Research has shown that many aging adults would like to remain in the communities they are familiar with, but 32 percent say they could be convinced to move if they could find a place that offers better recreational activities. This means that in addition to all the wellness benefits a well-crafted life enrichment calendar offers, it can also help bring in residents.
But how do you advertise your programming effectively? In many cases, social media is the answer. More and more, prospective residents and their families use it to guide their research. And when leveraged as part of your marketing strategy, social media can amplify and support the goals and values of your senior living community.
Here’s how your community can distinguish itself from the pack with social media that comes straight from your life enrichment efforts.
4 Dos of Social Media for Life Enrichment Staff
Social media seems easy in theory. You post content. You like other posts. You scroll. But if the goal is to turn serial scrollers into residents, you need a game plan. Maybe you hire a marketing firm. Maybe you go the DIY route. Whatever your approach, keep these four tips in mind.
- DO keep things visual. Engaging photos and videos are at the heart of almost all social media. Potential residents and their adult children are scrolling through tons of content each day, so it pays to choose images that will catch their eyes.
- DO consider the platform. The most popular social media for older adults are Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. It’s a good idea to meet potential residents where they are, but keep in mind that each platform encourages slightly different engagement. Optimize your posts for each platform so that they have the best chance of reaching prospective residents. This includes making sure your images are sized correctly.
- DO post regularly. Most, if not all, social media algorithms reward consistent posting, although each platform is slightly different. Experts warn that there is no “magic formula,” but there are some best practices guidelines. The sweet spot of Facebook, for example, is one or two times a day.
- DO act authentically. Experts warn that overly staged, inauthentic social media posts can turn off prospective residents. “Prospective residents are often looking for reasons not to move in,” they say, “rather than reasons a community is a good fit.”
In sum, you need a consistent supply of engaging, authentic visual content in order to reach people on social media. Want to see this approach in action? Look no further than the account @seniorlivingstories. Each post highlights a different part of senior living, from favorite salon routines to residents sharing sage advice to recreational activities like swimming competitions (Figure 1).
Figure 1: A video from the account @seniorlivingstories that depicts an impressive 1,500M swim from a 100-year-old senior living resident
Sourcing or shooting videos like this might seem difficult. But that’s where your Community Engagement platform comes in.
The Best Social Media Content Comes from Your Community (Engagement Platform)
A community engagement platform is a resident-facing portal that allows users to browse and sign up for the life enrichment activities you’ve carefully planned and managed in your activity calendar platform, like our Calendar Central.
You may already know that community engagement platforms are one-stop shops for residents to interact with their community and fellow community members. From almost any device and any location, residents can plan their own social calendars by making dinner reservations, signing up for activities, and even creating their own events (movie night, anyone?).
But community engagement platforms can also function as video and photo-sharing hubs for residents – where they can memorialize everything from weekly brunches to holiday chapel services. And because these platforms foster social connections between residents in this way, you and other life enrichment staff members can share those images and videos to your community’s social media pages.
Our Community Engagement platform makes this easy with a Community Feed that allows residents to discuss topics, share restaurant recommendations, or post images in a forum-like setting. Staff members can then log into Community Engagement and share a post asking residents if they have any photos from events they attended. Alternatively, residents can share images directly with staff via the messaging tab.
Here are some helpful ways to encourage participation from your residents:
- Automatically create a post on the Community Feed specifically for photos from each life enrichment activity on the calendar.
- Host a photo contest. Staff can even create themes for submissions like “Best Candid Shot” or “Silliest Face.”
- Have staff upload the photos they’ve taken at events and ask residents to vote on their favorites.
- Take and post photos of resident creations for hands-on activities, like painting and gardening.
Now you have a steady supply of compelling, authentic imagery to craft into social media posts. Just make sure you get permission from your residents before you post photos online.
Senior Living Technology Supports Social Media Marketing
The best senior living communities recognize the multi-dimensional value their life enrichment programs bring to their community. That’s because a robust program doesn’t just attract residents; it can also serve as the bedrock for an authentic social media presence.
A Community Engagement Platform is already designed to increase social participation and satisfaction in senior living communities. Leveraging it to promote social participation outside the community is just another way you can drive more value out of your senior living technology.