Senior living providers are taking notice of social media‚Äôs effectiveness as a tactic in their marketing strategy. Sure, we‚Äôre all aware of Facebook and Twitter, but how about some of the other channels and activities? Read more to find out if your marketing department is overlooking these five social media activities.
5 Overlooked Social Media Activities for Senior Living Marketing
90% of A Place for Mom‚Äôs Facebook page consist of women¬†and 10% are male. Here are the age groups for the women that like our page:
- 22% women ages 45-54
- 23% women ages 55-64
- 17% women are 65+
With these statistics, it‚Äôs no surprise that social media is an excellent outlet to attract seniors, adult children of aging parents, and even local media.
5 Social Activities for Senior Living Marketing
LinkedIn is often an overlooked social network. Most people assume it‚Äôs only a resume site, but there‚Äôs much more to this professional social network.
One easy thing to do is ask your employees to list you as their employer. This builds credibility and showcases the amazing people who work for you. It also allows other users to see how they are connected to your employees. With the ‚Äúpeople you may know‚Äù and ‚Äúhow you‚Äôre connected‚Äù functionalities, you never know when someone who is looking for senior living can stumble upon one of your employees through their connections.
Sara Kuehl, a Regional Manager (Former Community Relations Advisor) at APFM, has found success using LinkedIn as a new sales tool.
I think of LinkedIn as the new cold call! It allows me to ‚Äúclone myself‚Äù and hit a much broader audience than I have time to do in the field with a 40+ hour work week. It‚Äôs also a great way for me to connect with those I might not normally come in contact with, as they are in outside industries, and are not aware of the many ways we help families.
2. Create Local Facebook Pages
70% of consumers trust brand recommendations from their personal networks while only 10% trust paid advertising. This statistic says one thing to me; grow your online reviews. Word of mouth recommendations are influential, but when a Facebook user sees that one of their friends has connected with your business, or even better, reviewed your business, they are more likely to connect with that friend to get feedback on their experience.
An excellent way to grow your brand trust is to connect with potential leads at a local level. If you‚Äôre a large company, creating local Facebook community pages is an excellent tactic to reach more people. It will also help you rank higher in searches when someone from that location is searching for your brand. If you have a corporate Facebook page, be sure to list all of your local Facebook pages in your about us section ‚Äì this could also be a section on your website. (The photo to the right is an example of one of Starbuck’s local locations in Seattle.) Here’s and article on how to create a local Facebook page.¬†
Facebook users turn to Facebook to hear their friends‚Äô stories, see real photos and read real reviews. This is an enormous opportunity for you to highlight real stories and reviews from some of your most satisfied customers and turn these stories and reviews into testimonials. If you know someone is happy with your service, ask them to leave a review on your page and rate you. If you don‚Äôt have reviews on your page, ask them to write a review on your wall. You can even create brand advocates out of your happiest employees by having them leave a review.
Here‚Äôs a wonderful example from Brookdale‚Äôs Facebook page. When asking your employees to leave a review, remind them to be real. When the reviews are too upbeat and happy, people tend to overlook them. It‚Äôs okay for your employees to write a couple pros and cons. In Zaylin‚Äôs review, he only gives Brookdale four stars, but calls his job, ‚Äúthe best he‚Äôs ever had.‚Äù This is the perfect example of a good employee review ‚Äì positive, but not too perfect.
Brookdale’s Facebook Rating From
Another best practice is to respond to reviews ‚Äì even the negative ones. It may not be easy, but it makes you look better for taking the time to address the issue. Remember, authenticity can be your brands greatest social media asset.
Google+ is another social network that tends to be underutilized. In case you didn‚Äôt know, Google is the world‚Äôs number one search engine, so the connection between their search engine and social network makes sense, right?
Your target demographic may not be on G+, but the benefits of using this social network go far beyond one-on-one engagements on the social network.
Your articles can rank higher on Google when you share them on Google+. This means that when you share your content on Google+, your site has a better chance of ranking higher because you shared it on Google‚Äôs social network. Google has not confirmed this, but test after test proves the benefits of using Google+ for business.
4. Claiming Profiles
When companies get started with social media, they make the mistake of doing too much all at once. It‚Äôs okay not to have a presence on every network, in fact, it‚Äôs not a good practice to be active on every social network. You should, however, claim your brands‚Äô name or URL on different social networks. When you don‚Äôt ‚Äúown‚Äù your presence online, it can lead to potential negative outcomes.
In 2010, BP had one of the largest accidental marine oil spills in the history of the petroleum industry. The accident claimed lives and was a tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico. As if BP didn‚Äôt have enough to worry about, someone created a new Twitter account making fun of the company‚Äôs oil spill. The Twitter account was @BPGlobalPR and at the time, it was attracting more followers than BP‚Äôs real account. The story was a real eye-opener to brands around the world. The key takeaway is never to let someone else own your story or brand. The BP story ended up raising money for a New Orleans-based environmental group, but the impact it made on BP‚Äôs Marketing and PR teams will never be forgotten.
Claim your accounts on social sites so you can avoid a PR nightmare like BP. You don‚Äôt have to be active on them; you just need to own the account so someone else cannot create it. To avoid ‚Äúspoof‚Äù accounts created by others with negative intentions, you could even go one step further and create accounts like:
If you‚Äôre not sure about which social media networks your company should be on, think about where your customers are. Do you really think seniors are actively using Instagram? Probably not. Do some market research and feel out which networks are the best fit for you. I would not recommend starting out with more than two or three.
5. Tell Your Story Through Photos
With sites like Pinterest and Instagram being so popular, people have raised their standards when it comes to viewing images online. Creating original images and telling your community‚Äôs story through photos is a fantastic way to connect with possible leads.
For starters, you need to have professional looking photos on your website. If you don‚Äôt have the budget to hire a professional photographer, you can get creative with apps like Instagram, Pro HDR or Photo fx.
After you have the photos, add them to your social networks and create an original Facebook cover image. Remember, nowadays people turn to social media to see examples of real photos and reviews.
Don‚Äôt limit your photos to just exterior shots of your community. Here are some ideas for engaging photos to share:
- Residents being active and having fun
- Behind the scenes photos of staff enjoying what they do
- Holiday decorations and events
If your community is proud of your dining experience, share it on social! Photos of food and recipes are some of the most popular pins on Pinterest.
Sharing your recipes is also an opportunity to attract health conscious people. Face it; people want to know what‚Äôs in their food. Buzzwords like ‚Äúorganic‚Äù and ‚Äúgluten-free‚Äù won‚Äôt be going away anytime soon. Adding a section to your website for health or nutrition could end up paying off in the end.
As you can see, social media is an exciting marketing tool. Your social networks can be your greatest ally in providing powerful word of mouth marketing. It‚Äôs also a way to advertise, engage with real customers and it creates authenticity for your brand. The best advice is to get started, take one step at a time and have fun connecting with your customers online.