When Facebook launched in 2004, only students at certain universities could join. What a difference a decade makes.
In recent years, adults aged 74 and above have become the fastest-growing demographic on social media, according to the Pew Research Center. About 39 million people aged 65 and older use Facebook, Twitter and Skype, with Facebook taking first place.
Not only are they using Facebook to keep up with family and friends, they’re using it as an information source for health concerns by joining groups and connecting with others who have similar ailments. Noticing this trend, clinical practices and doctors have expanded their use of Facebook to reach out to older adults.
So, it makes sense that senior living communities have done the same. More than 96% of the American Senior Housing Association’s top 25 providers are on Facebook, and 72% are on Twitter.
But it’s no longer enough to simply have a presence — the best senior living marketing strategies leverage social media to keep residents engaged and happy as well as attract other residents. Here’s how.
Understand your audience
While seniors themselves are the most obvious target market for your social media efforts, another important group shouldn’t be overlooked. Adult children play a major role in the decision-making process when it comes to senior living communities for their parents. A study by Care.com found that about 73% of those seeking information on senior living were adult children, daughters in particular, and that they’re searching almost exclusively online.
Be strategic about your content
With your audience in mind, come up with posts that provide value for everyone you’re trying to reach: current residents and their families, as well as prospective residents and their families.
This could mean profiling particularly interesting residents, sharing relevant news articles, asking engaging questions, highlighting notable staff members and features of the community, promoting events, asking people to share memories and/or photos, and so on. Be creative!
Make engagement a goal
Clicks, comments, likes and shares are all forms of engagement. If you’re being strategic with your content and sharing high-quality posts, your Facebook fans are more likely to stay engaged. This means your content will show up more prominently on their newsfeeds. As a result, your posts could then appear in their friends’ newsfeeds, which can create more visibility and credibility for your community.
Engagement is an important factor to building relationships with your target audiences, increasing loyalty to your community, and inspiring prospective residents to take an action, like scheduling a tour or requesting more information.
All business pages on Facebook have a star system that allows people to rate the business as well as write a review. Within the last year, Facebook has increased the prominence of reviews on all business pages, so it’s important to make sure you have some.
Firsthand insight into your community (especially if it’s positive feedback) can increase credibility and enhance your reputation. So, encourage residents and their families to write reviews and reply to each one, no matter what it says. This shows that you care about your community and want everyone to be as happy as possible with their experience.