You may have heard something about Real Estate III, now BHG Real Estate III, and its new relationship with Better Homes & Gardens.
You can find a wealth of local news coverage about the arrangement, if Virginia real estate is of interest.
There has been a small social media spanking underway on CvilleNews. Several people pointed the situation out to me as a potential case study for this blog. I’ve written about this kind of digital communications misstep before and how to avoid it, in Five Ways to Avoid a Social Media Spanking. The story, in short, is that Denise Hood, marketing director of Real Estate III endeavored to correct some misinformation about the company’s new franchise/endeavor/relationship with BHG in a way that was, let’s say, not thought through all the way. Read the comments on this post for the full firestorm.
I am sending a virtual hug to Denise Hood. I’ll bet she hasn’t had a worse day at Real Estate III than this one. It’s tough being in communications and having to engage in social media without being given the proper support, training, caution or insight that many of us have gained through years of study and practice in the social media space.
But that’s that. And BHG Real Estate III needs to move on.
Five Steps BHG Real Estate III Should Take Right Now
1. Define and refine messaging around the new relationship so it is crystal clear to even the most casual reader.
2. Conduct message training, not only for the people responsible for BHG Real Estate III communications but for all its agents, employees and other stakeholders. It’s critical the whole organization understand and be able to talk comfortably about the company and how it has changed and will change.
3. Invest, immediately, in social media coaching for Denise Hood and anyone else in the organization who engages in social media or media relations on behalf of the company.
4. Develop a strategic digital communications plan designed to focus the organization’s monitoring of all media, to define the process and guidelines for social media engagement and identify the goals for evaluation.
5. Engage, again, with those who have taken you to task (and yes, Denise, I mean you), by admitting that your initial engagement wasn’t the best, that you were merely being loyal and defensive on your employers behalf, and that you’ve learned from all this. Don’t go away. Stick around. There are people engaged in social media who want to help you be successful and only by developing relationships in the online community will you benefit from that, and by extension, so will your company.