Four Ways Your Care Home Should Be Using Social Media

When it comes to marketing your care home, social media as a key communication channel may seem like a strange choice. In fact, the idea of increasing your resident intake through Twitter or Facebook mightbe completely foreign to you.

If so, you’re not alone. This is a common disconnect shown across all areas of social care.

…But can I tell you a secret?

This is precisely why YOU have a huge opportunity right now to capitalise on just that.

You see, Care Homes and Social Media Marketing are a perfect fit disguised under the common myths of ‘my audience isn’t on social media’ and ‘it just doesn’t work for what I do.’

The truth is when social media is used correctly, any business in any industry of any size can benefit. When it comes down to it, social media is about people and we are all just people.

I want to share with you 4 guaranteed ways you can use social media to boost your care home.

Target The Right Audience

You might be surprised to know that many elderly people are fully embracing social media.

Just check out 86 year old 'bad ass' Grandma Baddie Winkle who's showing us all what living life to the fullest really means http://instagram.com/baddiewinkle

A video posted by baddiewinkle (@baddiewinkle) on Sep 9, 2014 at 2:01pm PDT

  Or pay a visit to the late cancer fighting Grandma Betty who's profile in recent month's has captured the very essence of Instagram and community. http://instagram.com/grandmabetty33 ← I reckon with 623,593 followers, Betty taught us a thing or two about building a brand. RIP Grandma Betty!

A photo posted by Grandma Betty (@grandmabetty33) on Oct 10, 2014 at 5:01pm PDT

Let’s say that your target audience aka. Your future residents are not on social media. Should you just give up?

Never give up.

The reality is that the decision made to put someone into a care home rarely comes down to just the resident. The whole family are involved.

While your residents may not be on social media, it’s a sure bet that their children are. You know, the real ones making the decision.

In fact, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook and Twitter are the 55+ year olds.

If you want to get your business in front of your customers, these numbers alone tell a story and that’s just the beginning.

Be An Educator 

If we look at the emotional strain involved in a decision like this, it’s pretty intense. It’s certainly not a decision that’s made lightly; there is a lot of research involved.

Within Jay Baer’s book ‘Youtility’, the idea of consumers educating themselves is discussed in a more general context. Jay shares that in 2010, it was found consumers needed 5.3 sources of information before they made a purchasing decision. By 2011, that number increased to 10.4 sources and continues to rise today. Now this was applied across all shopping categories but it’s not a huge step up to say that such a life changing decision required this kind of intense research.

People want and need to understand what this means either for their parents, guardians, friends or indeed themselves. The only way to do that is through education.

By sharing informational and educational resources, you are helping these people to make this decision. When it comes down to deciding residential care is the right way forward, who do you think they’ll trust? Another website showing off why they are the best or a site that has explained all the important information and made them feel at ease with this decision?

Show You Care

Social media is all about building a community. Your goal as the owner of care home is to nurture that community to a point where they feel comfortable enough to engage with you.

Nobody likes doing business with other businesses but they will do ‘business’ with their friends, their family and other people that they trust. Traditional marketing doesn’t work because it’s so impersonal. This is personal and the way you create a shift in consumer behaviour is by getting on the same page as they. You have to understand the emotion and be able to relate to that.

Quite simply, you have to care.

When people feel like you really have their best interests at heart, they are much more likely to trust in your message, your mission and your intentions.

So how do you do that?

It may seem obvious but the number one way you can show care on social media is to respond. You have to respond to every question and very comment made whether it’s positive or negative. Listen to what people are saying or asking and address it straight on.

Even if you are receiving negative feedback, you can very easily turn this to your advantage. You can find out how by clicking here.

Having someone respond to comments and questions quickly makes family members feel like their concerns are important. It shows both potential residents and resident family members that your business is always there if they have questions or concerns. That kind of attention goes a long way towards building trust, good will and loyalty.

The bottom line is that on social media it comes down to being helpful, honest and human.

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Be The Real Deal

Let’s face it, most businesses talk about the great experience they provide but very few show it. You need to show it and social media is the perfect place you can do that.

If you have games at 3pm every Thursday, have games at 3pm every Thursday and let your online audience participate too. Talk about your resident’s victories.

Show the culture, community and family life created by bringing your staff, your residents and your online following together. Have fun. Share great stories and talk about good times. Turn your Facebook Page or your Twitter account into a place where people enjoy spending their time. If you can entertain online, you make people want to be part of that experience and all those initial concerns (that you’ve addressed through education) drift away.

If you can build a relationship with these people before they are residents, you create life long partnerships, friendships and clients.

The best part of all of this is that it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Social media provides an incredible platform full of exciting opportunities.

Embrace them! :)

Sources:

Jay Baer, Youtility (2013)

Med Net Technologies http://www.mednet-tech.com/newsletter/internet-marketing/whats-the-fastest-growing-demographic-on-twitter (May 2014)

Instagram http://instagram.com/grandmabetty33 (Nov 2014)

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