New Facebook Anti-Discrimination Rules

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A few months ago, Facebook was hit with a lawsuit by the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that claimed Facebook was engaging in housing discrimination. According to the suit, HUD accused Facebook of allowing landlords, home sellers and agents to set parameters on ads that limited which prospective buyers could view it based on race, religion, sex and disability, to name a few.

Some of these allowances included blocking ads to users based on their interests in certain topics such as “child care” or “mobility scooters.” Others gave the advertiser the ability to block ads by specific zip code.

In response to this accusation, Facebook has changed their rules for ads related to real estate. Now, advertisers can no longer set these kinds of parameters and discriminate against any person based on race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, disability, medical or genetic condition.

 

What does this mean for you?

As a Homesale Realty agent, these new rules just mean that the more general your audience, the better. When setting the target audience for your ads, choose both men and women and select as wide of a geographical range as possible. Counties tend to work very well for the geographical parameter.

If, for some reason, Facebook thinks you have set a parameter that violates these new rules, they will flag your ad and send you a notification that it has been denied. From here, you can adjust the parameters and resubmit or send the ad for a manual review if you believe it has been flagged in error.

 

For more information about these new rules, check out Facebook’s advertising policies here.

 

Protect Yourself Against Wire Transfer Scams

The real estate industry is a huge target for wire transfer scams. It’s up to you to protect yourself and your clients, but how? What are wire transfer scams? How do you know if you are a victim? What should you do if it happens to you? Read below to find out more…

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A Little Info About These Scams

These scams normally come from groups operating out of Ghana, Nigeria and other African nations. Individuals in these groups try to connect with potential victims through email and even on social dating sites in order to foster a relationship. The groups, as a whole, send out millions of emails constantly, waiting for someone to click on it. They are smart, creating believable stories about why they need bank account information and convincing the victim in the relationship that by divulging this information and partaking in this deal, they will be helping them out greatly.

 

How to Recognize One

Some scam attempts are obvious, but others can be unsuspecting. If you have an online friend who has started nonchalantly asking personal questions about your financial status, it might be a scam. If you received an email from an address you don’t recognize, it might be a scam, but if you’re not sure, read the content of the emails. Many scam emails will have funky wording, some phrases won’t make sense or words will be misspelled.

Other scam emails can contain content about you needing to make a payment for a medical account or they want you to review your recent payment. If you haven’t made any payments recently or the email address isn’t the same as your health account portal, delete it and don’t click on any prompted links. Lastly, never download any file from an unknown address.

 

How to Protect Yourself Against Them

  • Block IP addresses from nations listed above
  • Avoid using web-based email accounts (they are easier to hack)
  • Be careful what you put on social media (job functions, salary, hierarchical information, etc.)
  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know
  • Don’t disclose personal information to people you don’t know
  • Be wary of any requests for secrecy or pressure to act quickly

 

What to Do If You Suspect Something

  • Immediately call your bank and talk to the person who has authority to recall a wire transfer
  • Tell your bank that you want them to fully cooperate with the police
    • You have to state this as the bank cannot help the FBI without your consent
  • Report the incident to the FBI at ic3.gov
    • Provide as many details as you can about the beneficiary; account number, contact information, names, etc.
  • Contact the closest FBI field office
    • For an international wire transfer, they can try to create a Financial Kill Chain

 

 

Reference: https://www.wavgroup.com/2018/10/08/how-the-fbi-foiled-a-wire-transfer-scam/

There’s An App For That

With appointments, meetings, phone calls and personal life, how are you possibly supposed to keep track of it all? Well there may not be one singular app to organize every aspect of your life, but here are a few that can work in harmony to make sure things don’t start falling through the cracks.

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Evernote

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This comprehensive note-taking app allows you to attach articles, documents, audio or video files to notes that you took during a meeting or phone call. You can choose from the basic, premium or business version to fit your exact needs. With this app you can create notes, checklists or even put a notebook together for multiple notes, making sure everything you need is in one place.

 

 

Google Calendar

If you don’t have a Google account, it might be worth creating one just to reap the benefits of the Google calendar. The calendar can be shared with whomever you choose so everyone who has access can see the schedule for the rest of the group. This can help with avoiding scheduling conflicts and setting up meeting times. You can alter the reminder notification for each event to hours, days or even weeks before the event based on your preference.

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IFTTT

With your busy schedule, there might be tasks that you postpone frequently or even forget about. With IFTT, derived from the phrase “If this, then that…,” you can set rules for your media to do things for you. See the example graphic below. You can set a rule to get the weather report every morning at 7 a.m. so you can decide what to wear or you can have Twitter send out every Instagram post as an organic tweet to make social media engagement a breeze. There are thousands of programs you can incorporate in this app to make your life more hands off and less time consuming.

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September Market & Tech Stat

September’s Marketing & Tech Stat focuses on the time-saving benefit of texting. This would be good information to share with both buyers and sellers who are interested in current real estate communication trends. Share, email, or mail this to your sphere and remind them that you are here for any questions they may have.

Click the links below to access the corresponding items:

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PDF Version: If you have issues viewing the flyer, save it to your computer first. This can be printed and then mailed with your business card.

JPG Version: You could use this graphic by saving it to your phone and uploading directly to Instagram and other social media sites.

Click here to easily share this as a blog article on your social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). You’ll be redirected to AskHomesale.com where you can simply scroll to the bottom of the article and select the social network you want to share it to.

You can also access the ecard template on the Market REsource by selecting ecards and searching for “Market & Tech – September 2018”.

Text Me!

As a REALTOR® you need to be accessible to your current and potential client base. A great way to do that is to provide your clients with permission to text you. Texting can be equally as professional and less time consuming than phone calls, especially if the client only has a quick question.

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The majority of Americans prefer texting over talking. In fact, texting has become the primary way Americans under the age of 50 communicate and 78 percent of people actually wish they could have text conversations with businesses. It can even help to increase good perceptions about you and your business. According to a report, 77 percent of consumers ages 18-34 and 64 percent of all consumers are more likely to have a positive impression of a company that offers texting. Plus, the response rate of a text message is over 200 percent greater than that of a phone call, Facebook ad or email.

 

As a society, we are always looking for ways to make our daily tasks more convenient and texting has been a huge help in accomplishing this goal. Being able to communicate directly with a business without going through operators and being put on hold is more appealing and convenient for consumers. They no longer have to carve a block of time out of their day to plan a phone call with a business. They can simply send a text when it’s convenient for them and have an ongoing conversation without disrupting their work.

 

Texting is also seen as a more personal form of communication than phone calls. Consumers feel more important knowing they are communicating directly with their intended party instead of having to fight through channels and being assigned a number in a line of awaiting callers. They want to feel as though they are getting personalized, individual attention and texting creates that virtual connection.

 

In a customer service focused career like real estate, you want to make sure you are doing everything you can to provide your clients with the best service possible. With the majority of consumers preferring texting over any other form of communication, implementing it could really elevate your business to the next level.

What’s in a Name?

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Sometimes one of the best parts of being active on social media is creating your online profile. You get to choose a great photo, come up with a catchy username and write an interesting bio about yourself. But, as a professional looking to engage with clients, there are a few things you should consider.

In a recent blog, we discussed the importance of using multiple social media outlets to market to your audience. In order to do that effectively, you need to keep your profile consistent and recognizable. Keep the same username, profile photo and bio for each platform. That way, clients will recognize you and be more likely to follow.

Username: Try to keep your username simple. It will be hard for clients to find you if they are searching for John Doe, but your username is ILovePizza72. It’s best to stick to basics and have your username be your first and last name. This includes refraining from using your middle name. It’s a popular trend to use your first and middle name for your profile, but your clients don’t know your middle name – they know your first and last. You can even go as far as adding a career designation to your profile. For example, instead of just @JohnDoe, you could make it @JohnDoe_REALTOR® or @JDoe_Homesale. Clients won’t want to spend a lot of time searching for you so the simpler you can make it for them to find you the better.

Photo: As a professional looking to engage with clients, the best photo you could use is an up-to-date photo of just you. It could be a professionally taken photo, a selfie or one that someone else took of you. As long as it is recent and clearly you, it doesn’t matter who took it. If you really want your profile photo to be you and your spouse or you and your kids, that’s fine. The bottom line is that you should be in the photo and clearly visible. You want to make sure that your clients can tell it’s your profile at a glance.

Bio: Online profile bios can be as short or as long as the character limit allows. The two most important things you should include in your bio is your occupation and your area of service. For example, the bio for John Doe could be something like this:

REALTOR® – Hanover, PA – Pizza Lover – Dad – Go EAGLES!

Final Tips: Make sure whenever you update one profile, you update them all. Another thing you can consider if you want more freedom to personalize your online profile, is to set up two different accounts; one personal and one professional. You can make your personal one any username, photo and bio you want while still keeping the professional one to interact with clients. The choice is yours!