For a number of reasons, in order to build census, long-term care facilities can no longer rely heavily on faxing over avails and dropping off cookies to the hospital discharge planner.
Instead, new tactics must be considered to win over a different audience. New channels that will reach and influence the decision maker BEFORE the care decision making process starts – the Baby Boomer adult children of prospective patients.
One channel worthy of taking a look at – social media giant Facebook.
- 45% of Adults 60 plus use Facebook on a regular basis (Pew Research).
- Adults 60 plus are Facebook’s largest growing audience – increasing more than 80% since 2011 (istrategylabs).
- The top 4 online destinations for Adults 60 plus are (in order) Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube (AARP).
- Baby Boomers spend more time online than do Millennials – an average of 27 hours per week compared to 25 hours per week (WSL).
A few more reasons to consider Facebook:
- Familiarity – Marketers should personally use it to professionally understand and successfully execute it – and most do.
- Interaction – Baby Boomers are accustomed to one-on-one interaction, and Facebook, unlike traditional media which is more of a one-way communication channel, affords this opportunity.
But before a page is created and posts and pics are added, it is important to understand:
1. All media efforts – whether social or traditional – should be used as a tactic to accomplish a marketing objective, and should tie back to the overall strategic plan. Just because Facebook is “exciting”, or a magazine is running a special, or an event would be fun to participate – does not mean it is a good idea. All efforts must connect back to the company’s overall plan for success.
2. A social media policy must be established. This is imperative regardless of whether or not your facility participates in social media marketing, as employees, patient families, volunteers, and visitors are all present and can bring your facility along with them – for good or bad. With the guidance of HR and Legal, clear rules and boundaries must be developed, shared and documented with all of the above audiences – especially employees. Clear rules and examples of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable must be shared through a variety of channels including online, in social media, new employee/volunteer orientation, in-house signage, communication with family, etc.
Still wondering how posts and pics can benefit your facility? Facebook offers opportunities to:
- Build trusting relationships with decision makers
- Establish expertise in the industry or in a specific niche
- Influence decision makers
- Humanize your brand
- Keep families and friends up to date with your facility (i.e. new activities, renovations, etc)
- Increase traffic to your website
- Monitor and manage your online reputation
- Generate leads
- Recruit new employees
- Retain employees
- Acknowledge volunteers
- Better inform patient families and employees during weather events, crisis situations, etc.
If any of these can help you accomplish your marketing objectives and overall strategic plan, then Facebook deserves consideration as part of your marketing efforts.
If you have questions about how to set up a Facebook page for your facility, or about content, social media policy, or strategy, contact Lori Moore at TotalCom Marketing.