Managing the Risks of Facebook® Live

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With 2.5 billion monthly active users, Facebook offers a wealth of opportunity for your real estate business. More than 1.6 billion Facebook users log on daily and those statistics are increasing year-over-year. Videos on Facebook can be an especially effective marketing tool in your real estate business. 

More than 85% of businesses on Facebook used videos in 2019. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of video is predicted to increase even more. I you’re not currently using video, you’re potentially missing out on reaching prospective clients in this ever-changing real estate market. 

Video is a very effective way of promoting real estate — whether it’s a sneak peek of a new property, a virtual tour or just an update on the property market. But did you know that Facebook Live videos produce six times more interactions than traditional videos? Facebook Live videos generate 10 times more comments than regular videos. And users watch Facebook Live videos three times longer than regular video uploads.

There can be tremendous value in using Facebook Live to promote your business. But there are pros and cons to consider. The nature of ‘live’ video brings with it some risks you need to be aware of, so you can protect yourself and your business. 

What Could Go Wrong with a Live Video? 

Accidental Misrepresentation

Misrepresentation is one of the most common reasons real estate agents find themselves facing a lawsuit. The three main types of misrepresentation are fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation and innocent misrepresentation.

In real estate, misrepresentation occurs when clients are influenced to enter into a contract by a false or incorrect statement. Accidents can happen — especially if you’re feeling nervous about broadcasting live on Facebook. If you’re not a seasoned Facebook Live broadcaster and nerves get the better of you, there’s a chance you might accidentally say something that isn’t quite right or that your message may not be articulated as well as intended. 

If a potential buyer then enters into a contract to purchase a property, but the information is found to be incorrect — or worse, misleading, you could find yourself in hot water. 

Privacy Issues

When filming properties, the seller’s privacy is always of utmost importance. But, when filming live, things can sometimes go awry as you’re busy with filming, speaking and showing the property features. 

  • What happens if your Facebook Live broadcast accidentally identifies the property owner through showing their personal photographs on the wall or diplomas? 
  • Or what if your video shows the brand and/or location of their security system? 

When broadcasting live, real estate professionals need to be extra careful to ensure the privacy of their clients is not at all compromised. 

Broadcasting Music You’re Not Licensed to Use

If you conduct a Facebook Live broadcast and there’s audio in the background, you could find yourself facing a lawsuit due to copyright infringement. On the bright side, you’re more likely to find that your video will be taken down by Facebook automatically. Why? Because if you’re not licensed to broadcast that background music from the radio or your streaming device, Facebook opens themselves up to liability. So they automatically shut down videos they believe could be in breach of copyright. These measures are in place to protect Facebook from future liability, but they’re a good safeguard for you too, if you inadvertently do a Facebook Live broadcast with your favorite music in the background. 

How Real Estate Professionals Can Minimize the Risk

So, how can you minimize the risk of doing Facebook Live broadcasts in your business? Here are some tips to help you:

  • If you’re new to broadcasting altogether, start small with traditional video broadcasts to help you gain confidence
  • Prepare a brief outline for your video (whether it’s pre-recorded or Facebook Live). tThat doesn’t mean writing down everything you plan to say, but write down the main points so you can memorize your key messages and communicate them well during your video. Think about who you want to reach and what you want to achieve withof your video. 
  • Ensure all information provided in the video is factual and correct, and run through your talk a few times before going Live!
  • Encourage interaction with your audience — ask them to leave a comment or ask them a question
  • If broadcasting live from a property, ensure you don’t identify the owner in any way through footage of their belongings (for example, diplomas or certificates, photographs etc). Also, avoid any detailed footage of any personal possessions. 
  • Avoid any shots that can identify where alarm systems, safes or surveillance systems are located, as well as any other sensitive information (for example, documents in the office or personal details.) 
  • When you’ve finished your Facebook Live broadcast, watch it the whole way through and double-check that everything is factual and correct. If it’s not, delete it swiftly before it generates engagement. This can also be a valuable exercise of self-critiquing — look at how you communicate, how you can improve your performance and whether all of your key messages were covered. 
  • Recognize the limitations of Facebook Live. It’s an engaging way to communicate with your audience, but if you’re looking for a polished and premium finish, pre-recorded videos have the edge. 
  • Don’t be afraid to try — everyone has to start somewhere! With practice, you’ll become more confident and effective as a Facebook Live broadcaster. When you get the hang of it, it’s easy to do, and it’s sure to become an important part of your marketing toolbox.
  • Realize it’s not a quick win. Use Facebook Live along with your other marketing and promotional activities to increase engagement. And continuously assess what’s working well for your business. 

Protecting Yourself and Your Real Estate Business

When running a real estate business, it’s important to protect yourself against potential lawsuits. Errors and omissions insurance is designed specifically for real estate professionals. With CRES Real Estate E&O + ClaimPrevent®, you’ll also get access to a pre-claim legal advisory service 7 days a week. Contact CRES at 800-880-2747 for a confidential discussion today to find out how you can have a solution tailored especially for you.

This blog/website is made available by CRES Insurance Services for educational purposes to give you general information and understanding of legal risks and insurance options, not to provide specific legal advice. This blog/website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. Claims examples are for illustrative purposes only. Read your policy for a complete description of what is covered and excluded.

Originally Published May 13, 2020

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