Sharon Ricardi, President of Northbridge Advisory, LLC shares tips on making your Community Facebook page work for you.
Facebook 101 for Senior Living Communities
Once the media darling of teens and twenty-something’s, Facebook has now gone mainstream. Nana is on Facebook! But more importantly, her 50 something daughter is on Facebook, catching up with old classmates and far-flung relatives. Since she is the decision maker in most instances in senior care, when she sees and shares positive stories and images about senior living facilities it is influential. This sharing among friends creates a true seal of approval: “Look Mom, Sue’s mother – you remember Mrs. Anderson – loves her new senior community! Look at her dancing!”
Facebook is both immediate and permanent, and in its purest form it is absolutely free. All you need is a mobile phone and a sense of what will capture the public’s attention, to go from good to great.
Have you have heard of something going “viral” on Facebook? All that means is that a post was so compelling that people started sharing it to their network of friends, who then shared it with their friends…and so on. It’s a rarity of course but even a small local post, if it is compelling enough, can garner up to a thousand views fairly easily. Some subjects are more likely to be shared and liked than others. Here are some of my favorite examples from within the senior living industry:
- A close up of two smiling faces, with a catchy tag line: “Mary and Louise were friends in grammar school together but lost touch. Sixty years later they reunited at Glen Manor. Those smiles tell it all!” (stay mindful of right to privacy)
- A part time receptionist at an assisted living community made a fun video of staff and residents dancing to Pharell’s irresistible song “Happy”. It got shared hundreds of times, and got over a thousand views (Do be careful of copyright infringement).
- “People of XYZ Community” is a great way to personalize your staff. Just take a photo of one member of your staff once a month, and feature them. A quote about why they love working for your community, and a tag on their own Facebook page works wonders.
- Charity events: Link to your charity’s web site and celebrate your mutual interest together! A great picture and a quote are all that is needed. Details can be boring, while motion never is.
- And don’t forget the simplest of posts. It seems that everyone posts pictures of their food as a waiter places it in front of them, in all its garnished glory. An artful shot of your chef serving the beautifully presented meal to a resident with a heading such as “Not sure what you’re having for dinner tonight, but we are serving roast duck on creamy polenta with grilled asparagus!” has a bigger impact than you saying that you have great food.
To make Facebook an even more powerful tool, we often suggest to our advisory clients that they spend a little money and “boost” a particularly interesting post, so that it goes to select Facebook users who are not in your network. Wait to see if it has a little natural traction. Don’t boost it because you simply want it to go big, that’s a common mistake. Rather, boost it when the public is telling you it has potential to go big. Once you boost it, that posting pops up as a “Suggested Post” and is labeled “sponsored.” Low cost and high impact that we would have only dreamed of twenty years ago.
Another way to grow your brand in a local way is to connect not just on a company level, but also on a local level. First create a company Facebook page, and then add ones for each location you have, and link them. It is a proven tactic to reach more people. Remember the old newspaper adage, all news is local news? Still partially correct! People want to see names and places they know called out on Facebook. And remember to assign one person to be the “face” of your Facebook page. Leaving it to several untrained people does not usually produce good results. Go have fun!
Sharon Ricardi was recently named president of Northbridge’s newly expanded Advisory Services. Her 25 years of experience include sales & marketing and operations in the home health field as well as the senior housing industry. Sharon held senior management positions in ADS Senior Housing, Benchmark Senior Living and Newton Senior Living prior to joining Northbridge. Her experience encompasses the start-up and turn-around of over 20 assisted living communities throughout the Northeast.