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Make It Fair, Make It Legal: Fair Housing Tips & Best Practices in the Age of Social Media
 

Make It Fair, Make It Legal: Fair Housing Tips & Best Practices in the Age of Social Media

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As imperative as it is to have a dynamic marketing strategy, both the virtual and real worlds are subject to advertising laws. If not followed, these laws can make your efforts not only ineffective ...

As imperative as it is to have a dynamic marketing strategy, both the virtual and real worlds are subject to advertising laws. If not followed, these laws can make your efforts not only ineffective but unlawful-costing you traffic and money! There are fundamental advertising legalities that affect marketing both in the traditional sources and with new media, including social media-optimized promotions.

Join Erica Campbell, director of social media for Dominion Homes Media and Nadeen Green, Senior Counsel For Rent Media Solutions, as they share best practices on how to avoid common fair housing considerations - such as using human models and profiling pitfalls, and helping you:

- Become aware of what you can and cannot do in the eyes of the law
- Make the leap to a great advertising message for your community with care and confidence and land safely with success

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  • Hi, good afternoon, I’m Erica Campbell, director of social media for For Rent Media Solutions and I’m happy to have with us, Fair Housing expert Nadeen Green, senior counsel for For Rent. Today we’ll discuss one of the most important topics in the industry: Fair Housing. It’s a topic that can’t be ignored for obvious reasons.
  • Today, we’ll gain pertinent insight from Nadeen on Fair Housing topics such as the usage of human models, what you can and can not say, what your social media policy should state and other key areas like website accessibility, positive endorsements vs. libel, and the difference between contests, sweepstakes and lotteries. So with that, I’ll hand it over to you Nadeen!
  • Thanks Erica, {insert segue here}As imperative as it is to have a dynamic marketing strategy, both the virtual world and the real one are subject to advertising laws that if not followed can make your efforts not only ineffective but unlawful – that can cost you traffic and money! There are fundamental advertising legalities that affect marketing both in the traditional sources and with new media, including social media-optimized promotions. You need to be aware of what you can and cannot do in the eyes of the law, make the leap to a great advertising message for your community with care and confidence, and land safely with success!
  • A best practice to maintain consistently is using the Equal Housing Opportunity logo.
  • 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’.
  • In this session, we are going to focus on advertising, and the message is quite simple: If it would be wrong in print, it is wrong on a website; if it’s wrong on a website, it will be wrong on Facebook Marketplace and all your social media endeavors. Your overall goal should be to have a Marketplace Network presence that is fair housing compliant.
  • Someone “visiting” you through a social media site must see enough diversity (including children unless your community qualifies as senior housing) in order to believe that whoever they are (race, color, national origin, etc.) that they would be welcome at your community.. Seeing someone they identify with breaks that barrier.
  • Singling out a certain type of model singles out one sect of your entire audience and omits the rest. For example, white-only advertising has been a sin under the Fair Housing Act since 1968 and has resulted in judgments and settlements in the thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions of dollars. Those residents, employees, avatars, spokespersons, executives and others that are in your advertising are “human models” and according to the Federal Register they should be clearly definable as reasonably representing majority and minority groups in the metropolitan area (not one neighborhood), both sexes, and…families with children. Human models should portray persons in an equal social setting and indicate to the general public that the housing is open to all without regard to race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national originThe same goes for social media. No group of people should be exempt. Don’t stereotype: When you show people of various ethnic backgrounds, don’t place them in positions in which they are already stereotyped. i.e., a person of Hispanic descent as a maintenance staff member.
  • Showing staff and residents is okay if:Their depiction is Fair Housing compliant and they have filled out model releases which you should keep forever!
  • You can still be suedif the person is depicted in a tasteless, offensive or clearly malicious manner. Watch out for any slogans or captions associated with the depiction that are libelous or embarrassing, or that misrepresent the model to his/her disadvantage.
  • Your actions and decision should stand up to accusations that were based on what you learned about others from social media.
  • Fair Housing law makes it unlawful to indicate a preference or discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status or handicap in advertising for housing. In this session, we are going to focus on advertising, and the message is quite simple: If it would be wrong in print, it is wrong on a website; if it’s wrong on a website, it will be wrong on Facebook Marketplace and all your social media endeavors. Your overall goal should be to have a Marketplace Network presence that is fair housing compliant.
  • Fair Housing law makes it unlawful to indicate a preference or discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status or handicap in advertising for housing.
  • Does your policy consider the culture of your company or organization? Does it state when and what employees can and can not post? Is there a list of social networks that are safe vs. not safe for work? http://images.forrent.com/imgs/fr/marketing/Marketplace/SocialMediaPolicy.pdf
  • Fair Housing issues and sexual harassment issuesIssues related to the privacy of othersExposure of company trade secrets
  • Development of corporate policies, with particular emphasis on those relating to social media participation is important.It is also important to define the rules of engagement to be followed to help guide your organizations response to threats. By building in a defined set of response procedures, it is possible 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
  • ADA (American with Disabilities Act) requires accessibility for “places of public accommodation” . Any “place” that offers housing for rent or sale is a “public accommodation” that must be accessible, including a website. People who can’t see computer monitors may use screen readers to “speak” the text. People who have difficulty sing a mouse can use voice recognition software for verbal commands. AND..DOJ (Department of Justice) enforces the ADA with regard to website accessibility.
  • This is the website for guidance on website accessibility and there are also websites (easy to find) that will evaluate the accessibility of your website
  • In addition to presenting the material in context, the endorser must be an actual user of your product or service. It’s necessary to be sure the endorser’s experience is representative of other’s experiences. Stating “results may not be representative” will not fly.You also must have signed and sated correspondence from the endorser as to what is being said and permission to use the testimonial. Effective December 2009, all endorsers must disclose having received any compensation for free product from you as well as if the endorser is an employee. This includes bloggers or others posting online on your behalf.
  • FTC Endorsement Guidelines are made clear by Mary Engle, Associate Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. For more videos on the Endorsement Guide, visit: http://blog.disclosurepolicy.org/
  • A viral crisis is any event big or small that threatens brand integrity, evolves extremely quickly and will continue into a snowball effect if not stopped. Imagine a renter bothered about the consistent late-night noise down the hall posts a complaint on your Facebook wall. Due to the busyness of the day, you fail to respond to the post in a timely manner. This window of time allows the post to remain unanswered, in plain view for anyone to see. As a result, it’s possible renters with the same opinion points will suddenly find a voice and jump on the band wagon, leaving you with an even bigger mess to clean up. Find and address the negative influencer as soon as possible.
  • Facebook is all about conversation. It’s necessary to immerse yourself in it to keep afloat and to stay relevant. Comment Guidelines sets the boundaries for acceptable behavior on the company’s Facebook page. So know what the media, competitors, employees and residents are saying about you and track the content of the conversation to gauge success. It’s good to respond to the three inevitable types of conversation:Apartment community questions, resident complaints and complimentsSome things to consider: Will you reject comments which include offensive or inappropriate language?Will you allow personal attacks? In an ideal world you might allow people to question or argue your company’s content – after all, this medium is about conversation. However as we all know, this isn’t an ideal world. Even if you do allow criticism, consider outlawing aggressive attacks. – On-topic comments: What will you do with comments that veer away from the topic of the post or other peoples’ comments? Will you allow comments that appear to be spam? Will you take action against repeat offenders? Will you provide a way for commenters to contact someone if their comment is not approved, or if they have other questions?
  • Coca-Cola House Rules link that tells commenters what and what not to say.
  • The key to a successful reputation management plan is the initial analysis of your business’s online presence with an eye for both current weaknesses and potential vulnerabilities. A SWOT analysis can help you visualize the situation and compartmentalize the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within it. You’ll be able to see what variables overlap making room for you to seize your opportunity to turn the situation in a positive direction! Or you can develop a risk table which allows you to identify the Risks, Categorize them, estimate the Probability and assign an impact value. Either way, have a ‘plug and play’ platform where you brainstorm possible crises that could occur with your property’s Facebook page so you can react in a timely manner when in fact it does occur. Play out these scenarios to help you build canned responses.Then be sure to educate you staff internally on the plan and policy.
  • Do you know the difference between a contest, a sweepstakes and a lottery? You should! The first two events are legal but a lottery is not. A lottery promotion can actually be criminal!
  • Chance refers to a random drawing. Consideration requires that someone do something to ‘play’ and a Prize refers to something of value. You can have any combination of the two, but not all three at one time.
  • You can have any combination of the two, but not all three at one time.
  • You can have any combination of the two, but not all three at one time.
  • Study the Social Media Rules of EngagementBecome acquainted with Fair Housing best PracticesApply the Social Media Policy to your business model Watch Nadeen’s video on ‘The Legal Triangle’Watch Nadeen’s video on Profiling Pitfalls

Make It Fair, Make It Legal: Fair Housing Tips & Best Practices in the Age of Social Media Make It Fair, Make It Legal: Fair Housing Tips & Best Practices in the Age of Social Media Presentation Transcript

  • Make It Fair, Make It Legal: FairHousing Tips & Best Practices in theAgeof Social Media Erica Campbell, Nadeen Green, Director of Social Media Senior Counsel @ericacampbell #FairHousingLady
  • Follow the Conversation• @AptsForRent• @ericacampbell• #FairHousingLadyCheck out Nadeen’s Blog:http://fairhousing.forrent.com/
  • What We’ll Cover…• Fair Housing – Human Models – Words• Social Media Policy• Website Accessibility• Speaking• Contests, Sweepstakes & Lotteries• Take-a-ways• Ignition Points
  • Social Media Is Becoming More Influential At EachPhase Of The Connected World
  • FAIR HOUSING
  • Best Practice • For ALL published and Internet material
  • Human Models
  • Human Models 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.”
  • Human Models Do’s • Show people of ethnic and cultural diversity • Show people with disabilities • Show children (unless you’re advertising for senior housing)
  • Show people of ethnic and cultural diversity
  • Show people with disabilities
  • Show children
  • Human Models Don’ts • Cater to one group, stereotype or typecast (e.g. “white only”)
  • Don’t single out certain groups
  • Human Models Showing staff and residents is OK if… 1. Their depictions are fair housing compliant, AND 2. You have model releases which you will keep forever.
  • Human Models Even with model releases… You can still be sued!
  • Human Models Ultimate Goal Convey a clear message. Diversity is key.
  • Words
  • Words 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.
  • Words Avoid using… • Mature • Exclusive • Traditional • Adult • Active • Independent
  • Words Safe words… • Walk-in closet • Walking distance • Walk to • Master bedroom • Quiet community • Merry Christmas • Happy Easter
  • Words Any words/phrases you’re on the fence about?...Share them through your questions box!
  • SOCIAL MEDIAPOLICY
  • Social Media Policy Do YOU have one?
  • 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?
  • Social Media Policy• How will you handle posts by employees that are inappropriate or unlawful?• Will your employees be allowed to “friend” residents?• Be aware of fair housing issues and sexual harassment issues!• Be aware of issues related to privacy of Social Media others. Policy• Be aware of exposure of company trade secrets. Sample Social Media Policies http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php
  • WEBSITEACCESSIBILITY
  • Website Accessibility • ADA requires accessibility for “places of public accommodation.” • Any “place” that offers housing for rent or sale is a “public accommodation” that must be accessible, including a website.
  • Website Accessibility • People who cannot see computer monitors may use screen readers to “speak” the text. • People who have difficulty using a mouse can use voice recognition software for verbal commands. • AND... DOJ enforces the ADA with regard to website accessibility.
  • Website Accessibility Examples of barriers for people with disabilities… • Photographs without identifying text • Navigation links without a “skip” feature • Unclear description of a text link (e.g., “click here”) • Use of pdf exclusively • No telephone or email contact information
  • Website Accessibility Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: http://www.w3.org/WAI/Resources/
  • SPEAKING: WHATYOU SAY MATTERS
  • Speaking: What You Say Matters Libel vs. Slander • What’s the difference between libel and slander?
  • Speaking: What You Say Matters Endorsements must be: • Honest • Presented in context (and the endorser must be an actual user of your product).
  • Speaking: What You Say Matters 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.
  • Speaking: What You Say Matters 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.
  • Speaking: What You Say Matters 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?...
  • Speaking: What You Say Matters 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).
  • Speaking: What You Say Matters For more videos on the Endorsement Guide, visit: http://blog.disclosurepolicy.org/
  • Avoidance breeds a mob mentality
  • Social Media Policy Comment Guidelines: • Develop a listening framework. • Will you reject comments which include offensive or inappropriate language? • Will you allow personal attacks? • On-topic comments: What will you do with comments that veer away from the topic of the post or other peoples’ comments? • Will you allow comments that appear to be spam? • Will you take action against repeat offenders? • Will you provide a way for people that comment to contact someone if their comment is not approved, or if they have other questions?
  • Speaking: What You Say Matters Reputation Management Plan Risk Table SWOT Analysis
  • 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
  • Take the Conversation Offline
  • CONTESTS,SWEEPSTAKES &LOTTERIES
  • Contests, Sweepstakes & Lotteries Consider Three Elements: • Chance • Consideration • Prize You can have any 2, but not 3 of these in your promotion.
  • Contests, Sweepstakes & Lotteries Consideration + Prize = Contest Chance + Prize = Sweepstakes But…
  • Contests, Sweepstakes & Lotteries Consideration + Chance + Prize = Lottery aka BIG TROUBLE!
  • Contests, Sweepstakes & Lotteries http://bit.ly/LegalTriangle
  • Facebook Guidelines • Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App. • Promotions on Facebook must include the following: a) A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant. b) Acknowledgment that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. c) Disclosure that the participant is providing information to [disclose recipient(s) of information] and not to Facebook. • You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. • You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. • You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion. • You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages. https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php
  • TAKE-A-WAYS
  • Ignition Points • Remember diversity in EVERYTHING you post - Fair Housing. • Get model releases from everyone whose likeness you post. • Craft, convey and follow a social media policy. • Full disclosure when people are endorsing your brand for something you give them. • Remember there are laws for contests and sweepstakes and rules (such as on Facebook). • http://fairhousing.forrent.com/
  • Take-a-ways • Social Media Rules of Engagement: http://bit.ly/SMRulesofEngagement • Social Media Fair Housing Best Practices: http://bit.ly/SMFairHousingGuidelines • Social Media Policy: http://bit.ly/SocialMediaPolicyEx • Legal Triangle: http://bit.ly/LegalTriangle • Profiling Pitfalls: http://bit.ly/ProfilingPitfalls
  • Q&A
  • Contact Further questions are welcome: Fair Housing: Nadeen.Green@forrent.com Social Media: socialmedia@forrent.com
  • Photo Credits • http://www.pva.org/atf/cf/%7BCA2A0FFB-6859-4BC1-BC96- 6B57F57F0391%7D/wheelchair%20and%20family.jpg • http://stsworkshop.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/please-stereotype-me.jpg • http://justincaseyouwerewondering.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/social- media-policy.gif • http://www.wotomoro.com/PUBLICLIB2/Modern%20Simple/slides/check%2 0mark.jpg • http://images.sodahead.com/polls/001513441/4149498037_070945_glossy _black_icon_alphanumeric_x_mark_answer_2_xlarge.png • http://www.kandd.com/images/selectable/FamilyPool2.jpg • http://www.clker.com/cliparts/3/0/a/7/1195442460930966331Wice_Handicap _sign.svg.hi.png • http://www.harrycutting.com/graphics/photos/children/minority-and- caucasian-children-playground-FC5170-14LG.jpg