Use Strategy to Build a Successful Social Marketing Plan

The rise of social media has opened new doors and created new opportunities for senior living providers to expand their “touches” with both current and prospective customers and their families. For an industry whose “product” is highly personalized and relationship based, this should be welcomed news. Social media marketing provides an excellent platform for building and cultivating relationships and then solidifying those relationships once they are established.

Harnessing the Power of Social Media

Social marketing has the potential to transform a “facility” into a vibrant living environment in the minds of consumers and the adult children of senior residents who are frequently the shoppers and key participants in the decision making process. For example, an adult daughter working in South Carolina can look forward to checking out the latest news of the day on the Facebook page of her mom’s assisted living community in suburban Boston. Mom might even be pictured in their daily Instagram! And the daughter can remind mom of an upcoming outdoor concert posted on the site. Clearly, social media has the power to build key relationships by sharing relevant information and visuals in a way that connects on a very personal level.

What is the Right Mix?

But with the numerous and growing number of social media outlets today, how does one determine the right “mix” to help your community thrive and grow? Fortunately for those senior living providers at the early stages of the learning curve, there are expert resources available that can get you up and running. They can match your marketing goals with the best available social marketing options and create a plan that optimizes performance and cost efficiency. But just as with more conventional forms of marketing, your correct social media mix will depend on your organization’s strategic goals.

In his article, Your Social Media Marketing Initiatives Must Start with Strategy, author Stephen Monaco points out that companies must create a plan for the strategic use of social media for the same reason they must have a business plan. Your strategy will serve as a blueprint for determining the social media for the needs of your community and your customers.

A Social Marketing Strategy Is Vital to Your Success

As Mr. Monaco says, “Social media marketing is not a magic potion. It’s a very necessary component of the marketing mix. Just like all the other components in the marketing mix, strategies must always come before tactics.” The end objective is to apply the various social marketing options and tactics in an optimal manner to achieve your business goals.

Align Social Media Marketing Strategies with Your Business Objectives

Aligning social media marketing with your business strategy makes the connection between business goals and the processes required to achieve those goals. To be effective, social media marketing strategies need to be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, and time sensitive.

Mr. Monaco states, “The strategy should make it crystal clear how all social media marketing initiatives will specifically assist or are directly connected to your defined business objectives.”

Examples of social media marketing goals might include:

  • Filling all seats/tables at an upcoming special event.
  • Increasing the number of people who request your e-newsletters by 50%.
  • Doubling the number of prospects who go to your “Request a Tour” landing page.

Once you determine your social marketing tactics, i.e. creating a blog to improve your SEO rankings or using Facebook to increase public interaction with your brand, it is critical to monitor how your initiatives are performing.

Criteria for Success

In his article, Mr. Monaco discusses the methods to evaluate progress during social media marketing campaigns. He says, “Victories” may be characterized as…

  • Increases in the number of retweets on Twitter.
  • Increases in the number of new leads generated for the sales team.
  • Increases in the number of new visitors, page views, and time spent on the company website.
  • Increases in positive comments on blog posts or your Facebook page.

Implications for Senior Living Providers

Today, social marketing is an increasingly important tool in the highly competitive senior living industry. Designed to increase opportunities for social interaction and more personalized forms of communications, strategy-based social marketing plans can be highly effective in putting a more human face on your “facility”, engaging your customers and prospects, and building trust and confidence in your brand.

If your organization requires additional support to develop a high-performance social marketing strategy, be sure to look for an experienced organization that operates exclusively in the senior living space and has the specialized expertise and experience in senior living sales, marketing and operations required to succeed.

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