At first you might think to yourself “Social media marketing? My customers aren’t using social media!” But you’d be wrong…on two counts.
First, according to the Pew Research Center, Internet use among those 65 and older grew 150 percent between 2009 and 2011, the largest growth in a demographic group. Furthermore, their 2012 study showed that of those that go online, 71 percent do so daily and 34 percent use social media!
The elderly use social media to bridge the gap between them and their loved ones that live far away and as a way to reconnect with friends from their past. Studies show that the internet has become an important method for reducing isolation, loneliness and other symptoms.
Second, 77 percent of people in their thirties or forties, and 51 percent of those from 50 to 64 are active on social media. That means children of aging parents needing care are using social media as well. Baby boomers’ Millennial children consider social media a way of life, and are typically the ones responsible for finding home care for an aging parent, and helping them navigate the home care process themselves.
All of this makes it increasingly important for your home care agency to have a social media presence (and really, a social media marketing strategy) in order to reach these potential clients and their families.
Unless you have been living in a cave – on Saturn – for the last 10 years, you probably know the main players in social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram. But which social media sites are the best fit for your company?
Facebook is certainly the most important social media outlet for your company to have. More and more retirees are on Facebook to stay in the loop, and many of their children and grandchildren have Facebook accounts as well. In fact, in today’s world, a company is considered out of touch or behind the times if they don’t have a Facebook page.
A good Facebook page will have your company’s name, address, telephone number, website URL, an email address, and information about what your company offers. You are also able to include photos, videos, and updates on your page. It is important that you keep your page fresh with industry news, company updates, and tips for family members, so that users have a reason to keep coming back to your page. Facebook is also a great way to interact with potential clients, so be sure to be responsive and thorough when replying to comments and inquiries.
Twitter allows users to create mini posts (140 characters or less) and to read a constantly updated stream of information from sources that interest them. It is known for its interactivity with large groups of users with similar interests. While Twitter may not be the best way to advertise directly to your potential clients, it is an ideal way to brand your company as an expert in the home care industry, especially. By posting home care information, using hashtags, starting conversations with industry players, and talking to others interested in home care, you can make a name for your company as a trusted and valuable resource.
You don’t need to take our word on the value of LinkedIn, take Microsoft’s, as they just purchased LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion! LinkedIn is ideally suited for B2B marketing and recruiting. It is a great place to find and form relationships with potential referral sources. You may also want to use LinkedIn as part of your recruiting and hiring efforts since their platform is geared toward connecting professionals.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the main reason we recommend utilizing Google+ in your social strategy. While search engine rankings take many social factors into consideration, Google+ is an especially important social ranking factor. When users “+1” (the equivalent of “liking” on Facebook) a piece of content, this is a signal to Google that your content is relevant and others are interacting with it, which helps influence Google to show your content in search results. While Google+ isn’t the most commonly talked about social platform in the industry, it is one you don’t want to overlook.
Instagram is one of the most popular social media sites, where users post photos to share with the world. Facebook saw its value a few years ago when they purchased it for $1 Billion. Despite the popularity, given the privacy issues and discreet nature of home care, Instagram may not be an obvious choice for your agency. However, if you have clients willing to be photographed (and sign your firm’s permission and consent forms), or employees that can be featured for their dedication to their work, go for it! Instagram certainly can be used for marketing based on your comfort level and ability to keep your page fresh, without compromising anyone’s privacy.
Of course, there are many other social media sites, such as Snapchat and Pinterest, but many of them are still new and untested in today’s market, or simply not appropriate for your home care businesses. Stay tuned for a later post explaining how and why Pinterest can be useful for your home care company’s growth.
If you are looking for further guidance about social media for your home care agency, Providentia Marketing can help you get your social media accounts up and running, and help you establish a strong presence.