Does Your Social Presence Put You at Legal Risk?

A strong social presence is important to today’s consumers – plus, it’s a great way to keep your name and face in front of your clients. If you’re using social, it’s crucial to make sure you’re complying with all applicable regulations and avoiding legal risk.

When it comes to those rules and regulations, social media profiles and pages fall under the same category as advertising. One great way to apply these rules on Facebook is by using your cover image, and the About and Our Story sections. On Twitter and Instagram, this information can be included in your bio.

Here are the basic advertising requirements as they apply to social media. Please note that your jurisdiction and local Realtor association may have additional requirements.

For All Long & Foster Markets: Your legal name as found on your license(s) and the full company name, Long & Foster Real Estate, must be prominently displayed on your social media profile or page. Nicknames or DBAs may be allowed based on your jurisdiction’s individual requirements.

For Delaware Agents: Social accounts must also include your office phone number.

For Washington, DC, Agents: Social accounts must also include your main office phone number. DC allows nicknames.

For Maryland Agents: Social accounts must also include your main office phone number in a conspicuous place. Maryland allows registered nicknames.

Pages for real estate teams cannot contain words that would lead the public to believe the team is an independent real estate company. Team names cannot include “real estate,” “realty” or “associates.” The state requires the team name to be tied to the company name using the words “of” or “with.” For example, The Tim Smith Team of Long & Foster Real Estate. Additionally, if the team name does not have an agent’s name in it, such as the Diamond Team, at least one team member’s name must appear along with the team name.

For New Jersey Agents: Social accounts must have both the company name and office number in larger font. If the name of the agent is used, it must be the agent’s legal name and they must specify if they are a salesperson or associate broker.

For North Carolina Agents: Brokers may not advertise or operate in any manner using a name different from the one under which they’re licensed. Brokers also may not advertise or operate in any way that could mislead a consumer as to the broker’s actual identity or the identity of the firm with which the broker is affiliated.

For Pennsylvania Agents: Social accounts must include the broker’s name and office phone number. All numbers and names must be in fonts of equal size. Team names cannot contain the words “real estate” or “realty.” Teams must list their team members in all advertisements, and their names should be the one that is on their commission-issued license. Nicknames must be registered on the agent’s license.

For Virginia Agents: Social accounts must disclose the company name, licensee name, affiliated firm name, and city and state of business. This disclosure must be provided on the main page of the website or no more than one click away from the main page of the website.

The Virginia Realtors association discourages teams from causing confusion to the public by making the team name far more prevalent than the affiliated brokerage name. Long & Foster encourages teams to avoid using the words: realty, real estate, land, associates, partners, company, limited, consultants, sales and properties. Use of the words “teams” or “group” is preferred.

The key question is: Does the ad leave the impression that the team is a brokerage firm acting independently? If it does, the Virginia Real Estate Board will likely punish the offenders.

For West Virginia Agents: Social accounts must also include the office address.

Below are examples of agent and team pages that include the requirements listed for all jurisdictions above.


For more information about laws and regulations related to social media and advertising, visit the Brand and Advertising Guidelines section of the Cafe, the Principal Broker’s Corner section of the Cafe, and refer to the Sales Associate Policy Manual.

Additional information can be found by visiting or contacting the licensing commission of the state in which you are located: DE: Delaware Real Estate Commission, DC: DC Real Estate Commission, DC Real Estate – Candidate Handbook, MD: Maryland Real Estate Commission, NJ: New Jersey Real Estate Commission, NC: North Carolina Real Estate Commission, PA: Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission, VA: Virginia Real Estate Commission (DPOR), WV: West Virginia Real Estate Commission.


Example of an Individual Agent Facebook Page

Example of a Team Facebook Page