Senior Living, Social Media

Leveraging Social Media Trends for Your Senior Community

Mackenzie Fraser, Senior Vice President

We’ve previously discussed the role of social media as a strategic bridge that links your senior living community with potential residents and their families. This connection goes beyond merely serving as a digital platform for accumulating likes and followers. Instead, it’s a powerful tool designed to significantly boost your community’s visibility, enhance its overall reputation and strengthen its influence as a brand in a competitive senior living market.

That’s only if you post consistently and provide compelling content that attracts and engages potential and current residents. To avoid doing the same old thing and to set yourself apart, take advantage of a few current social media trends.

Just like everything, fads and platforms come and go in the social media world. Remember Vine? MySpace? Just as those platforms faded, others will come and go. Additionally, social networks frequently update their functionalities, modify algorithms and phase out unpopular features. It’s essential to stay informed and adaptable.

While seniors may not be as quick to adapt to new technologies as younger generations, it’s encouraging to see their Internet and social media skills on the rise. Platforms like Facebook and YouTube are popular among adults over 65, and an increasing number are exploring Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok, underscoring the importance of leveraging social media to connect with your senior community.

The approach to social media marketing has also evolved from constant promotion to strategies focused on community building, providing valuable information and sharing content that resonates with your audience. This shift is crucial to understand and implement, as it allows you to engage with your community on a deeper level and provide them with content that is truly valuable to them.

Here are five tactics that can boost your community’s social media effectiveness in 2024:

1. Augmented Reality (AR): Move beyond traditional virtual tours by integrating AR. You’ll enable potential residents to explore your community through a blend of real-world and digital elements directly from social media platforms using their smartphones or AR glasses. Some features to include:

  • An interactive map with clickable icons for different areas, such as the dining room, gardens, common areas and homes.
  • When users focus on a particular area, they can receive real-time information about current activities, such as mealtimes in the dining room or events in the activity center.
  • Features like opening doors, changing the decor or watching short clips of community life (e.g., a video of a yoga class or a birthday celebration) will make the experience more engaging.

2. Interactive Content: Interactive content like quizzes, polls and virtual sessions are not new concepts in digital marketing, but they continue to be successful at engaging audiences on social media. Examples include:

  • Quizzes that deliver personalized results, such as “Discover Your Retirement Personality,” could give you opportunities to suggest specific amenities or activities in your community.
  • Polls can make your audience feel heard and can foster a sense of ownership among potential residents.
  • Virtual sessions, during which followers can ask questions, interact with residents or staff and see live demonstrations, will engage prospects and build trust.

3. Relevant & Personalized Content: Your social media content must be laser-focused on your target audience of seniors in their 60s and beyond, addressing their specific needs and interests. The same goes for your other target audience: adult children of seniors whose needs and interests differ from their parents’.

  • Seniors: Seniors are looking for content that speaks directly to their lifestyle, health and interests. Topics such as health and wellness, retirement planning, leisure activities and community living are particularly relevant.
  • Adult Children: Adult children are often concerned with the safety, health and overall well-being of their aging parents. They look for content that assures them of the quality and reliability of the senior living options they’re considering.

4. Video: Video content continues to be a powerful tool on social media. For senior living communities, leveraging both long- and short-form videos can significantly enhance engagement and provide more immersive insight into what life is like within the community. Consider that 60% or more of adults over 65 use YouTube.

  • Video Length: Taking into account that 66% of viewers will watch the entirety of a video if it’s 60 seconds or less, video should be short, punchy and visually arresting to grab attention from passive scrollers.
  • Video Quality: Integrating video into your social strategy doesn’t have to be a heavy lift. Your audience appreciates genuine stories from real people, and this can be done in several ways that don’t require a film crew, expensive equipment and a big budget.
    • You can begin by shooting video or photos with your smartphone. User-friendly editing tools are accessible for free or at low cost through subscriptions. They enable you to enhance your content with graphics, text, logos and other brand elements, giving it a more polished look.
    • Present  your community in the best light by using sharp visuals, clear audio and captions and ensure that your final asset meets the specifications for the platforms on which it will be viewed.
  • Video Content Ideas:
    • Long-Form Video: Documentary-style “day in the life” tours, themed events, Q&A events, behind-the-scenes.
    • Short-Form Video: Quick tours of apartment homes, downsizing and decorating tips, resident testimonials, activity highlights, fitness and health how-to videos, cooking demonstrations, capturing small moments (friends talking over lunch).

5. Influencers, Advocates and Brand Ambassadors: Tapping into influencers, particularly “granfluencers” (senior influencers), resident ambassadors and local community groups, is a fantastic strategy for senior living communities looking to build awareness and credibility on social media. You will be able to provide diverse and engaging content for your community and build trust with your target audience.

  • Granfluencers can come from within the community and can visually share their participation in activities, their daily routine, hobbies or highlights of the community.
  • Advocates include local community groups that can post content that shows how your community interacts locally. Partner with local experts who can host talks tailored to seniors, such as historical events or gardening tips.
  • Brand ambassadors are enthusiastic advocates—whether a resident, associate or community member—who actively promote and embody the community’s values, experiences and lifestyle.

To kickstart this strategy, you need a plan: Define goals, select platforms and outline content details, posting frequency and measurement metrics. Success hinges on engaging ideal influencers, advocates and brand ambassadors to share compelling content and convey the community’s story effectively.

It’s clear that staying attuned to the latest trends and strategically leveraging them is crucial. By using augmented reality, video and influencer content, your community can offer engaging and personalized experiences that attract seniors and their families, leads and, ultimately, new residents.

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