The recent negative publicity surrounding the policies and procedures of Facebook have many senior living providers questioning their social media strategies these days. And appropriately so.
The good news is that social media remains a highly effective tool for attracting, engaging and influencing your target audience. However, these attributes should be tempered with the understanding that social media can place personal data at risk, and senior living communities should exercise caution and transparency when leveraging social marketing platforms.
The Path Forward for Social Media in Senior Living
Says Sean Ochester, Executive Vice President of Digital & Integrated Strategy, “Senior living providers need to consider the efforts they are making to keep prospect data safe. Using social media can place consumers’ personal data at risk, and the industry’s marketing efforts need to reflect transparency through privacy statements such as that utilized by our client, amavida, when using tactics that your customers may not be comfortable with.
“At the same time, the recently publicized travails of Facebook have highlighted the need for change and accelerated the improvement process to the benefit of all social media content providers and users.”
The article, “Why Facebook’s Struggles are Good for Brands Using Social Media,” concurs, saying, “The chaos of the last few weeks belies a critical fact. The events at Facebook have accelerated an important shift – one already in progress – toward restoring faith and trust among social media users. And we all stand to benefit.”
“They’re (Facebook) reining in the ways third parties can access data, cracking down on foreign operatives, recalibrating algorithms to surface more meaningful content, clarifying privacy settings, offering users a bird’s-eye view of their data, complying with General Data Protection Regulation rules (increasingly, the gold standard globally), and updating terms of service to spell out more clearly what data their services collect.”
“Behind all of this is a recognition that transparency and trust have always been what makes social media special – its greatest virtue and greatest vulnerability. Facebook’s commitment to restoring this sense of trust is earnest and its vision is long-term. They know that their future, in no uncertain terms, depends on it.”
What is Important for Your Social Media Presence Today?
Sean adds, “Above all, we need to listen to the consumer. No one likes receiving irrelevant ads that do not relate to their specific senior living needs and concerns. With that in mind, there are several things senior living providers can do now while Facebook sets out to resolve their inherent problems.”
Reach your audience in an authentic way – As marketers, we tend to get excited when there's a new platform on which to share our message, but we have to be careful when it comes to social media. Consumers want to engage on social media, and this creates a unique challenge to be more organic with efforts to reach the target audience on social platforms. For example, blogging provides an ideal way of communicating valuable information to potential customers while also conveying your knowledge and authority on relevant senior living topics, e.g., memory care.
Focus on providing value – When a brand's social media presence creates value, prospective customers will follow, listen and interact. You create value by understanding your prospects’ personas – including their problems, needs, and questions – and communicating relevant solutions that can make their lives easier, more comfortable and more fulfilling.
Users want to have control over what they see on their feeds. Ads, regardless of how relevant, are still seen as "something I didn't ask for." Social media success will come if you focus on adding value.
Digital (online) advertising continues to be a valuable lead-generation tool when its messaging specifically addresses questions and information that prospects are searching for online. Ideally, digital ads should be used as an appropriate part of an integrated marketing campaign strategy and not as a solo, “all-or-nothing” tactic.
Use influencer marketing. Influencer marketing such as blogs, resident and family testimonials, resident satisfaction data and positive reviews are key to capturing attention and getting engagement. Using these influencer tactics in combination with highly targeted, issue-focused digital advertising can create a spike in prospect activity, and a proper long-term strategy can sustain an upward lead generation trend.
One recent success story in the effective use of social media involved Clarity Pointe Pensacola (CPP), a memory care community and Sage Age client-partner located in Florida. CPP initiated a social content strategy that utilized a blog, Facebook and Twitter, which was well-received and responded to by their target audience. This response, combined with paid advertising, proved to be a successful engagement strategy that led prospects back to their website for follow-up. Their blog and corresponding campaign reached 2,460 people and had 1,842 reactions.
Why Social Media Should Remain a Vital Part of Your Lead Gen Strategy
Despite the legitimate concerns about Facebook’s problems, there are compelling reasons to continue your senior living community’s social media strategy. Consider these statistics:
97% of adults between the ages 16-64 say they logged onto at least one social network in the past month. (These stats include the adult children who play a vital role in the senior living decision-making process).
Facebook still reigns as the most popular social media network with 79% of internet users in the US logging on the site.
Facebook is estimated to generate $21.57 billion in US ad revenues in 2018, which would account for 83% of the total social media ad expenditures throughout the nation.
Nearly a fourth of social media influencers believe Instagram is the top avenue for influencer marketing strategies.
Instagram ads grew by 28% in the second half of 2017. There were 134,000 Instagram ads in July 2017, but ultimately hit 171,000 ads in December.
Tweets with images are 150% more likely to get retweets than text-only tweets.
The bottom line for senior living providers? Social media remains a useful tool for telling your story and engaging prospective users of your senior living services. At the same time, we all need to be cognizant of the potential pitfalls and proceed with caution, while acting as responsible stewards of the various marketing tactics we apply.
We Provide Social Media Expertise and Integrated Marketing Strategy that Generates Results
If your senior living community needs assistance in creating resonant social media strategies that inform, engage and attract new prospects, we can help. Our team of professional subject experts excels in creating and managing content for your blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and digital marketing efforts that is compelling and generates leads.
At Sage Age Strategies, we use the latest best-practice knowledge to provide optimal search engine rankings; valuable, shareable content about your community; a “thought leadership” positioning for your brand; and direct engagement with increased numbers of prospects for your sales funnel.
Sage Age Strategies: Leaders in Senior Living Marketing and Consulting
At Sage Age Strategies, our team of marketing professionals and consultants excel in the latest senior living strategies and best practices that increase quality lead generation and grow your occupancy. If you need assistance in any areas of integrated growth strategy, digital marketing, social media, blogging, marketing automation, market research, and sales training to improve your performance, we invite you to contact us today to learn more.
Sage Age Strategies is a multiple-award-winning, strategic growth, marketing and consulting organization that operates exclusively in the unique senior living industry. For more information, please call or email Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / firstname.lastname@example.org.