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Navigating the Social Media Minefield: Who Owns Your Social Media Channels

In an ever-evolving landscape within the real estate industry, the intricate web of social media ownership has emerged as a significant focal point, presenting challenges and potential pitfalls for both individual agents and businesses alike.

As the distinction between personal and professional spheres blurs, the need to address crucial questions surrounding control, rights, and responsibilities concerning social media pages becomes increasingly paramount.

According to social media expert, Nic Fren, this is a matter thats really needs to be addressed, and early. "I'm seeing more and more issues arise lately with agents who bild their brands on social media," he says. "Think about it, if an agent leaves and has 5000 followers, that's essentially a database, but who owns it? It's also crucial for businesses who are consdiering selling to keep this in mind also."

Let's look at some things to consider:

Critical Concerns Taking Center Stage:

Ownership Dynamics:

  • Social media page ownership, a fundamental query arises: who is the rightful owner—the agent or the business?

  • Considering agents utilise company resources to bolster their brand during work hours, do businesses inherently possess rights to these digital platforms?

  • A pivotal consideration unfolds when staff members transition out of a real estate organisation. What protocol dictates the fate of their social media accounts post-departure?

  • The prospect of a buyout fee surfaces, prompting reflection on equitable compensation for the transfer of ownership or control.

  • Do real estate businesses maintain legitimate claims over the followers associated with an agent's social media pages? Understanding that these followers potentially represent future clients adds a layer of complexity.

  • Quantifying the tangible value of a social media page becomes crucial, especially when the follower base consists predominantly of homeowners with sustained interest.

  • Shifting focus to contractual frameworks, the question arises: should negotiations pertaining to social media ownership be explicitly stipulated in employment agreements?

  • Identifying the terms and conditions governing social media use during and after the course of employment adds an additional layer of complexity.

  • The intricate dance of social media ownership gains prominence during business transactions within the real estate sector. How are social media accounts seamlessly transitioned when a business is sold?

  • Managing the transfer of social media assets becomes a critical consideration in ensuring continuity and effective brand representation.

Advocating for Comprehensive Social Media Policies:

Recognising the imperative need for clarity, industry experts underscore the value of implementing a comprehensive social media policy tailored specifically for the real estate sector. This policy serves as a strategic tool to proactively manage and mitigate risks associated with social media usage, fostering a culture of accountability and responsibility within the industry.

Debunking Common Myths:

  1. Policy Redundancy: Contrary to the assumption that existing policies cover social media usage adequately, a dedicated social media policy offers precise guidelines uniquely tailored to the challenges posed by online platforms.

  2. Encouraging Responsible Engagement: Dispelling the myth that formal policies discourage social media usage, a well-crafted policy instills confidence in employees, empowering them to navigate online platforms effectively and responsibly.

  3. Clarifying Ambiguity: Even the most trustworthy teams benefit from clear policies that eliminate ambiguity, ensuring a unified understanding of appropriate online behaviors.

  4. Future-Proofing: In light of the ever-expanding influence of social media, a proactive approach is essential, regardless of a company's current online presence, preparing the industry for future challenges.

  5. Collective Responsibility: Acknowledging the role of marketing teams, a social media policy ensures that all staff contribute positively to brand growth, fostering a collective and responsible online presence.

The real estate industry stands at a pivotal juncture where the adoption of robust social media policies becomes not only advisable but crucial for sustained success. As social media continues to be a linchpin for marketing and engagement, navigating its complexities through clear guidelines ensures a resilient and forward-thinking industry.


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