It’s no secret that senior citizens are at a higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19 than the general population. For senior living communities, that makes it extra important to communicate the measures you’re taking to keep residents, employees, and visitors safe.
Press releases, website updates, and email campaigns have certainly been on many marketers’ minds in response to COVID-19, but what about Facebook Live for senior living communities? In contrast to text or photos, this interactive live video streaming tool can provide an engaging and socially distanced platform to help senior living communities reconnect with residents, prospective residents, and their families.
Before You Get Started: What Is Facebook Live?
In the wake of COVID-19, you’ve probably become familiar with videoconferencing tools such as Zoom and Webex. Facebook Live shares similarities with these platforms: You can schedule a livestream in advance and invite other (Facebook) users to attend your event. But with Facebook Live, video is streamed one way—you to your audience—and the audience, in turn, responds via likes and other reactions that appear on-screen, as well as via chat.
Check out this blog post from my colleague Natalie Boyd for more info on how to launch a Facebook Live campaign.
Now that you have a basic understanding of Facebook Live, here are three ways you can use it at your senior living community:
1. Conduct an Interactive Virtual Tour of Your Community
Hosting a tour of your community using Facebook Live is more than just a means of providing the same information that’s already available on your website. It also enables viewers to become familiar with the key staff who keep your community operating smoothly every day. An interactive virtual tour can also highlight the steps you’re taking to ensure safety during the pandemic.
Further, the two-way interactivity of Facebook Live means that you can let viewers help shape the tour in real time. As you plan out your tour (again, see Natalie’s blog post for tips), plan out a few different decision points at which you can solicit viewer feedback on where the tour might go next.
2. Hold Interactive Interviews with Community Residents or Staff
Families want to know that their loved ones are and will be safe at your community. Interviewing residents via Facebook Live is an authentic way to give residents the opportunity to share their experience in their own words.
You might start the interview with a few questions you’ve prepared in advance to help get things started. Consider sharing these questions with your interviewee in advance to help ease any stage fright they might have at the beginning of the stream. From there, open the interview up to viewer questions, which can be provided directly in the chat. This same scenario can also be applied to a staff interview.
In either case, be sure to have your topic—be it related to COVID-19 or something else—well defined in advance, even before you begin promoting your Facebook Live event. This will help set expectations with your viewers, and you can always schedule a second or third event if you have several topics to cover.
3. Livestream Community Activities
COVID-19 has likely shifted the way you carry out activities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t promote them. Virtual bingo from residents’ rooms, chair exercises in the hallway, and the happy-hour cart all provide small, slice-of-life glimpses into day-to-day living in your community.
Like the other Facebook Live uses discussed already, streaming activities will also indirectly showcase the precautions you’re taking to combat COVID-19, without necessarily turning your response to the pandemic into the main focus of your stream.
A Final Word on Facebook Live for Senior Living Communities
Facebook Live’s usefulness as a platform for senior living marketers needn’t begin and end with COVID-19.
As the “new norm” of the pandemic continues to take shape, consider how you can use Facebook Live in other ways that don’t focus explicitly on COVID-19. You might have the head chef cover their latest menu additions, your fitness trainer show off their top exercises for seniors, and more.