Social Media and Senior Living

January 15, 2014

My grandmother is 93 years young.  A product of New York until her early 20s, she is a spirited woman with grand stories and even sharper wit.  I loved hearing the stories of her experience working at Macy’s in Manhattan, raising my dad on Governor’s Island, and subsequently around the world (second generation Army brat here), and her beloved Dachsund, Gussie.  We’d normally hear these nostalgic stories over a superb dinner of lamb and red cabbage.  These would be great stories and (foodie photos), I thought, to share with family and friends.  What better way than via Facebook or some other social channel?

She certainly likes to see our family pictures and learn the antics of our growing 4 year old son.  But getting her online is just not going to happen.  However, it got me thinking about social media and senior living and, despite my grandmother’s hesitation to join Facebook, how many people are inquiring about senior communities via that channel on a daily basis.  Many times, it’s the younger generation who is looking into the community, reading reviews and searching online posts.  Either way, eyes are turning to their screens before picking up their phones.

Social media strategies should include some key communication points at any senior living community.

1.  Social is just that, social.  Be sure to include what your residents are doing. Highlight a resident of the week and share their favorite lifetime story.  Invite family members to stay involved by sending messages or photos and share those with your residents.  Remember, senior living isn’t just about care, it’s about hospitality.

2.  Content is king.  A key component of any social media strategy relates to content.  How are you engaging your customers/residents? Do you have recent news or blogs on your website that are relevant?  How are you using Facebook to communicate your daily calendar of events?  Perhaps you should think about hiring a good writer to help pen all the thoughts you have.

3.  Consistency.  Anything you do won’t change perception or gain a large audience immediately.  Stay consistent with your brand and your message and you’ll soon see that an audience is building.  An audience that could one day be your next resident.

While I’d love to FaceTime and chat with my grandmother online, I know that isn’t our reality.  Her preference is, and has always been, a phone call to say hi.  Or to ask her for that lamb recipe one more time.

Happy marketing!