Oftentimes, businesses struggle with the concept of using Facebook. They don't recognize its value or see how it contributes to the bottom line. When allocating limited resources, social media goes on the back burner. But for senior care communities, social media—and in particular, Facebook—can be a valuable tool for improving occupancy rates.
Why Social Media Is Important for Senior Care Communities
Before talking specifically about Facebook, I want to highlight the importance of broader social media marketing. When working with clients, we always research and document buyer personas. We understand who the target audience is, what their challenges and needs are, how they communicate and like to be communicated with.
Social media is a means of communication and the vast majority of people today use some form of social media. As a business, you should want to reach your audience wherever they are—and that includes social media. But before you jump to conclusions about what social media platform(s) to use, make sure you understand your target audience and what social platforms they are present on.
Many senior care communities have personas that include adult children of the elderly. Adults in their 40s, for example, may be planning for the elder care of their parents. People in their 40s are well represented on social media, so in order to increase the occupancy of your senior care facility, you may choose to target individuals in their 40s who are active on social media.
Social media is an ever-present reality. Although there is debate as to how much, most people agree that social media impacts search rankings. Review sites also impact traffic because companies with better reviews are more likely to get more traffic and business. Social sites like Facebook provide reviews just like Yelp and Google, so maintaining an active presence on these platforms, responding to reviews, and encouraging reviews, all help your online marketing efforts and therefore your business bottom line.
Why Facebook Is Important for Senior Care Communities
We operate with limited resources. As an organization, you need to understand your actual capacity. You don’t want to open a social media account only to be unable to maintain it. It is better to not have an account than to have an inactive account and never respond to inquiries. You need to focus your efforts where you will get the most return. Facebook may be one of the most important.
Beyond the fact that Facebook holds the largest user base, Facebook also has incredible connection capability and functionality for reaching your audience. For example, Facebook Stories and Facebook Live enable businesses to reach their audiences in an informal way. When businesses use these features effectively, audiences look forward to tuning into the communication and keeping up with your business.
To reach people researching senior care, you may host a Facebook Live event showcasing events at your senior care community. For example, you could live-stream a social event or you could post short clips of the event on Facebook Stories. These types of live, impromptu shares can engage your audience via Facebook. Your content doesn’t have to be extensively planned, and it can bring more people through the door for tours.
How to Use Facebook Effectively
The key to achieving the kind of positive brand interaction that gets people excited is to be creative and not overly promotional. No one will watch your Facebook Stories or tune into your live event if they’re glorified infomercials. But if you are connecting with your audience to address their real needs, providing entertainment, and offering solutions to their challenges, then they will want to tune in on a regular basis.
Social media works best when it feels in the moment, but as a business, you can’t always operate on the fly. Although this may seem counterintuitive, a well-planned editorial calendar is a must for successful social strategies. You can still create a sense of impromptu by planning into your calendar keyword searches, time to study trends, and time engaging with influencers—and you can sprinkle in content that is timely and newsworthy. However, to keep from falling behind, you will also want to plan some content weeks in advance. This type of planning can come in handy for blog promotions or awareness events and holidays.
In closing, be sure you research and document your buyer personas so you can be confident that you are investing your time in the social channels they are using. Next, develop your editorial calendar to maintain an active social profile. Respond to inquiries and encourage reviews. Finally, use impromptu tactics such as Facebook Live and Stories to show the behind-the-scenes and informal side of your business. All of these efforts will likely increase your occupancy at your senior care community.