, Social Media Training and Communications Coordinator and Nadeen Green, Senior Counsel for For Rent Media Solutions™ as they share Fair Housing do's and don'ts pertaining to social media. This is your opportunity to send us your questions so that the expert can answer them!



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  • Good afternoon everyone, I’m AnsleySudderth, Social media training and communications coordinator with For Rent Media Solutions. Thanks for joining me today. We have special guest, Nadeen Green with us today to help us navigate through and understand Fair Housing guidelines as they relate to social media. Nadeen serves as legal counsel to For Rent and part of what she does is travel around the country spreading the “good word” of Fair Housing so we’re lucky to have her today. With that being said, let’s welcome Nadeen! Nadeen says hello!
  • So before we get started, we are using the hashtag #FRMSChat on twitter so if you have any feedback, questions or maybe some insight, feel free to use the hashtag and one person using our hashtag will receive a $20 gift card! And we’ll announce the winner at the end of the webinar so sit back and relax!
  • We posed a question when you registered for today’s session that asked: What legal questions or concerns do you have when using social media to market your community?
  • You provided some great feedback that Nadeen and myself combed through and we created today’s template based off of the questions and topics that resonated most frequently. We are so excited that we got so many questions that we almost had trouble narrowing them down! There were some outliers so just because your question may not be answered today, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great question. We appreciate your feedback! Speaking of questions, if you have any during today’s session, feel free to ask away. I also want to remind you that there are two ways you can ask questions and share feedback. The first way is by using the GoTo Webinar questions box. We can see those questions come in in real time and will most likely answer them on the spot. The second option is for you folks following along on Twitter using #FRMSChat. Our FRSocial expert is interacting with you right now if you’re using the hashtag but after we conclude the webinar, I will be jumping on Twitter as @AptsForRent to answer any other questions you may have!
  • First, I’ll share how we can use social media as a tool, next Nadeenwill cover why it’s vital to adhere to Fair Housing rules and regulations. We’ll then address some topics that resonated from the question we posed. We have some take aways to share with you before we go and we will tweet out a few valuable links so be on the lookout, then we’ll wrap things up with any Q&A.
  • By now, it goes without saying that Social Media is a tool that gives marketersaccess to endless avenues that connect a brand to its consumer. Social media allows us to…
  • …do more leasing by way of Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, Pinterest, Craigslist and other high traffic networks. Now an apartment shopper can sign a 12 month lease online after they’ve just completed a virtual tour of your property. This is something that definitely would not have been possible if not for social media.
  • Social media Also allows us to market. A social strategy is an amazing tool for a marketing plan. Think of social networks as vessels that allow you to broadcast your marketing message and promote your product or service to the world. With that much access to your consumer, it’s vital to use this marketing tool wisely.
  • Speaking of using tools wisely…Think about the rules of the road when driving. A vehicle is a tool. If we were all reckless on the road, we’d be either injured or dead! The same goes for that way we conduct ourselves in the online space. Although the consequence may not be as harsh as death, things can take a serious turn. If we don’t adhere to the law, there are legal implications that at the very least can tarnish a brand’s reputation and potentially place them in legal trouble.
  • To avoid going into any gray area that may potentially land you in hot water, a social media policy is ideal to implement when using a tool like social media in your marketing strategy. This is not legal advice but more of a guideline of best practices to ensure you and your team are protected. We will be sharing a link to a social media policy we’ve drafted later in the session.
  • When you’re creating your social media policy, there are variables to consider. Base this document off of your corporate policies and emphasize on those relating to social media.It is also important to define the rules of engagement and suggest that they be followed to help guide your organization respond to threats. Because by building in a defined set of response procedures, you’re going to minimizethe amount of damage that a social media crisis can inflict.Questions that need to be addressed are:-When are your employees ‘your’ employees?-Are you responsible for their actions when they are “on the clock”? -Are you responsible for their actions when they are on their own time? -Consider your audience and be authentic-Remember to protect proprietary and confidential information
  • So let’s remove social from the equation for a moment. Fair Housing laws were set in place long before social media and to safeguard yourself and your property from legal implications, the best advice would be to know the basic fair housing regulations. What better person to enlighten us than our very own Nadeen!
  • Nadeen: You should be well aware of fair housing issues for your community, not just those related to your advertising. If that is not the case, then you need (really!) to get some good solid information on this important civil right that protects your prospects, applicants, and residents. A human model can constitute as live individuals, stock photos or avatars and characters such as renderings. In short, a human model is any depiction of a ‘person’.
  • Nadeen: Fair Housing law makes it unlawful to indicate a preference or discriminate because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (gender), familial status or handicap (disability) in advertising for housing.
  • Nadeen:
  • Nadeen:
  • ThanksNadeen for breaking down the do’s and don’t’s of photo usage from a Fair Housing standpoint. The great thing about social media is that your property’s social presence can be built and maintained with as little as 10 minutes a day. That’s what makes this tool so great. Like we mentioned earlier though, this tool must be used properly especially when it comes photo sharing.
  • These days, marketers are turning to the social networks that allow them to be more visual and you may be doing the same thing at your community. By taking social management into your own hands, you not only control your brand messaging, you create a direct line to your audience. It’s vital that the images you share represent your property in an accurate and fair light.
  • So Nadeen, you touched on the issue of representing every demographic through the use of images but another issue touches photo sharing via the usage of hashtag. Obviously, we’re advocates of hashtags seeing that we use them on almost every campaign and contest we run but hashtags don’t override permission to use other people’s photos. It’s still vital to have a photo release if you’re going to share photos with faces that are recognizable.
  • Before you post, have your residents and guests sign a model release It’s not only what we show, it’s what we say. Words are just as impactful as visuals so Nadeen, I know you have some insight on that…
  • Other than images, words set the tone in the social space. It’s important that your words not only reflect your brand, the words you use should never make someone feel as though they do not belong.
  • If it would be wrong in print, it is wrong on a website; if it’s wrong on a website, it will be wrong onlineand all your social media endeavors. Your overall goal should be to have a social presence that is fair housing compliant.
  • Hosting resident events is a great way to boost community involvement, show your residents appreciation and give prospects a taste of the lifestyle you offer. While this is a great marketing tool, it’s a tool that needs to be used wisely. The last thing you want to do is indirectly segregate people according to the event you’re promoting.
  • Ansley: So Nadeen, a question I have relates to the whole photo release section we just covered. This photo has a plethora of faces but no one is recognizable
  • Ansley: Same goes with this photo. That being said, are these fair game if you share images that don’t have recognizable or identifiable people. Providingan experience like food truck Friday for your residents not only helps promote your brand for free, it converts hungry residents into full, satisfied brand ambassadors!
  • Ansley
  • Handling reviews if always a hot button issue in multifamily just because this industry is to reliant on positive reviews. The truth of the matter is that we don’t always get three star or higher reviews and often times don’t know how to handle negative reviews so we just ignore them.
  • Not addressing negative reviews not only threatens brand credibility, it often steers an apartment shopper in another direction away from your property. The question is, how do we handle negative reviews and when does a negative review need to be handled in house vs. the court system?
  • Before you take it to the court, 9 times out of 10, you can handle the negative review with your own task force. There are just a few guidelines that need to be met.Take a moment to step away so that you remove any initial anger Always try to relate even if it’s difficultIn some cases the customer may not always be right but that doesn’t mean you can blame themTry to take your conversation offline by offering a phone number or email addressRespond in a time sensitive manner
  • The Statement -- A "statement" needs to be spoken, written, or otherwise expressed in some manner. Because the spoken word often fades more quickly from memory, slander is often considered less harmful than libel.Publication -- For a statement to be published, a third party must have seen, heard or read the defamatory statement. A third party is someone apart from the person making the statement and the subject of the statement. Unlike the traditional meaning of the word "published," a defamatory statement does not need to be printed in a book. Rather, if the statement is heard over the television or seen scrawled on someone's door, it is considered to be published.Injury -- To succeed in a defamation lawsuit, the statement must be shown to have caused injury to the subject of the statement. This means that the statement must have hurt the reputation of the subject of the statement. As an example, a statement has caused injury if the subject of the statement lost work as a result of the statement.Falsity -- Defamation law will only consider statements defamatory if they are, in fact, false. A true statement, no matter how harmful, is not considered defamation. In addition, because of their nature, statements of opinion are not considered false because they are subjective to the speaker.Unprivileged -- Lastly, in order for a statement to be defamatory, it must be unprivileged. Lawmakers have decided that you cannot sue for defamation in certain instances when a statement is considered privileged. For example, when a witness testifies at trial and makes a statement that is both false and injurious, the witness will be immune to a lawsuit for defamation because the act of testifying at trial is privileged.Whether a statement is privileged or unprivileged is a policy decision that rests on the shoulders of lawmakers. The lawmakers must weigh the need to avoid defamation against the importance that the person making the statement have the free ability to say what they want.Witnesses on the stand at trial are a prime example. When a witness is giving his testimony, we, as a society, want to ensure that the witness gives a full account of everything without holding back for fear of saying something defamatory. Likewise, lawmakers themselves are immune from defamation suits resulting from statements made in legislative chamber or in official materials.Social Media and DefamationWith the rise of social media, it’s now easier than ever to make a defamatory statement. That’s because social media services like Twitter and Facebook allow you to instantly “publish” a statement that can reach thousands of people. Whether it’s a disparaging blog post, Facebook status update, or YouTube video, online defamation is treated the same way as more traditional forms. That means you can be sued for any defamatory statements you post online.- See more at: http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/defamation-law-the-basics.html#sthash.Uuq0ci63.dpuf
  • Here are some tips you can put into play today…
  • Considering how much ground we’ve covered today, you can’t leave without some valuable links right?
  • We’ve tweeted most of these during the session so make sure you go to Twitter to get the links. We will also share these with you now.
  • At this time, I’m happy to take any questions you may have. As question start to come in, we are going to get ready to announce moment you’ve been waiting for!
  • While questions are coming in, If you want to check out any upcoming webinars feel free to visit the Social Media Training cal as it’s updated monthly. The link to that is bit.ly/SocialMediaTrainingCal
  • Before we announce the winner and wrap up the session, For Rent has a line up of products that will help you connect with today’s renter. Today’s renter has the option to start their apartment search in a variety of ways. Some renters will discover your online ad and will immediately seek your community video. Others will want to consult the opinions of friends, family, and the world wide web after reading your print ad. And of course, many will come across your ad on their phone, while toggling between sites such as Facebook - all in front of the TV.For Rent Media Solutions™ understands this generation of renters and the story of how they search. FRWeb, FRVideo, FRPrint, FRMobile, FRSocial, and FRTargeted were designed to put your community in front of renters at all stages of their journey. If you are walking away from today’s session a newfound interest in any of our offerings, I invite you to reach out to you For Rent account rep who can answers you questions!
  • Let’s announce today’s winner! The winner is… Congrats and thanks for participating on Twitter. If you would, please DM us your info and we will get your gift card in the mail!
  • Thanks to all of you who are listening. We hope you can find you inner social media ninja and find unconventional ways to make your marketing dollars work for you! Make sure you follow and Like us on our social channels, we absolutely love interacting with you!

Make It Fair, Make It Legal: Mitigating Your Social Media Risks Make It Fair, Make It Legal: Mitigating Your Social Media Risks Presentation Transcript

  • Make It Fair, Make It Legal: Ansley Sudderth Social Media Training & Communications Coordinator Special Guest: Nadeen Green Senior Counsel #FairHousingLady
  • Join in the conversation! Chat with @AptsForRent for the chance to win $20!
  • We Asked… What legal questions or concerns do you have when using social media to market your community?
  • You Answered… • • • • • • Knowing the Basic Laws Proper Verbiage Photo Usage Negative Reviews Incentives and Promotions Avoiding Discrimination
  • Agenda • Social Media is a Tool • Fair Housing – – – – Human Models Photo Sharing on Social Channels Words Event Hosting • Other Issues: – Reviews – Endorsements • What You Can Do Today! • Valuable Links • Q&A
  • Social Media Policy • • • • Does it consider… The culture of your company or organization? When and where can employees visit? When and where can employees post? What can they post?
  • Human Models
  • Human Models
  • Human Models Do’s • Show people of ethnic and cultural diversity • Show people with disabilities • Show children (unless you’re advertising for senior housing) Don’ts • Cater to one group, stereotype or typecast (e.g. “white only”)
  • Human Models
  • Photo Sharing on Social Channels
  • Photo Sharing #Hashtag usage: Voluntary hashtag usage DOES NOT override or serve the purpose of a Model Release Form!
  • Photo Sharing
  • Words
  • Nadeen’s Mantra… “If it wasn’t legal in print before, it is still not legal in print. If it wasn’t legal in print, it is not likely to be legal for social media marketing.”
  • Words • • • • • • Avoid using… Mature Exclusive Traditional Adult Active Independent • • • • • • • Safe words… Walk-in closet Walking distance Walk to Master bedroom Quiet community Merry Christmas Happy Easter
  • Event Hosting
  • Event Ideas • • • • • • Inviting Events… Yappy Hour Food Truck Friday Tailgate Fever Around the World Potluck Wine Down Wednesdays Kids’ Club Discriminatory Events… • Ladies Night Out • Man Cave Mondays
  • #CityPointApts #FoodTruckFriday
  • Reviews
  • Handling Negative Reviews
  • Response Best Practices Rule 1: Remove all emotion Rule 2: Always use empathy and be authentic Rule 3: Don’t play the blame game Rule 4: Never get into an online comment battle Rule 5: Keep it timely and never ignore bad reviews
  • Real Scenarios
  • Real Scenarios
  • Who Responds? • Regional/Corporate – Pros: Not emotionally tied to the issue/concern – Cons/Challenges: Could cause for delay because they must obtain all info from on-site team before responding & should stand behind the on-site team, if possible • Property Manager – Pros: Knows all the details, backstory & may personally know the resident with the issue/concern – Cons/Challenges: Too emotionally invested, especially if he/she is the target of the review or comment
  • More than Negative...Libel 1. Someone made a statement; 2. that statement was published; 3. the statement caused you injury; 4. the statement was false; 5. and the statement did not fall into a privileged category
  • Endorsements
  • Endorsements Be sure that… • The endorser’s experience is representative of what others experience (no more “results may not be representative”) and • You have signed and dated correspondence from the endorser as to what is being said and permission to use the testimonial.
  • Endorsements Effective December 2009, all endorsers (including bloggers or others posting online on your behalf), must disclose if they receive any compensation or free product from you, or if they are an employee.
  • Endorsements If someone is blogging on your behalf, are you giving them anything (maybe discounted rent, favorable lease terms, an actual payment, or a paycheck)? Are they saying nice things?...
  • Endorsements That’s an endorsement or a testimonial, and they must disclose what you give them for saying those nice things. In fact, you need to direct the person that they cannot make unsubstantiated claims about your community and that they must disclose any material connection between the blog and you (such as that rental discount or that they are your employee).
  • What You Can Do Today
  • What You Can Do Today • What message are you sending? Is it Fair Housing compliant? • Create a photo release form. • Ensure photos and events make anyone feel included. • Don’t ignore negative reviews.
  • Valuable Links
  • Valuable Links • November Social Media Training Calendar: http://bit.ly/SocialMediaTrainingCal • Social Media Policy: http://bit.ly/SocialMediaPolicyEx • Fair Housing Best Practices: http://bit.ly/FairHousingBestPractices
  • Q&A
  • Photo and Statistics Credit http://www.lifeshare.cc/docs/white%20gift%20card%20blue%20ribbon.jpg http://www.tarrantcounty.com/ehousing/lib/ehousing/Fair_Equal_Housing_Logo.jpg http://www.fakingnews.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/social-media-hand.jpg http://sfcitizen.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/IMG_0723-copy.jpg http://antreprenor.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/thumb-down1.jpg http://www.gscdn.org/library/cms/68/14868.jpg http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2013/08/09/istock_000020692156large-d4ee26cb2c4f4da1fa7c628e4fdf4545770bbe35-s6-c30.jpg http://www.raanetwork.org/media/Diversity-People.jpg http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/61127000/jpg/_61127923_xpdc_9928.jpg http://www.mcpactions.com/blog/2012/08/27/free-model-release-form/ http://www.oae.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/and-the-winner-is-412x333.jpg http://cdn.thenextweb.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2012/02/publish.png http://depictingyourworld.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/model-release-form.jpg http://fidoloves.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/fido-loves-4919.jpg http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.brandsoftheworld.com/sites/default/files/styles/logothumbnail/public/032013/bitly.png&imgrefurl=http://www.brandsoftheworld.com/logo/bitly&h=195&w=195&sz=15&tbnid=HlflTY5xydX8M:&tbnh=91&tbnw=91&zoom=1&usg=__gKsKw031PclyrjMkWyw_W4YjQZc=&docid=4Ll0uAPpIh209M&sa=X &ei=RD47UoyHO7LE4AOt_IGgCA&ved=0CFQQ9QEwDQ&dur=255 http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://opinionexchange.lohudblogs.com/files/2013/01/flipboard.png&imgrefurl=http://opinionexchange.loh udblogs.com/2013/01/18/how-to-read-onflipboard/&h=931&w=740&sz=27&tbnid=VVmdQV9Zfi_obM:&tbnh=92&tbnw=73&zoom=1&usg=__H9b7N0oUK9nJ6BYyoE23oDR36A=&docid=TFKeguL3tpqHvM&sa=X&ei=3z47UsfWBdWv4AOO4YDoDA&sqi=2&ved=0CCsQ9QEwAA&dur=252 http://www.youtube.com/yt/brand/downloads.html http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/images/i/000/001/616/original/TOOL-BELT-ART.jpg http://daily.undergradsuccess.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Flexibility-Undergrad-Success.jpg http://static.businessbecause.com/uploads/default/news/images/70c639df5e30bdee.png