Social Media Incentives are Still Incentives
| February 07, 2017
Tempting, isn’t it? In the same way that you offering a potential prize for ‘Liking’ your social media posts might be tempting for consumers. As incentives, professionals intent to tempt you with these offers. However, as an incentive, they must follow the advertising rules set out in the legislation and the RECA Advertising Guidelines.
An incentive is anything advertised, communicated, or offered to the public to attract business. This is different from an inducement, which is an offer to a party in a particular transaction to persuade them to close a deal.
The Golden Rule of Incentives
The most important rule of incentives is that they are supposed to attract business to the brokerage not to an individual industry member, and the brokerage must make the offer available to every client or potential client. They cannot attract business to an individual industry professional.
Social media ‘Liking,’ ‘Sharing,’ and other online contests, are no different.
Questions the real estate professional above should ask before advertising this incentive:
- did the broker approve this incentive?
- does the brokerage advertise the incentive?
- is the incentive available to all clients?
- is the incentive available through all industry professionals of the brokerage?
- can industry professionals opt out from participating?
- does the brokerage have an incentive-marketing plan?
- what are the rules and conditions to qualify for an incentive?
- who purchases, lends or gives the incentive?
- who deals with incentive problems?
- who pays for the incentive?
In the above ad, as long as the brokerage is offering the tickets as a brokerage incentive and the contest is available to all brokerage clients, it probably meets the standards and guidelines set by RECA.
- get approval from your broker
- follow your brokerage’s written policies and procedures regarding incentives.
- brokers are responsible for ensuring compliance: Brokerages must communicate all policies and procedures to the industry professionals and applicable brokerage staff. The broker should have a system in place to ensure compliance with the incentive policies and procedures. The policies and procedures should require a clear description of the incentive program including details, advertising, terms, conditions and exclusions.
Industry professionals are some of the most savvy users of social media out there. It’s a great way to market yourself and expand your client-base. But advertising is advertising, and must follow the Rules.
P.S. Remember to like and share this article to win the positive feelings you gain from spreading knowledge.