17 Jan 2019

Senior living communities wanting to boost their presence on social media should be strategic about which platforms they use.

There are many choices, but not every social media platform will match your message — or reach the people you most want. Which one best fits?

Here’s a platform-by-platform look at your options:

Facebook:
Purpose:
Sharing content
Strength: Size
Demographics: Reflects U.S. population better than most platforms 

From its reach alone, you should consider including Facebook in your senior living social media marketing plan. Seniors are its fastest-growing demographic and many of their kids and grandkids are already there.

Facebook loves highlighting relationships, so it’s perfect for showing off your community. Encourage residents to share your posts and share theirs, too. Celebrate milestones and achievements. Let page visitors see a happy, vibrant place.

Many seniors worry about Facebook’s privacy, so always get permission and be careful about what your content reveals. You may want to use first names only to protect your residents.


YouTube:
Purpose: Videos
Strength: Universality
Demographics: Young, but older demo growing fast

YouTube is huge worldwide, but most users see it as a media player and not as a traditional social network. Consider uploading all in-house videos — virtual tours, staff profiles, amenities — here while embedding them elsewhere and directing queries to your website.


LinkedIn:
Purpose: Business contacts
Strength: Reputation
Demographics: Younger, educated professionals

LinkedIn is about building business connections, and its use for referrals and recruiting alone should justify a senior community having a page and posting occasional business-related content. While in low use among retirees, it’s the second-most popular platform among those 50-64. Its user base is also more affluent.


Instagram:
Purpose: Photo sharing
Strength: Mobile-friendly, growth
Demographics: Skews young

The fastest-growing social network, Instagram is now used by nearly a third of U.S. adults. However, younger folks make up most of that, and only 20 percent of the 50+ demo uses it.

Still, senior communities shouldn’t ignore Instagram’s surge. If it follows the pattern of its corporate parent Facebook, older users should eventually find their way to Instagram. Most Facebook content is also easily repurposed here.


Twitter:
Purpose: Broadcasting succinct messages
Strength: Speed
Demographics: Skews younger

Twitter is even less popular among older people, with just 18 percent of 50-to 64-year-olds using it — and 8 percent of 65+.

Typical Twitter messages have short shelf lives, so it may be best-suited for announcing programs, expansions, tours and other events to the public. Think of it as an online version of a signboard out front.


Pinterest:
Purpose: Curating collections
Strength: Simplicity, focus
Demographics: Female, upper income

Pinterest is a digital bulletin board that lets users save and share content in themed collections.

Content is often inspirational and motivational, such as home remodeling ideas.

A senior living community could showcase its units, amenities or special programs, while sharing residents’ gardening, cooking, crafting, fitness ideas even resident pets.


Snapchat and What’sApp:
Purpose: Instant messaging
Strength: Ease of use
Demographics: Young adults

Snapchat and What’sApp are instant person-to-person communications tools popular with younger users. Snapchat famously designs its messages to vanish shortly after reading. What’sApp offers secure end-to-end encryption.

While their functions and younger demographics don’t lend themselves to extensive senior living marketing campaigns, they could be outlets for fielding questions from prospects and families.