It’s everywhere. Social media is quickly becoming our main source of marketing and communication. There are more social media sites than I can name to connect with people.
So where do you focus your efforts? How do you begin? What do you post? How often? Am I getting the attention of my target audience?
You may say to yourself “This is too much!” and give up too quickly. I’ve been following senior living on social media for the last six years and here’s what I can say about marketing to seniors.
Social Media Keeps Evolving
I think we’re all at the mercy of trial and error here. I can tell you I have personally had a really challenging time with Facebook post promotions in filtering down to my target audience. I’m seeking a college educated, C-level executive, in the senior living industry.
Who ends up seeing and liking my posts?
High school graduates working in fast food, sometimes in Buenos Ares or some obscure Latin American country that is nowhere near the US Eastern seaboard I specified. No matter how I try to refine the filters I can never seem to capture the audience I want. It’s frustrating. I feel your pain.
But we keep trying. And that’s the beauty of marketing on social media. You can just keep trying at little to no money spent.
Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram… OH MY!
So many platforms, so few hours to spend on social media.
Unless you are lucky enough to have someone dedicated to social media efforts, which, by the way, is becoming more necessary, you probably don’t have all day to scour Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to seek out relevant content that resonates with your target audience. So what do you do to attack this problem?
One thing I’ve noticed about successful social media marketing is consistency. Daily posts, engagement with your followers, and interaction with your audience is what makes you stand out.
I’ve seen some senior living communities rocking it on Twitter! Take for example Grand Villa Communities in Florida. Each of their 16 communities has their own Twitter account and they all are consistent in tweeting, following, liking, and retweeting relevant content. That’s a shining example of how to engage via social media.
Willow Valley Communities in Lancaster, PA is a great example of how to manage your Facebook or Instagram account. Full disclosure, I used to work there and yes, am still a bit biased toward them, but they do rock social media. They’re great at promoting human interest pieces that pull you in and make you want to like them.
For example, each year, there is a mother duck that nests at one of the community courtyards. When they’re ready, she parades her ducklings around the courtyard and through the pond. The ducks even captured the attention of local news, because let’s face it, who doesn’t like a cute story about adorable baby ducks in the spring?
The Facebook post about the ducklings garnered more than 220 likes and shares with a reach of over 1000 people! Who would have thought something so simple could bring so many to one Facebook post?
The moral of the story? Resident ducks bring more attention and engagement than the human residents.
Get your inspiration from any kind of human interest piece you can. Your pages don’t need to be flooded with pictures of residents dining to be great. I would actually advise against focusing too much on boring daily activities. Think about it, what do you do when your friends post what their eating for dinner? That’s right… Keep on scrolling.
Instagram is the new Facebook
While I don’t believe Pinterest has taken off to capture your audience, Instagram sure has. What makes this better than Facebook is you don’t have to scroll through so much noise to see the posts. Although, lately my feed has been more cluttered than usual with “suggested” posts.
I have a friend who very recently, like in the last two weeks, started one of those MLM businesses. She’s been posting 2-3 times daily on Instagram. In that time she told me she has 11 people under her and more than 50 customers, none of whom are her family or friends.
This example shows the vast reach Instagram can and does have in a short amount of time.
This one is a bit more challenging. The lifespan of a tweet is about 15 minutes. Unlike Facebook, where the lifespan is about 6 hours, and Instagram, a whopping 24 hours, you need to tweet incessantly to get the message out. I feel like there’s a lot of noise on Twitter and despite some examples of communities rocking it like Grand Villa.
Sometimes I look at Twitter and wonder what’s the point of it all. Do people really read my posts? Is the work I do there worth it? When someone likes my tweet, have they really read it? What about a retweet, how do I get more of those and what is it really supposed to do for me anyway?
Again, more questions than answers.
Social media is an overwhelming sea of necessity. Despite short lifespans and lots of questions surrounding effectiveness, (I’m sure there’ve been studies proving it’s effective, right??), we are all obligated to navigate these waters. So, what do you do to ease the pain? There’s two sites I like that let you queue up posts to multiple sites at once. Kind of like my crock-pot, it’s a set it and forget it type of deal.
Buffer is my favorite. I go in daily and queue up what I want posted and walk away. No need to come back in an hour or two to make sure I’m tweeting, posting, or Instagramming.
Klout is another good one. You can select topics relevant to your industry that your target marketing would like and like buffer, you can queue them up to post at a specified time. You end up getting a Klout score that rates your posting effectiveness. Kinda cool.
All in all, I’d say that if you have to have a social media campaign, have fun with it. It’s often your least expensive marketing spend so there’s room to experiment.