Headquartered across the street from the Texas Capitol and just around the corner from the Governor’s Mansion, the Texas Association of REALTORS® has never been shy about political advocacy. In recent years, it has also eagerly harnessed the power of social media to communicate with its 114,000 members. Combining its political prowess and social media savvy, in mid-December TAR upped its advocacy game by offering a preview of the state’s upcoming legislative session on Facebook Live.
The half-hour preview and Q&A event was hosted by TAR’s Director of Legislative Affairs Daniel Gonzalez, whose depth of knowledge and engaging demeanor make him a natural spokesperson. Opening with a brief overview of his department’s work at TAR, he reminded members that the association’s legislative agenda is not driven by staff, but by REALTOR® volunteers from across the state who serve on TAR’s Public Policy Committee. Assuring viewers that TAR will read every single word of the six-to-seven thousand bills filed during the course of the session, he noted that it would be tracking roughly one third of them, including many that aren’t about real estate or private property rights, but which have a big-picture, long-term bearing on the industry.
In addition to letting viewers know what their legislators will be tackling in the session that began in January, Gonzalez took the opportunity to direct their attention to the latest issue of Texas REALTOR® magazine, and to hiddenpropertytax.com, an educational site that TAR has launched to clarify a complex legislative issue now in play in Texas. He also urged members to participate in the annual REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol this spring. With ten minutes to go, he fielded questions from the live audience on topics ranging from title insurance rates to homeowner associations.
Brandon Alderete, TAR’s Director of Political Affairs, points out that the association is right at home with webcast technology. “We’ve been delivering CE course content to our 77 local associations via online video for several years now,” he notes. “The live feed is the exciting innovation here, allowing us to interact directly with so many members who are already right there, following us on Facebook.” Nearly 1,500 viewers tuned in to the live and recorded sessions over the first 24 hours, and the post was also shared by dozens of individual Texas REALTORS® and local associations. TAR had promoted the event with organic and paid social media, through email newsletters and via text message through the REALTOR® Party Mobile Alert system just before the webcast began, generating more than 500 click-throughs.
“Whatever we can do to enhance communication with members, we’ll pursue it,” says Gonzalez. “Facebook Live is a fairly new phenomenon, but we thought it would be worth a shot,” he adds, noting that based on the enthusiastic feedback, his department will continue to share legislative issues with the membership via live webcasts. “Our members really responded, and seem to want more. That’s the way we like ’em: engaged and asking questions!”
To see firsthand how the Texas Association of REALTORS® is keeping its members connected to legislative issues affecting their industry and their communities, see https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155514734234298&id=89617004297. To learn more, contact Brandon C. Alderete, Director of Political Affairs, at 512-370-2124.