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Every day REALTORS® across the nation put themselves in positions where they can be victims of dangerous crimes. The National Association of REALTORS® has designated the month of September as REALTOR® Safety Month. below are tips for our members and consumers on how to stay safe with social media.

Whether on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media sites, because of the nature of your work, you are likely to have “friends,” followers, and connections whom you don’t really know that well. Following these basic steps can help avoid exposing yourself or your data to risk through social media tools. It is vital to consider what you are sharing through the Internet.

Keep Business Separate
One way that you can make sure you are not revealing too much personal information is simple: set up a business account on each platform. Sure, anyone can figure out that Sally Field, REALTOR®, is the same person as Sally Field—but Sally will only accept requests to connect to strangers on the business account, whether Facebook or Twitter. Her personal account stays private (especially once she familiarizes herself with privacy settings), protecting her family photos, links to her kids’ pages, and personal posts from people she doesn’t know.

Tag! You’re It!
When a friend posts your photo, you may be “tagged” against your will. If you don’t want clients or others to find a reference like this—such as a less-than-flattering photo taken at a late night party—you can remove the tag and/or ask the person who posted it to do so. And be sure to follow up and ask friends to check first before tagging!

Don’t Give Away Passwords
Consider this: One way that hackers manage to crack personal passwords is by searching Facebook for easy answers. They know they may find answers to common security questions such as “What high school did you attend?” and “What are the names of your children?” So keep information about family members, household details, and past events to a minimum in order to help prevent this.

Guard Against Identity Theft
These days, anyone can find all kinds of personal information about anyone else. That doesn’t mean you have to make it easy! For example, if you who want to post your birthday, don’t include the year. (And delete any public comments that indicate your exact age.)

Tweets Are Forever
Social media usage has an impact on your safety, as well as your reputation. Carefully consider each item you share, and be aware that old posts, even if they’ve been deleted, may be copied or saved—and the Library of Congress is actually recording every single Tweet.

Safeguard Client Data
Cyber security goes much deeper than safe use of social media: As a real estate professional, you routinely keep sensitive, personal information about clients on your computer. If this information falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to fraud, identity theft, or similar harms. To avoid potential legal and liability costs of a security breach, develop a data security program based on the Federal Trade Commission’s five key principles to a sound data security program. Details can be found at

To learn about more safety strategies, and access free safety resources, including safety expert Andrew Wooten’s webinar “Social Media and Cyber Safety,” visit

(Sources: Andrew Wooten’s REALTOR® Safety webinar “Social Media and Cyber Safety”;


The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® is holding a Tech Trilogy for members this year. The first of the Tech Trilogy series hosted by the Los Altos/Mountain View, Menlo Park/Atherton and Palo Alto districts took place last Friday in Los Altos. Entitled “Social Media and Your Marketing,” Mary Pope-Handy of Sereno Group and Tim Hmelar of WebLunchBox and Intero-Mexico shared information with members on the importance of social media marketing. The pair walked members through the process, sharing tips on blogging, on cross linking sites and blogs, and on how to get on page 1 of Google.

Both Handy and Hmelar indicated Facebook is one social media tool that is a “powerhouse. “ It’s also important to use Twitter, LinkedIn, ActiveRain. Yelp can also be a good tool for business, they said.

Real estate purchasers are surfers, they said. In fact, 96 percent of first-time buyers start their home search online, so it’s important to be found on the Internet. If you have a website, you need to know HTML so you can make changes to your site. If you’re not blogging, you should. YouTube and using videos are also musts for REALTORS®.  Findings of a survey reveal 45 percent of respondents walked through a home they visited online; 29 percent located an agent via an Internet home search; and 75 percent of home owners say they’re more likely to list with a REALTOR® who makes videos.

Blogging can differentiate you and your knowledge from that of other agents. Companies that blog receive 97 percent more inbound links. These companies also report 55 percent more website visitors.

It’s important to get on page 1 of Google since a survey shows 68 percent of people do not go past the first page when they search for something. Use the right key words on your site and blogs and cross link them, they said. Pope-Handy showed members how, by using certain key words on her blogs and sites, her entries have appeared on page 1 as the first four top results, and of the 10 search results on the page, six were hers.

“Think of social media as a marketing plan. You need to have a crystal idea of what you want to accomplish,” said Pope-Handy.

The second of the three-part tech series is titled, “So What Can I Do with Instanet?” and slated for Tuesday, July 26 at the 8 am at the Left Bank in Menlo Park. The third part of the series is scheduled for Friday, August 5 in Palo Alto.

This year’s Tech Trilogy for SILVAR members is sponsored by Bank of America.

March 2023


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