Senior Living Social Media: User-Generated Content 101

Photo of seniors for the article Senior Living Social Media: User-Generated Content 101

Battling the “sea of sameness” is something most senior living communities struggle with. How do you differentiate your community from the one down the street or the next town over when you’re essentially selling the same thing?

Enter user-generated content (UGC).

User-generated content includes anything created voluntarily by residents, their families, or staff. Think testimonials, reviews, photos, and videos.

And guess what? UGC is effective. A 2023 survey from EnTribe notes the following impressive findings:

✔    Nine out of ten participants preferred brands that highlight content from real customers.
✔    A significant majority, 86 percent, reported greater trust in brands that feature user-generated content over those that rely on influencer promotions.
✔    Eighty-two percent of respondents said they would be more likely to buy products or services from brands incorporating user-generated content into their marketing strategies.

Bottom line: UGC is so influential because it’s authentic. People appreciate and trust authenticity.

But UGC offers another important benefit: It can help differentiate your community from the sea of sameness. Since user-generated content is specific to your community, people won’t see the same content on another community’s website or social media channels.

So now the question becomes, how can you encourage people to create and share this content? This article aims to explore that question.

Let’s get to it!

7 tips that will help you generate great user-generated content

Tip #1: Create spaces for people to share their content

Fostering a great UGC strategy begins with having a solid social media strategy overall. Audit your current platforms and make sure everything is current and on-brand. You should also share engaging content and actively encourage follows from prospects, residents, family, and staff. After all, why would someone want to share content with your channels if the places feel like ghost towns?

Tip #2: Leverage hashtags

People love using hashtags in their social media content. However, hashtags also serve a practical purpose: They can help you categorize and find user-generated content.

Consider creating a memorable hashtag that reflects your community’s values. Display the hashtag prominently around the community and include it on brochures, ads, and billboards. Doing so will encourage people to use the hashtag and allow them to search for and see other user-generated content with the same hashtag.

Tip #3: Hold contests or social media challenges

One effective way to encourage UGC is through social media challenges (also known as hashtag challenges or contests).

For example, you could promote a photo contest themed around #GardenDelights. In this contest, you invite residents to share and tag pictures of their favorite spots around your grounds. This would foster community interaction while also highlighting your community’s beauty.

Want to boost the engagement further? You could pick three of the best shots, re-post them on your social media channels, and ask people to vote for their favorite. The winner gets a prize.

Tip #4: Make it easy for residents to share content

Most of us have gone to dinner with people who must photograph their meal and post it to Instagram. No doubt, some residents might want to do the same with the lovely meals your chef creates. The issue? Some folks might not know how to upload their pic to social media.

To combat this problem, consider holding frequent smartphone workshops in your community to help residents learn how to take pics, record videos, and upload their content (with the all-important hashtags). Provide devices that residents can use, like tablets, and keep them in places where people congregate or where you hold events.

⮚      PRO TIP: Create a cool program inviting local high school students to teach residents about technology. Check out this news story where one community did exactly that.

Tip #5: Create a straightforward process for reviews

Reviews are probably the most powerful form of user-generated content. When people shop around, they look at online reviews to learn about other people’s experiences.

When it comes to reviews, people want to see:

  • Recent reviews. If your most recent review is six months old, that will give people pause.
  • Mostly positive reviews. Notice our use of the word “mostly.” Savvy shoppers don’t expect perfection. In fact, a community with only glowing five-star reviews will feel suspect. Don’t fret over the occasional three-star reviews. These come with the territory. Be mindful of how you respond to two- and one-star reviews (because people will be watching how you respond).
  • Authentic reviews. People are savvy and can spot fake reviews.

Asking for reviews is an ongoing task, but marketing automation can help. Emails and text reminders can be scheduled to go out at different points in the post-deposit process. Make it easy for people to leave reviews. Include direct links to the site or sites where you’re seeking them.

You can also ask for reviews in newsletters, during family events, or by setting up a “review station” with a tablet ready to go in your lobby. Be proactive in managing these reviews by responding to them, thanking the reviewer, and addressing concerns.

Tip #6: Host live social media events

Live events are a fantastic way to generate immediate engagement. Consider hosting live Q&A sessions, virtual tours, or live-streamed community events. These activities allow for real-time interactions, comments, and shares, which will help spread the word about your community. Promote these events so that you have a good turnout and identify moderators to manage the interactions smoothly.

Tip #7: How to feature UGC on your social media channels

When it comes to using user-generated content, be mindful of the following:

  • Always ask for permission before sharing residents’ content.
  • Credit the original creator, whether it’s a resident, family member, or staff member.
  • Create a dedicated section on your website for resident stories and photos.

Once you have a collection of awesome UGC, plan to repurpose it across your marketing channels. For example, you could feature a snippet from a compelling review in your brochures or on a print ad.

Show us how you use UGC in your senior living marketing!

Integrating user-generated content into your community’s social media strategy will boost engagement while making your community feel authentic. We’d love to hear how you use and encourage user-generated content. Share your stories with us on our LinkedIn page.

If you’re looking for more personalized advice, don’t hesitate to reach out. Let us help you make your senior living community shine online.