Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty
Social Media Guidelines
By Roger Ewing, thanks Intel
These are the official guidelines for social media at Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty. If you’re an Ewing SIR employee or independent contractor creating or contributing to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of social media both on and off EwingSIR.com—these guidelines are for you. We expect all who participate in social media on behalf of Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty to be trained, to understand and to follow these guidelines. Failure to do so could put your future participation at risk. These guidelines will continually evolve as new technologies and social networking tools emerge—so check back once in awhile to make sure you’re up to date.
When You Engage
Emerging platforms for online collaboration are fundamentally changing the way we work, offering new ways to engage with customers, colleagues, and the world at large. It’s a new model for interaction and we believe social computing can help you to build stronger, more successful business relationships. And it’s a way for you to take part in global conversations related to the work we are doing at Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty and the things we care about.
If you participate in social media, please follow these guiding principles:
* Stick to your area of expertise and provide unique, individual perspectives on what’s going on at Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty and in the world.
* Post meaningful, respectful comments—in other words, no spam and no remarks that are off-topic or offensive.
* Always pause and think before posting. That said, reply to comments in a timely manner, when a response is appropriate.
* Respect proprietary information and content, and confidentiality.
* When disagreeing with others’ opinions, keep it appropriate and polite.
Rules of Engagement
Be transparent. Your honesty—or dishonesty—will be quickly noticed in the social media environment. If you are blogging about your work at Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty, use your real name, identify that you work for Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty, and be clear about your role. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, be the first to point it out.
Be judicious. Make sure your efforts to be transparent don’t violate Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty’s privacy, confidentiality, and legal guidelines for external commercial speech. Ask permission to publish or report on conversations that are meant to be private or internal to Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty. All statements must be true and not misleading and all claims must be substantiated and approved. Please never comment on anything related to legal matters, litigation, or any parties we are in litigation with without the appropriate approval. If you want to write about the competition, make sure you know what you are talking about and that you have the appropriate permission. Also be smart about protecting yourself, your privacy, and Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty Confidential information. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully.
Write what you know. Make sure you write and post about your areas of expertise, especially as related to Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty. And write in the first person. If you publish to a website outside Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty, please use a disclaimer something like this: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty’s positions, strategies, or opinions.” Also, please respect brand, trademark, copyright, fair use, trade secrets (including our processes and methodologies), confidentiality, and financial disclosure laws. If you have any questions about these, see your branch manager or Ernie Wish. Remember, you may be personally responsible for your content.
Perception is reality. In online social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. Just by identifying yourself as an Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty employee or contractor, you are creating perceptions about your expertise and about Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty by our clients, and the general public-and perceptions about you by your colleagues and managers. Do us all proud. Be sure that all content associated with you is consistent with your work and with Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty’s values and professional standards.
It’s a conversation. Talk to your readers like you would talk to real people in professional situations. In other words, avoid overly pedantic or “composed” language. Don’t be afraid to bring in your own personality and say what’s on your mind. Consider content that’s open-ended and invites response. Encourage comments. You can also broaden the conversation by citing others who are blogging about the same topic and allowing your content to be shared or syndicated.
Are you adding value? There are millions of words out there. The best way to get yours read is to write things that people will value. Social communication from Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty should help our customers, partners, and co-workers. It should be thought provoking and build a sense of community. If it helps people improve knowledge or skills, build their businesses, do their jobs, solve problems, or understand Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty better—then it’s adding value.
Your Responsibility: What you write is ultimately your responsibility. Participation in social computing on behalf of Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty is not a right but an opportunity, so please treat it seriously and with respect. If you want to participate on behalf of Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty community blogs, you must take our one hour Social Media Workshop. Please also follow the terms and conditions for any third-party sites.
Create some excitement. As a business and as a corporate citizen, Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty is making important contributions to our client’s lives. Our business activities are increasingly focused on developing long lasting client relationships. Let’s share with the world the exciting things we’re learning and doing—and open up the channels to learn from others.
Be a Leader. There can be a fine line between healthy debate and incendiary reaction. Do not denigrate our competitors or Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty. Nor do you need to respond to every criticism or barb. Try to frame what you write to invite differing points of view without inflaming others. Some topics—like politics or religion—slide more easily into sensitive territory. So be careful and considerate. Once the words are out there, you can’t really get them back. And once an inflammatory discussion gets going, it’s hard to stop.
If you make a mistake, admit it. Be upfront and be quick with your correction. If you’re posting to a blog, you may choose to modify an earlier post—just make it clear that you have done so.
If it gives you pause, pause. If you’re about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, don’t shrug it off and hit ‘send.’ Take a minute to review these guidelines and try to figure out what’s bothering you, and then fix it. If you’re still unsure, you might want to discuss it with your manager. Ultimately, what you publish is yours—as is the responsibility. So be sure.
Moderation: The act of reviewing and approving content before it’s published on a site. Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty does not endorse or take responsibility for content posted by third parties. We moderate content we publish. This means we allow our blog authors to post indirectly with approval. Management reserves the right to modify or eliminate a proposed blog on our sponsored sites, for any reason.
Anonymous Content: Anonymous content is defined as content submitted as a comment, reply, or post to an Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty site where the user has not registered and is not logged in to the site. For anonymous content, we require moderation on all submissions. Authors of the originating content and space moderators are required to review the content for approval or deletion before the content can be published.
Registered Content: Registered content is content submitted as a comment, reply, or post to an Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty site where the user has registered and is logged in to the site. We require moderation of registered content before the content is published to the site.
Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty strives for a balanced online dialogue. When we do moderate content, we moderate using three guiding principles.
The Good, the Bad, but not the Ugly. If the content is positive or negative and in context to the conversation, then we approve the content, regardless of whether it’s favorable or unfavorable to Ewing & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty. However if the content is ugly, offensive, denigrating and completely out of context, then we reject the content.
Last updated: May 2009
Community Blogging Guidelines
Blogging is a form of community farming. As in all marketing initiatives, consistency is critical to successfully impacting your market area. Posting blogs on a firm schedule requires that you be committed to the process. Below is a summary of what is required of you to participate in our company sponsored Community Blog program. Participation requires a minimum 6-month commitment on your part.
1. Attend a one-hour class, Basics of Community Blogging in your office.
2. Create a personal gravatar for your blogging indentity.
3. Commit to providing a basic blog for your specific community of interest once each week.
4. Attend at least one Community Blog meeting per month.
5. Include the URL for your particular Community Blog in all marketing pieces you distribute. This includes flyers, brochures, direct mail pieces, and digital email ads.
6. Distribute a minimum of 100 Offerings magazines to your specific community each time the magazine is published.
1. Blogs should be brief. Lengthy reads are daunting and will not be read by a large number of individuals. One, two, or perhaps three paragraphs is usually an optimum length. If you have a lot of material, then consider including a link where interested readers can find more information.
2. Blogs, depending upon content, may be required to contain the company disclaimer at the end of the blog text text.
EwingSIR does not guarantee information contained in this blog, readers are encouraged not to rely solely on this information and to do their own independent research of facts contained herein. Blog information was obtained from independent sources that we do not endorse, and we do not investigate this information for accuracy.
3. All blogs will be monitored prior to publication.
4. Content should be current, compelling, local in nature, and interesting. There are no specific guidelines for content, but management reserves the right to edit any blog content.
5. Community blogs are not designed to be marketing venues. If content is blatantly self-promoting, hard sale, or too real estate oriented, it may not be approved. Refer to the company Social Media Guidelines for direction.
6. An acceptable blog will include the following components.
A. Title, capitalize the first letter of each word. No more than 70 characters.
B. Brief byline summary, in sentence form, bold, above agent “by” name.
C. “By your name”
D. Your gravatar, including photo.
E. Share Button, html added by staff.
F. Photo or video link, if available, located to the right of your text.
G. Text copy, in sentence form with paragraphs. Do not submit in all caps.
H. Links, active format. Inserted by staff.
7. Photos, links, videos are important to include in your blog whenever possible. These kinds of media will make your blog more readable and compelling.
8. All photos must be thumbnail size, no larger.
9. Maximum of 160 characters in the SEO pac.
Question and Answer
Q: What constitutes a blog?
A: The written word makes an acceptalbe blog. That means your written word. Do not copy and paste content. If you have content from others to share, you should write about it and then post a link where readers can see a copy of a document or article.
Q: Can I post brochures?
A: Generally, no. A brochure is difficult to read in blog format and does not express your thinking about the subject.
Q: Can I post the same blog in more than one community?
A: Yes, however you may not post the identical blog in more than 4 communites and the communities must be in your office’s general marketing area.
Q: What is my market area?
A: For Sherman Oaks and Calabasas the general dividing line between communities is the 405 Freeway. For Agoura it would be the Conejo Valley.
Q: Is there any limitation in content?
A: No, you may blog just about any subject. However, your blogs must follow the EwingSIR Social Media Policy. The best blogs contain content that is relevant to the specific community where the blog will be posted.
Q: What real estate related blogs are appropriate?
A: We want to occasionally “pepper” the Community Blogs with real estate. This means the real estate blog must be newsworthy. Examples would include a new listing on the market for the first time, the first open house of a new listing, a recent sale in the community, pointing out unique architecture, celebrity home activity, etc.
Q: Who actually posts the blogs in the site?
A: Either Roger or Jeff will be responsible for posting all blogs. They will also monitor all posts and comments prior to publication.
September 15, 2009