Facebook Groups for real estate: love them or leave them?

This post is contributed by Andrea Geller of HOT PROPERTY® The Chaz Walters Group at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chicago.

Facebook groups for real estate should I stay or should I go

I remember when Facebook launched Facebook Groups. It was a great way to move specific conversations from Twitter or Facebook posts to a defined audience in one space.

For the most part, Facebook Groups for real estate provide great value to a like-minded community that wants to share as much knowledge as they can.

And the quality of groups seems to be attributable to the administrators who moderate them.

Facebook Groups for value and vivacious conversation

Two examples of effective groups targeted to the real estate community that I value in particular are Tech Support Group for Real Estate Agents and What Should I Spend My Money On?  These groups were started by Curaytor founders Jimmy Mackin and two-time best-selling author Chris Smith. The conversations are moderated to stay on course in accordance with the guidelines established for the groups. There is a high caliber of sharing and learning in each.

Another category of groups where I find great value are my brand’s groups. There is an official, closed group for Coldwell Banker associates around the world. It is the most effective way for the company to launch new initiatives, keep us all up-to-date and demonstrate how we all leverage the brand. It’s become the place to share successes and learn from each other. Then there are breakout groups that have sprung up to take discussions to the local level or address the specific parts of the company’s offerings, such as Coldwell Banker Tools & Systems started by Mike Bowler, Sr. of Coldwell Banker Hubbell BriarWood.

If memory serves me right, the first industry-related group I joined was Raise the Bar. It stemmed from an ongoing Twitter thread that used the hashtag #RTB.

The group’s original members were a few dozen agents engaged in a constructive conversation about the real estate industry. It has since grown to a crowd of over 18,000 members. Unfortunately, as happens, the conversation has changed into “about me” posts or members using the forum to lash out at their own businesses and the industry.

The rewards… and the risks of Facebook Groups

When you get sued and taken in front of the state licensing board or face a panel in a professional standards hearing, will saying, “Someone in a Facebook Group told me to!” work as a defense?

There are real concerns surrounding these industry groups, and they are coming to a head. The ones under the most scrutiny are those groups where agents ask for advice regarding high stakes issues. These are questions where taking the wrong advice can get them tied up in litigation, violating their state’s license law or the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics.

I wonder why real estate agents turn to these groups instead of going to their managing brokers. Because why would a real estate professional ask for advice regarding a transaction in a group of thousands of people? When you get sued and taken in front of the state licensing board or face a panel in a professional standards hearing, will saying, “Someone in a Facebook Group told me to!” work as a defense? As a result, some of these agents may be violating their fiduciary duty to their clients and creating a liability for the brokers under which their license hangs. Groups do not replace managing brokers and association legal hotlines.

Other concerns

Another concern to keep in mind when using some of these groups is the credibility of the moderators. What are their credentials? Are they truly representing themselves? Do they have the experience to validate their comments?

And like rest of the internet itself, Facebook Groups for real estate can become a place where agents go rogue.  They openly bash or cheerlead one side without tolerance for others or even patience for other points of view.

Facebook does offer so many options, for us as social creatures and for us as professionals. But be an informed consumer and be mindful of the online company you keep. Watch for quality not quantity. Stay positive and constructive. Filter through the noise to find content that helps you build your business. Not the content takes you down with it.

If you don’t find the love, leave and look elsewhere.

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