By Todd Carpenter, Social Media Manager, National Association of REALTORS®
The National Association of REALTORS® believes in the value of making its mark remarkable. This mandate comes from REALTORS® who regularly report misuse.
Earlier this spring, we received several complaints about Jonathan Rivera’s use of the trademark in his custom URL (facebook.com/socialrealtor) for The Official Real Estate Referral Group. As is often the case Jonathan (a REALTOR® himself) simply didn’t realize this was a misuse and worked with NAR’s legal department to get the URL changed to something that didn’t violate the REALTOR® trademark.
Last week, Facebook responded to Rivera and NAR’s request for a URL change by deleting his 47,000+ member page. Fortunately, Facebook eventually reinstated the page with a new URL, but things could have easily gone the other way. It’s a great reminder that while social networks are free, the blood, sweat, and tears that go into building them up is not.
Here are three important lessons learned from all of this:
1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, especially if it’s a “free” network. Always be thinking of ways to drive traffic from your Facebook page or Twitter account to a self-hosted hub where you set the rules.
2. Use caution when using the REALTOR® trademark. Many URLs and social networking accounts have been permanently shut down after the mark was misused. NAR has provided everyone with a guide to its proper use. Make sure you’re in compliance.
3. Don’t underestimate the negative perception formed by other members when you misuse the mark. NAR’s legal team spends far more time responding to member complaints about the mark’s misuse than it does trying to find them on their own. If your goal is to network with other REALTORS®, make sure you aren’t creating a barrier to those connections by not using the mark correctly.