Readers of this blog have been asking if blogging is good for marketing senior housing. Social media has exploded in recent years and definitely has impacted the way people communicate and gather information. It’s impacting how seniors interact, too. Most boomers and seniors who use social media read and occasionally comment on blogs, watch online video, listen to podcasts, read and contribute to online ratings, according to a study by Forrester Research. A growing number are joining social networking web sites such as Facebook. Retirement communities should not abandon tried-and-true tactics in reaching prospective residents, yet social media is a way for communities to enhance and build upon their efforts.
There are a number of ways retirement communities can use social media to generate awareness and visibility among a variety of audiences. However, you need a plan and a commitment. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc., can be very effective tools, but they are just that – tools.
- Do you want to engage seniors, adult children influencers or professional influencers?
- Do you want to “talk” or just listen to what people are saying and comment when appropriate?
- Managing your social media endeavors is the hardest part! Who is responsible for updates?
- If you blog, can you commit to posting at least once a week, if not more often? What’s the plan for responding to comments – positive and negative? How will you promote your blog?
Another question: What are the success measures? If you get involved in social media today, you probably won’t get many followers right away. However, success accrues over time and may occur in small doses across several forums. Social media monitoring and analytics are critical to seeing progress.
So, is blogging a good way to market a retirement community? I would broaden that question to ask if social media overall is a good way to market a retirement community. The base of seniors and boomers who use social media will continue to grow. The communities that are the early adopters will be the ones to benefit from the earliest returns. Social media can reinforce transparency, bring your community to life online and enable communities to engage decision makers in ways they couldn’t do just 2-3 years ago. Those are all incredible benefits. But there is a price – not necessarily in the form of a big price tag, but in time and a commitment to stick with it. If you are ready to make social media a routine part of your day, then it’s a great way to market a retirement community.