We’ve written extensively about the many benefits of senior living social media marketing and why you should include it in your overall marketing plan.
Today, however, we’re going to focus on common mistakes that senior living communities often make with social media—and how you can avoid them.
Mistake #1: You’re focusing on the wrong platforms for your personas.
Do you know what social media platforms your residents use? How about their family members? Never assume! While it’s true older adults do indeed use social media, the phrase “older adult” has a wide spectrum.
Are you catering mostly to seventy-year-olds in independent living? Or are you serving octogenarians who are straddling IL and AL? Or maybe you’re running an active adult community for people 62+? The social media experiences among these audiences will likely differ. But you won’t know for certain unless you regularly ask, survey, and keep track of people’s responses.
Once you start keeping track, it won’t take long before you see the clear platform “winners.” For example, you might learn that your personas spend most of their time on Facebook and YouTube, but hardly any time on Twitter. This is important intel. Because you’re missing your target if you waste time pouring money and resources into Twitter when the people you’re trying to reach aren’t using that platform.
Keep in mind that social media is also a moving target. Preferences will change over time as other platforms enter the playing field (or go in and out of favor) and as younger demographics come of age.
- How to avoid this senior living social media marketing mistake: Keep track of the social media platforms your residents engage in. This can and should be part of your sales intake—and most definitely part of your new resident welcome campaign. Find out the social media platforms residents and their families frequent. Invite them to follow your community’s profiles on the corresponding platforms.
Mistake #2: You don’t have specific goals.
You need to know your goals so you can measure performance and ROI. Too often, communities “do social media” simply because everyone else is. That’s not a good enough reason!
Ask yourself this question: What’s the purpose of social media for your community? Are you trying to boost brand recognition? Are you mainly using it as a means to communicate with residents and their families? Are you trying to get more qualified traffic to your site?
You’ll likely have different goals for different social media platforms. For example, you might use LinkedIn as a way to connect with current employees and prospective employees. Or maybe you use Pinterest primarily as a way to share recipes from your executive chef.
- How to avoid this senior living social media marketing mistake: Define your goals. Be specific. For example, your goal with Facebook might be to send a certain amount of traffic from the platform to your website and convert X percent into leads. Revisit your goals every quarter. Have you achieved your goals? If yes, define some new ones. If not, determine if you need to revise your goals or revise your strategy for achieving the goals.
Mistake #3: You don’t have a social media marketing strategy.
Once you know your goals for each platform you use, you can develop a strategy for each one as well. Read that sentence again! Yes, the best way to tackle senior living social media marketing is to have a specific strategy for each platform.
It makes sense when you think about it, right? For example, the way people engage with content on Facebook is quite different from the way folks play on Pinterest—or how they use Instagram or YouTube.
- How to avoid this senior living social media marketing mistake: Having a content calendar and someone on your team who “owns social” can go a long way in making sure you post consistently—and according to the goals you have for each platform. And yes, we get it: Often the real “magic” of social media is when something is posted on the fly, like those random images or videos that are too good not to share. A social media coordinator can manage these last-minute requests while making sure your overall strategy remains intact.
Mistake #4: You don’t put the same effort into your social media content as you do with other marketing content.
Too often, we see communities get excited when they launch their social media presences, but over time, the content either gets stale, predictable, or worse—it becomes non-existent.
Creating great content for social media takes effort. Having a strong content calendar for each platform helps, but your social media team needs to always be thinking in terms of content creation—taking pics that will resonate with the audience, developing fun videos, coming up with meaningful surveys and contests—and that’s just the beginning.
Social media never takes a break—it’s always going, it’s always on. We’re not suggesting that you post 24/7, but your social media team has to have a 24/7 mentality, meaning that it needs to look for (and post!) awesome content outside of typical business hours. This might involve tasking someone with taking and posting pics from the Mother’s Day Tea that happens on a Sunday. Or capturing the gorgeous full moon as it rises above your property.
- How to avoid this senior living social media marketing mistake: Make sure you’re not putting one person in charge of all things social media. Even if you have one social media coordinator, that person should have a team—or, at the very least, the freedom to tap helpers, as needed. For example, the social media coordinator can ask the activities assistant to take some pics during the Mother’s Day Tea and send them to the coordinator for posting.
Mistake #5: You don’t analyze the results.
Many communities ignore social media analytics beyond looking at “likes” or the follower count. But again, if you’re investing in senior living social media, you need to figure out if your investment is paying off.
- How to avoid this senior living social media marketing mistake: Monitor traffic that comes from social media platforms—and determine what percentage of that traffic turns into leads and eventually move-ins. That’s the most important metric to pay attention to, but there are others. And good software like HubSpot can make it easy to see results via dashboards and reports that you set up once, but that continuously populate with info.
Need help avoiding the above mistakes? Let’s talk.
One of the best things you can do to enhance your social media efforts is work with an agency like ours. We can audit your current platforms, guide you on where you should be spending your time and budget, and work with your team on creating content and getting into a good rhythm. Then, your team can take it from there—or you can continue to have us manage your social media (or some combination). Interested? Let’s talk about your social media plans.