You know that old stereotype that says senior citizens can’t technology? Well, it’s time to toss that cliché out the browser window. For some time now, seniors have been taking the Internet by storm and are becoming nearly as active as those dang kids. #whoknew? It’s really not that much of a surprise, though, if you take a look around online and IRL*. Practically everyone these days has a smartphone in their hand, and seniors are no exception. After all, we’re talking about mostly Boomers here. They might not always be the earliest adopters of technology, but they’re certainly some of the most dedicated.
“Social media has completely changed the way we interact with each other and the world at large,” says Debra Gawet, Social and Digital Content Strategist at Sage Age Strategies. “Although we think mainly about it as a person-to-person type of communication style, it’s clear that seniors are increasingly interacting with consumer brands via social networks. That means, if your community doesn’t have some sort of social presence, you’re missing out on an incredibly valuable tool to interact, gather information and convert leads.”
“For many years, senior marketing focused on sending messages via direct mail and more traditional forms of advertising because it made more sense financially,” says Madison Graham, Sage Age Strategies Social Marketing Specialist. “For previous generations, this was a smart strategy, but as Boomers retire and the landscape becomes more technologically savvy – particularly when it comes to the Internet – having social media as a part of your integrated marketing and lead conversion strategy will be essential for attracting, capturing, nurturing and converting future residents for your communities.”
What Social Networks Are Seniors Using?
A recent report from the Pew Research Group lists the different social networks that are popular by age group. Here’s a bit of a surprise: The two top social media platforms for seniors age 65+ are the same that are the most popular for younger age groups. (That’s right, kids. Grandma’s rockin’ Facebook.)
For all age groups, Facebook and YouTube are the most popular networks by far. The only difference is that for seniors, Facebook is the #1 site and YouTube the #2 most-popular, while younger age groups have it reversed (#1 is YouTube, #2 is Facebook).
These aren’t the only social media sites that seniors use, according to Pew, but they are the biggies. Here are the percentages of seniors who use the following social media platforms:
- Facebook: 46%
- YouTube: 38%
- Pinterest: 15%
- LinkedIn: 11%
- Instagram: 8%
- Twitter: 7%
- Snapchat and WhatsApp: 3% each
- Reddit: 1%
“The fact that Facebook and YouTube are popular for all age groups is very relevant for senior communities who are using social media as part of their lead generation efforts,” says Debra. “This means you may be able to stretch your budget further with the same effort – since you can use the same networks to reach adult children as well as prospective residents.”
Strategies for Reaching Seniors Via Social Media
While building a successful social media strategy is a little more complicated than we can get into in a blog post, here are some high level ideas of how you can engage seniors and adult children with your community via the top two networks they’re using.
Facebook: Get them talking.
As the “biggie” of the social networks, Facebook can be considered a “home base” for many users. It’s where they see what friends and family are doing, learn about events, activities and more, or get updates from their favorite companies and brands. Here are a few things you can do to make your community more attractive and attention-grabbing on this platform:
- Solicit reviews about your community from residents, family members, employees and more. You can say anything you like about your community, but real, honest reviews from real, honest users? That’s priceless word-of-mouth advertising.
- Keep people informed of what’s going on in your community with event updates, photo albums or even sweepstakes like a “win a free weekend stay” that capture the interest (and information) of future prospects who may be interested in making your community their home.
YouTube: Tell your story.
Video is one of the most impactful ways you can reach your audience. While many people will skip over static ads or text, a video captures the attention like none other. 54% of seniors watch videos online, and according to Google, 75 percent of seniors have taken an action after watching an online video. Here’s how to make this work for you:
- Create a brand storytelling time by uploading specific, short videos about your community. Each one should be about one specific topic (you want to make sure your videos are 1 minute or less). Some ideas of things you can share: resident testimonials, tours of your community, showcasing an event, hearing from staff, etc.
- Link to other videos (or social media profiles, blog posts or web sites) in the description of your video. You can also add links at the end of a video or cue an autoplay so that similar videos will play directly following the first.
Sage Age Strategies: Building a Social Media Strategy That Gets Likes (and Results)
Sage Age’s social media strategies enable senior living communities to consistently deliver fresh, relevant content to your intended audience and drive users to your website. We use evidence-based techniques, such as Google’s organic search ranking algorithm, to increase your reach, search engine optimization and brand presence. Our creative team of professionals will develop cultivated, customized content for your website, blog and social media platforms, all crafted to seamlessly integrate with your brand look and feel. We’ll also create an advertising campaign that combines social media, ad placement and the latest in lead generation and conversion tactics to help you continually grow your target audience, generate leads, engage and communicate with potential residents and ultimately deliver conversion results you’ll want to share with the world.
If you need assistance in any areas of senior living development and integrated growth strategy to improve your business results, we invite you to contact us today to learn more about our proven strategies that have transformed other senior living communities like yours.
Sage Age Strategies is a multiple-award-winning, strategic growth, marketing and consulting organization that operates exclusively in the unique senior living marketplace. For more information, please call or email Jason McCloud at 614.795.7373 / firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit us on our website at www.sageagestrategies.com/.
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*In Real Life