Have you held off on diving into the deep end of social media? If so, you’re not alone. With an audience that trends older, senior living communities historically have not been first in line to try out new marketing methods.
But these days, social media has become an integral part of most marketing plans. No matter your audience, they are on social media. From gaining insights into your prospective residents to increasing traffic to your website, easily sharing content, and building your brand, social media has become a critical marketing tool for an increasing number of communities.
If you’re ready to try your hand at social media, consider these tips to start strong, build your audience and begin establishing your presence.
Set Clear Goals
Before you open an account and start posting, take time to develop objectives for your social media presence. What do you hope to accomplish? Different goals will require a variety of strategies, tactics and resources.
Try to be as concrete as possible with any goals you set so that you can later measure your success and adjust your strategy as needed. If you hope to increase traffic to your website, what’s a realistic goal for the percentage improvement you’d like to see over a given period?
Define Your Audience
As is the case in just about every form of marketing, segmenting your audience will be necessary for a successful social media presence. Knowing that you’re attempting to reach seniors is not specific enough to get real results.
Different segments of your market may frequent certain social media platforms more than others and may respond to different messages and delivery formats.
Choose Platforms Judiciously
Once your social media train leaves the station, you may be tempted to sign up for all the platforms at once. Resist the urge, and try to start small. Choosing just one platform to start is a good idea; that first foray will serve as a test that can improve your results when you venture onto other platforms.
Most communities start with Facebook, and that’s where most of your prospects are likely to be. After your community is established on Facebook, think strategically about your next platform. For example, LinkedIn may work well for reaching adult children of your prospects or individuals who have not yet retired.
Designate a Social Media Manager
Before you start, you need to know a key piece of information: Who in your organization will manage your social media presence? Beginning your social media efforts without a definitive plan for how accounts will be updated and managed likely will result in a dearth of content going forward.
If you don’t have the manpower within your organization to handle full-time content generation and account management for all your social media platforms, consider outsourcing to an agency like Walker Marketing.
Create a Content Schedule
Once you’ve established your presence on social media, it’s critical to post content on a regular basis. Quality is definitely better than sheer quantity, but you will need to maintain a certain level of volume to attract followers and keep them engaged.
Generating ideas, researching, writing, editing and posting content takes time; to ensure that interesting and useful content is added to your platforms regularly, consider creating a schedule for several months out. Track topics, deadlines and the party responsible for managing the content flow as well as responding to feedback from your followers.
Keep Profiles Consistent
As you set up new social media accounts, you’ll want to make sure that your basic profile information is consistent. For instance, if you list the names of your board of directors, you’ll need to make sure the list is updated on every platform when members change.
Integrate with Other Marketing Materials
One of the most important purposes of a social media campaign is to reinforce your other marketing channels. If you have a strong website, your social media presence should drive traffic to strategically chosen pages, and your magazine ad may encourage people to visit you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. Social media should be part of a cohesive effort to establish and reinforce your brand at every opportunity.
Social media changes constantly and you can always learn more about the best ways to use it to optimize advantages for your community. By setting clear goals and generating interesting content, you’ll be off to a productive start.