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Answering Digital Questions #5 and #6 from AAHSA

This is the third blog in the 5-week series. Read the original post with all 10 questions. Or read answers to Questions #1 and #2, and Questions #3 and #4.

Q5: Which social media tactic should I use first?
(Answered by Randy Eilts, Director of Public Relations)

Quite honestly, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. Using social media is about creating communities and opening up conversations. I do have a few favorites, and so will share those thoughts with you.

I recommend starting with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is sort of like going to one big giant chamber mixer. It is a professional networking site and a great way to let people know what business you’re in and the role you play. LinkedIn is like walking into a room and giving your 30-second elevator speech. It’s a tool to get in front of professionals and adult child influencers. And, if the media is ever looking for a resource, LinkedIn offers them a way to find you. So think about creating a profile for your community or your organization, and be sure to list all your top-level executives and directors. Then create profile pages for all those individuals. Getting their names on the web and associated with your organization will help add credibility and awareness.

Establishing a blog is another social media tactic to consider. Regular postings on your blog are a great way to share insights about your community and the type of lifestyle you offer. You and your community have a lot of valuable information you can and should share. Why not become a resource beyond the physical sense and make a more virtual presence? Once you’ve established a blog, make sure there is easy access to it via the home page of your web site. Again, you’re generating awareness, facilitating interaction and adding credibility for your community. And don’t forget that adding fresh content to your site on a regular basis helps with search engine optimization.

There are certainly many others social media outlets to consider: YouTube (do you have videos you could post today?), Facebook (there are a growing number of older adults using this), and Twitter (mostly used by adult child influencers at this point). If I had my way, I’d say go for all them … but then I know that’s not realistic, and here’s why: It takes time to manage all this.

Social media can be time-consuming if you let it. I’ll address time management in my next entry.

Q6: Who manages social media?
(Answered by Randy Eilts, Director of Public Relations)

There are varying opinions about who should be in charge of monitoring social media for a senior living community. Who will be doing the postings?

It’s very tempting to sit and watch the dynamics of a Facebook or Twitter account … but the fact of the matter is, there is still work to be done. Not to say that this isn’t part of an overall communications strategy … just don’t let it consume you.

If in your opinion that it’s your job to be selling … then you shouldn’t be the person working on the social media aspect of your community. Perhaps an executive director or a community relations person could handle the duties. Make it simple, set aside 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning of each day and again toward the end of the day. This allows you to follow up with any comments posted or to post something new. If you have a blog, don’t be overly ambitious. Start with a posting once a week. As you get into it a bit more, increase to maybe twice a week.

Remember, it takes time to see any results. But as you gain followers, friends and readers, you are adding to the overall credibility of your community. And that, in the long run, goes a very long way.

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