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Check It: Are Your Social Media Posts Fair Housing Compliant?

January 20, 2021


“80% of apartment seekers refer to social media before choosing their next rental property. ”

— Multi-Housing News, 2019

Social Media is a great marketing tool for the multifamily industry. It’s an opportunity to increase brand awareness, foster an online community while engaging current and future residents, giving your audience an insight into life at your property.

Indeed, Social Media Posts Are Considered Advertisements.

We strongly believe that not every social post should be a direct sales pitch, as it’s important to create and curate engaging content that will lift a brand's trust and authenticity with followers.

The Fair Housing Act states that it is illegal to, “publish or distribute ads that discriminate, limit, or deny equal housing opportunities to protected classes”, however, “advertising” doesn’t just apply to traditional advertising, such as print, paid ads, banners, signs, and commercials - social media posts are considered advertisements.

So, What Does This Mean for Property Management Companies?
That you’ll have to review every post, photo, hashtag, the works? Yes. Don’t you worry, here at Digible we’ve got the tips and tricks for ensuring your social media posts are Fair Housing compliant. Let’s get into the woodworks:

1. Fair Housing Training

  • Ensure that property management professionals - from marketers to on-site team members - receive and pass Fair Housing training. Here’s a great online training resource with engaging videos and no shortage of positive reinforcement from overzealous characters.

      2. Show Diversity in Images

  • Be conscious and consider all federal, state, and locally protected classes. For example, show males and females, people of different races, people with disabilities, a variety of ages, and families with and without children. Show diversity when using avatars, animated characters, and illustrations as well.

 3. Use Welcoming Language

  • Social media posts should not position your community as more or less suitable for someone based on membership in a protected class. Avoid racial or ethnic terms, references to religion, exclusions based on disability, and limitations based on familial status. Describe the community, not the people.

  4. Thorough Review of Content Before Publishing

  • Be sure to have another teammate review, whether onsite or within the marketing department. Here at Digible, our Social Content Specialists create authentic, humanizing content for apartment communities, which is reviewed by an Account Manager and then the client prior to social content going live.

  5. Display of Logo

  • Ensure to display the Equal Housing Opportunity slogan, logo, or statement on social media pages and websites. For example, logo placement on a Facebook banner image.

Some Exceptions
There are some Fair Housing exemptions for student and senior housing (federally 65+, local exceptions 55+) properties. However, continue to be mindful of language. For instance, “This would be perfect housing for Frat Bros!” or “Great housing option for Golden Agers!” is not permissible.

Read more about Senior Housing, HOPA, and a word list to ensure you are not in violation of Fair Housing. To be up to date on your state’s local Fair Housing laws, visit the National Apartment Association.

Fiona is at the Forefront of Fair Housing

Digible’s predictive platform, Fiona, which can help plan and execute a digital marketing campaign for multifamily marketers, now includes a Fair Housing monitoring tool for your online presence. In cooperation with Fair Housing experts and associations, Fiona employs artificial intelligence to identify direct violations and risks associated with your property on Organic Social (Facebook & Instagram), property websites, Google Adwords (Paid Search & Display), and Paid Social (Facebook & Instagram) advertising, targeting words that violate Fair Housing laws. Fiona also has a repository of all state fair housing laws and will soon have county and city-data.

Fiona knows if the violation has been viewed, edited, or if no action was taken to fix the violation. Unlike Baby Yoda who loves hide-and-seek, there’s no hiding from Fiona. Stay tuned for more updates on Fiona’s magical powers.

Remember, the last thing you want is to get busted by Fair Housing Mystery Shoppers. Tune in here for a behind the scenes interview with a Fair Housing Secret Shopper.

Questions? Need support with your social media strategy or want to learn more about Fair Housing for Social Media? Drop us a line.

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