Devon Gardner headshot
Devon Gardner

It’s the time of the year that most marketers and business owners have been evaluating their business efforts and planning for the new year. Have you thought about getting your senior living community active on social media for the first time in 2020? Or are ready to improve your current presence to better showcase your offerings and reach more prospective residents?

With a significant number of seniors becoming increasingly active on social media, it’s likely that social media marketing has been on your radar.

Either way, the best way to prepare your senior living community’s social media for 2020 is with three steps:

  1. Understand the current trends in social media and the anticipated changes ahead.
  2. Audit your current efforts (and those of your competitors).
  3. Create achievable steps that are in line with your brand and goals. 

In this post, the first of a two-part series, we’ll share helpful information on steps 1 and 2. The second part of the series will dive into Step 3, in which we’ll share our easy-to-follow social media checklist to keep your marketing team improving your community’s social media with ease.

Step 1: Understand current social media trends and anticipated changes ahead

Trend 1: How older adults are using social media

You might be interested to hear that according to GlobalWebIndex, baby boomers are the fastest-growing age group on Instagram, and approximately one-fourth of baby boomers use social media to research information about brands, products or services online. And recently reported by Pew Research, almost 70% of those aged 50 to 64 and 40% of those aged 65+ use at least one social media site.

Trend 2: Social channels are removing vanity metrics

Instagram recently announced that it is removing public like counts from users’ posts, and Facebook is reportedly doing the same. Why? It is an effort to make social media a safer, healthier place and reduce its negative effects on mental health while bringing the focus back to connecting with others. Users still will be able to see their like counts privately, but you won’t be able to see how many likes another users’ post received.

Many believe this will allow brands to feel more “free” to be creative and share posts that are meaningful without concern for how many “likes” it might get. So stop worrying about the “thumbs up” and start letting your community’s personality shine.

Trend 3: Social media continues to become more saturated and more “pay to play” 

With 2.45 billion people using Facebook every month and 1 billion people using Instagram, the increasingly popular channels are becoming saturated. With so many posts being shared, it is harder and harder to cut through the noise.

Although it sounds discouraging — and far from ideal — many social media marketers have turned to social media advertising to help increase awareness. As little as $5 to promote a post can help tremendously. More on this below.

Step 2: Audit your current social media efforts

Set aside 30 minutes to review the following social media questions with your marketing team. Doing so will help you understand the current general health of your social media channels, which you will want to have a good grasp on before we step into Step 3.

1. What channels are you on? Are they the right ones, and the right amount, for your community?

Tip: More is not always better. It’s more impactful to have fewer social channels that you do well than several that you manage poorly. Aim to successfully manage one to three relevant social channels. Research shows us that the most relevant channels for older-adult audiences are Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

2. How frequently are you posting? 

Tip: Social channels favor consistency. Aim to post at least two to three times per week on channels such as Facebook and Instagram.

3. How are you presenting your community? Are your posts portraying you message, story and brand accurately?

Tip: Assign no more than one to two people who are well-trained in your brand and voice to manage your social media channel. Involving more people than that likely will make your presence appear disjointed and inconsistent.

4. Are you using a mix of photos, videos and link posts? 

Tip: Don’t share just one type of post. Mix it up to encourage interest and engagement.

5. Are you showing the human faces behind your brand?

Tip: Fans want to see the human side of your business. Instead of showing graphics of events or photos of your community, share photos and stories about the staff, residents and visitors.

6. Is your audience size growing, stagnant or declining? 

Tip: Keep track of your audience size using Facebook and Instagram Insights or social media management tools such as Hootsuite.

7. Is your audience engaging with your posts?

Tip: Measure your engagement rate by dividing the average engagements per post (over the past two to three weeks) by your audience size. If you are not promoting your posts, then an average may be around 2% to 3%.

8. Who are your followers?

Tip: Look at your Facebook and Instagram insights to identify where your fans live, their age and gender. Do your followers seem relevant?

9. Are you using any social media advertising strategies?

Tip: If you haven’t yet dipped your toes in social media advertising, consider a small boosted-post budget of even $25 per month to see an effect on your impressions and engagements. 

10. Are you using other functions such as Facebook or Instagram stories?

Tip: More and more people are turning to stories rather than feed posts. Make sure you’re not missing out by sharing real-time happenings and “behind the scenes”-type content to your stories. 

Then, select one to two competitors and identify the answers to those questions for them to help provide you a benchmark of the competitive landscape. You also will get new ideas and inspiration, an understanding of where you need to improve, confidence in where you are succeeding and an idea of where competition is lacking so that you can fill the gap to reach your common audience. 

Step 3: Stay tuned for our upcoming checklist to use as a fool-proof reminder achievable steps to improve your social media presence.

Related Articles