Today, if you are not fully engaged in social media, you are very likely missing the boat – a boat full of prospects who are seeking senior living options with which they can feel engaged and connected.
More specifically, you are missing an ideal opportunity to create more personalized relationships with prospects, current residents, their families and referral sources that have proven to result in higher lead conversion rates, sales and move-ins.
Why It Pays to Be Engaged
Recently, the value of social media in today’s competitive world was highlighted by the prestigious Forbes.com. In their article, “The Top 10 Benefits of Social Media Marketing,” they describe in detail why social media is now an essential part of your comprehensive business strategy.
In addition, studies have shown that social media has a 100 percent higher lead-to-close rate than traditional outbound marketing, and a higher number of social media followers tend to improve trust and credibility in your brand – a key factor in senior living purchase decisions. Further, 83 percent of marketers today indicate that social media is important for their business.
Simply building your audience via social media can improve conversion rates on your existing traffic. Clearly, the evidence is there that social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more, is a highly relevant and influential part of today’s best practice marketing arsenal. How? For starters, a well-conceived and effectively executed social media marketing strategy:
- Improves your SEO ranking and makes you more visible to online “shoppers.” Web analysis experts say you need to be on Page One of any search result to even be noticed as an option!
- Brings your community to life for prospective customers.
- Creates personal connectivity and engages consumers with your community in ways more traditional marketing approaches cannot.
- Promotes social sharing of your primary advantages, points of differentiation and major benefits (i.e. it helps you spread the good word).
- Provides the ideal medium for highlighting your social environment, activities and events, which are now considered a top driver of consumer preference for senior adults and their adult children. Think photos, videos, testimonials and enjoyable stories that will appeal to your prospects!
Social Media Acts like a Megaphone for Your Community’s Key Messages
One of the most effective ways for your community to optimize an active social environment is by bringing it to life via social media. Through the regular use of photos and videos of residents enjoying life, social media showcases your lifestyle programming and puts an engaging human face on your community by conveying the fun, excitement and smiles of your residents in words, pictures and videos.
Social media is the ideal way to promote the highly important bonding elements of personal interaction, engagement and connectivity with your community. A well-conceived social media strategy can effectively differentiate your brand, attract more leads and turn them into move-ins.
The Power of Blogging
Blogging is also a very important part of an effective integrated marketing strategy. “The State of Inbound 2014-2015: HubSpot’s Sixth Annual Report of Inbound Marketing and Sales Trends,” noted that companies that blog are 13 times more likely to generate a positive marketing ROI.
Blogging enables you to demonstrate your expertise as a “Thought Leader” in senior living and provides readers with an opportunity to both comment on and share your content. Blogging is ideal for conveying your key content by addressing topics that respond directly to your prospects’ primary problems, concerns and needs. Blogs offer your prospective customers the answers to their questions, solutions to their problems and other valuable information that is pertinent to their decision-making process. Effectively done, blogs can provide your consumers with compelling reasons for making contact with your community and ultimately choosing you.
Understand How Social Media Fits into Your Overall Marketing Strategy
Adrienne Mansfield Straub, Director of Client Services, Traditional & Online Media for Sage Age Strategies frequently shares her expertise on the subject of social media with clients, conference attendees, webinar participants and industry media such as Senior Housing Forum. She believes senior living communities can, and must be, more strategic and deliberate in their use of social media to grow their business. Her insights include the following key points:
- First and foremost, your social media strategy should be part of a comprehensive, fully integrated marketing program. Your community’s strategic marketing plan should include a social media component that is in sync with your other marketing initiatives. Think of social media as a critical piece of the larger sales and marketing picture.
- Your community’s social activities, events and programs need to be viewed in the context of how they can be used in your social media strategy. Social media is the ideal vehicle for taking virtually anything positive that is happening in your community and turning it into a marketing opportunity. Social media provides a way to touch, engage, inform and inspire your prospects in ways that are highly compelling and motivating.
- The ultimate goal is to become the “go to” resource for all things related to senior care and senior living in your marketplace. This requires a shift away from a totally “advertising/event” mindset, to a broader focus that includes becoming a primary educational resource for the public. Your social strategy can be effectively used to promote your community’s guest speakers and seminars, support groups, workshops, educational accomplishments by staff, speaking engagements at senior living conferences and blog topics. All of these things reinforce awareness of your community as the “go to resource” for senior living and lifestyle information.
- Your social media strategy is ultimately about more than getting your name in the marketplace. It is about getting prospects to visit your community and ultimately choosing you as the best option over other providers or staying at home. By bringing your community to life with frequent photos, videos and stories that are inspiring, heartwarming or just plain fun, social media can increase your list of quality prospects.
Specific Ways Social Media Helps Your Brand
When Sage Age works with clients to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy, we view the social media component as an essential component that can:
- Build Trust and Credibility – Families typically have two questions: Will dad be safe here? Will mom be happier here above all other options? When social media is effectively implemented, it will build credibility and trust. Resident stories, testimonials and photos of residents having fun all build confidence and a sense of trust.
- Tell Your Story – Storytelling is regarded as the oldest and most compelling form of marketing. It touches the heart, builds credibility and is most powerful when it is a resident or their family member that is telling the story. Social media is the only effective way to tell fresh stories to a large audience.
- Promote “Crowd Sourcing” and Sharing – Crowdsourcing is a fancy term for viral marketing. If you tell compelling stories and provide useful information, “the crowd” will tell your story for you. They will pass the stories on to their friends and to people you might never be able to reach directly.
- Highlight Your Essential Content – It is often difficult for communities to find the time to write content, to know what to write and to actually write effectively for maximum impact and response. However, creating valuable content on a consistent basis is a powerful way for you to stay personally connected with your prospects, your residents and their family members, and your referral sources. If available resources or expertise is a concern for your community, you may want to consider the services of a leading senior living communications organization.
By understanding the substantial marketing contributions of social media and by harnessing it’s unique advantages as part of an integrated marketing strategy, you can take a major step forward in growing your community’s market influence and increasing your sales and occupancy.
Results-Oriented Social Media Expertise to Help Your Community Grow
If you’re looking for assistance in developing an effective social media strategy, our award-winning team excels in this area. Sage Age’s social media strategy incorporates positive inbound links using consistently fresh and relevant content to build your audience and actively engage users to drive traffic to your website. Our social media campaign strategy is evidence-based and utilizes Google’s organic search ranking algorithm to increase website SEO. By working with Sage Age, you can begin to integrate strategic social media into your marketing plans through all social media platforms, advertisements and blog posts.
Sage Age Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry and was recently named one of Inc. Magazine’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 202 / firstname.lastname@example.org.