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Senior Living Marketing: Which Digital Tools Are Most Influential?


Mar 26, 2013 | Social Media & Online

Which marketing tactics are most influential in shaping consumers’ perceptions and moving them to a purchase decision? Senior living providers often struggle with making informed decisions about which media and tactics to employ to most successfully achieve their marketing objectives. A newly released report on the subject sheds some interesting light on the question.

New Study Assesses Strengths of Various Marketing Tools

Technorati Media recently published the results of their 2013 Digital Influence Report. The Technorati study was based on the results of surveys conducted in the fourth quarter of 2012 among 1,200 consumers, 150 top brand marketers, and 6,000 digital influencers.

The study found that blogs are more influential than social networks in shaping consumers’ opinions and purchase decisions. Despite this finding, organizations appear to be investing more on other social channels, particularly Facebook, than on blogging. In terms of overall marketing options used when making decisions about what to buy, consumers rank blogs as the third most influential digital resource (31.1%), behind retail sites (56%) and brand sites (34%).

However, as Lenna Garibian points out in her MarketingProfs article, Digital Influence: Blogs Beat Social Networks for Driving Purchases, social networks do play a role in influencing purchases: 30.8% of consumers surveyed cite Facebook as an influential source; 27% cite YouTube; 27% cite LinkedIn; and 20% cite Google+.

Reasons Why Consumers Follow Brands on Social Media

Ms. Garibian says consumers engage with brands via social networking sites for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Facebook users tend to “like” brands to learn about products and services (56%), keep up with brand-related activities (52%), and follow sweepstakes and promos (48%); additionally, 32% interact with brands to provide feedback about products, services or processes.
  • Twitter users follow brands primarily to keep up with their activities (57%) and learn about products and services (47%); some 27% do so to provide feedback.
  • YouTube users engage with brands mostly to learn about products and services (61%), keep up with brand-related activities (41%), and provide feedback (23%).
  • Pinterest users follow brands primarily to learn about products and services (56%), keep up with brand activities (35%), and for sweepstakes/promos (28%).
  • Instagram users follow brands to keep up with brand-related activities (41%), learn more about products and services (39%), and make purchases (27%).

Expenditures on Digital and Social Media

Overall, top brands are spending three quarters of their digital budget on display advertising (41%), search optimization (19%), and video content (14%). By contrast, spending on social media channels constitutes only about 10% of brands’ digital marketing expenditures. Of that 10%, Facebook accounts for the greatest share (57%) of the social media expenditure, and YouTube and Twitter each account for 13% share of spending.

Implications for Senior Living Providers

Thanks to the explosion of electronic media, there are many more opportunities today to communicate with and engage your key constituents. Each of these options has its own unique set of strengths and limitations. And while it can seem very confusing to senior living leaders, it remains critically important in our highly competitive environment to make the most effective and efficient choices when creating a cohesive, multi-channel marketing strategy.

Clearly, blogs and social media such as Facebook have become more mainstream and should be considered as viable options in the expanding marketing continuum. Establishing clear marketing objectives for each of your various key constituents, e.g. prospective residents, their adult children and referral sources, and identifying the communications options each typically uses for information, will help you begin the process of building an optimal marketing plan. When assistance is needed in discerning and creating the best strategy for your community, marketing organizations that focus exclusively on the senior living market can be most helpful.

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