Recently, I was contacted by the National Association of REALTORS to take down my “TIps for REALTORS Using New Media” Facebook business page because I had violated their trademark usage. I created the business page in 2008, when social media was still in its relative infancy and I thought I was pretty small potatoes with my little business page, so I did not think about the mighty 900,000 member organization coming after me for a trademark violation. In fact, since I worked at numerous real estate associations and actually was using the site to promote many initiatives and events that NAR was creating, that somehow I was kind of an “Ambassador” for them.
Tell the lawyers that. Well, I did and this is what they said, “While we truly appreciate that you want to promote the good works NAR does and while you personally understand the difference between a REALTOR® and an agent, this domain name presents our membership mark generically and this simply harms our efforts to protect this trademark as well as being potentially confusing to members who may think this is something that was put out there; or endorsed by the Association.”
This is the basis of protecting a brand and I get it. Lesson to you, as well. Don’t do it. Avoid the use of any trademarked brand or image in your online presence and save yourself the headache, and time lost in moving content or deleting a blog. My friend, Sean Carpenter had this happen to him, too recently when he was told to shut down his site, “The REALTORS ToolBox”. He is now blogging at Carps Corner.
In the process of moving alot of my information quickly off of the page and mourning the loss of a site that I posted to almost daily and had accumulated 1670 fans, a few things popped up that I wanted to share:
Katie Lance, the Oprah of Real Estate Tech and the Power of Social Karma
Katie Lance, the Social Media Marketing Director of Inman News, gave me some advice about re-launching a new business page to continue my enthusiasm of sharing marketing advice to the real estate industry via Facebook. I ran the new name of the page, “Digital Real Estate Marketing Tips” by her via Twitter and got her thumbs up. Then I launched the page and got four fans. That was ok, since I had announced it at 9 am. Katie, meanwhile, asked her friends and 2000 subscribers on Facebook to like my new page. Then she posted on the Power Women’s Group on Facebook to like my page, as well and gave me quite an endorsement. By 7 pm, I had 200 new fans. Today, I have 250.
Beyond being extremely grateful, I was also amazed to see how the power of influence inspires action via social media. Just like Oprah, Katie has accumulated a very loyal group of fans that will move on her suggestion. (I know Ashton Kutcher has this power, as well, but we’re talking RE/Tech here). Being friends with a highly influential person is awesome, but that friendship was created out of months of following each other’s life on Facebook, connecting at conferences and helping Katie whenever I could to help promote her events. The whole “social media karma” effect works and this story proves it. I now have an even more engaged base of fans on my site and it sure makes posting content more fun when I know I have a few hundred eyeballs to see it. Thank you, Katie.
The second thing I realized is that I had a lot of really great content embedded in my “notes” section that I only shared on that site. Information that was not getting SEO and could not be shared via a link, etc. SO, thanks to good ol’ NAR, I am going to take that content and post some of it here and on my new business page and on a new client’s site, as well. That is the beauty of content, if it’s good, you can keep the nuggets and update it when you need to!
My next post will use the notes I took at the Real Estate Connect Conference in SF last year. Lots of great links, insights and ideas. And speaking of Real Estate Connect SF..today is the last day to get your discounted price for the August event! (Learn more by clicking that link)
The next few posts will be from “The Archive” stay tuned.