Derek Dunham

As some communities began to loosen restrictions, we all came together virtually for roundtable #12 to share our challenges and successes. Cara Stefchak, our senior social media strategist, shared tips on using social media during COVID-19.

Check out the highlights of our discussion below. Please also join us for our next sales & marketing roundtable, coming up this week.

Social Media discussion

  • What we heard last week
    • Mental health remains a challenge for residents.
    • Communities are gathering testimonials from residents (virtual resident panels).
    • Lifestyle is a focus in marketing. (There is an opportunity to  enjoy amenities while social distancing.)
    • Virtual presentations, tours and open houses are happening.
    • “Old-school” messages still apply for prospects: Safety and security are key.
    • Let’s talk about what these could look like in the social space.
  • Mental health
    • Opportunity to hold events that bring the community “together” and showcase initiatives you’re doing to keep spirits up.
    • Capture some moments from events your community may be hosting to use as social content: virtual happy hours, performances, socially distant activities, etc.
  • Think: What moments are coming up that we can use to surprise and delight our community?
    • First day of summer
      • Delivery of summer flowers
      • Virtual happy hour with a summery cocktail
    • Father’s Day
      • Meal delivery to dads
      • Special offer on any services for dads
      • Entertainment or activity to honor the day
    • Capture and share these efforts on social!
  • Virtual events
    • Whether it’s programming for current residents or information for prospective members, both can be promoted on social.
    • Promote online events on your Facebook page, or even set up as an event on Facebook so people can invite others and get a reminder as the event approaches.
      • Before: Provide the event details, topic, any relevant RSVP information needed.
      • Before: As the event gets closer, and even the day of, send out a reminder.
      • Before: If there are special speakers, encourage them to share and promote the event on their own social channels (encourages sign-ups and introduces your community to new eyes!).
      • After: Any high-level takeaways you can share? #ICYMI
      • After: Encourage people to follow the page so they can be the first to know about future events happening that they can join!
  • Open houses
    • Open houses done virtually allow so many prospects who may not be in your footprint right now to be able to take a tour.
    • You can either capture them on video (with your phone!) to post after the fact or use Facebook’s livestream feature for a more real-time approach.
      • Tours of rooms, common areas (resident or staff tour guides)
      • A walk around the community (showcase amenities and landscape)
      • Interview a resident (prep him or her beforehand)
      • Not sure what to show? Using Facebook’s polling feature, ask your prospects what spaces or people they want to see or learn more about.
  • COVID-19
    • Do you have a blog program in place on your website? If so, develop content that speaks to this time and link to it on social.
      • Examples of blog topics that can be promoted on your social feeds:
        • With current residents in mind:
          • How to Stay Active at Home
          • Staying Connected While Keeping Socially Distant
          • The Importance of Self-care in Senior Living
          • Five Virtual Ways to Celebrate Dad During Father’s Day
        • With prospective/future residents in mind
          • Planning for Your Future in Uncertain Time
          • Five Amenities Available Right in Your Footprint
          • Tips for Downsizing and Moving During COVID-19
    • Use your social platforms to provide the latest updates and protocol as they relate to your communities.
    • Over half of U.S. adults are getting at least some information about COVID-19 from social media (eMarketer).
    • Filter your content through the lens of: How can we be a resource for people right now?
    • Don’t be afraid to pull the curtain back to show what changes look like in your community. Be transparent.
    • As services begin to open up and visitation measures get more defined, paint that picture on social of what it looks like for your community.
      • Communicate updates
      • Continue to push resources
      • Show what they look like in practice
      • Talk about your safety and security services
    • It helps current residents stay informed and shows prospects that you’re on top of things.
  • What are communities hearing from their social communities right now?
    • When we shoot videos, we put them on YouTube and link to them on Facebook. We’ve had 127 page followers since COVID-19 started. We’ve never done so many videos. My goal is to show people at home how our residents are not socially isolated. People think our residents have to stay in their rooms (which is not true), so this is a way to show them out riding their bikes and enjoying life.
    • I love the personal virtual tour! It lends a personality to the tour. It’s all about building a relationship with the prospect.
    • Facebook is the best platform for senior living (if you were to pick just one). The other platforms skew a bit younger, which may not be the best fit. Facebook is an appropriate place to be playing.
    • LinkedIn is more for corporate messaging and recruiting (vs. outreach for prospects).
    • Facebook and Instagram are the biggest opportunities for general reach/audience.
      • Instagram allows for video content wonderfully; it’s a very visual platform.
    • Pinterest is a discovery platform. People are coming here looking for inspiration, DIY items, general wellness content (which may be appropriate for our space). We haven’t seen any senior living organizations on Pinterest, but it could be interesting.
    • Ideas discussed:
      • Featuring different team members on social media to explain their roles
      • Virtual tours so prospects can see your community
      • Sharing relevant news articles on your social channel — you don’t need to build from nothing; include other sources
      • Advice that residents would give to graduates
      • Social space is moving toward user-generated content vs. high-quality, produced content. Taking photos with your iPhone is perfectly acceptable.
  • Questions for the group
    • Is anyone doing any off-campus events?
      • It doesn’t appear that any other communities on the call had done so yet.
      • If doing this, be sure to tag the event space (example: a botanical garden) in your social media post pre- and post-event to expand your audience reach.

Join the next roundtable on June 18!

You are welcome to join our next roundtable discussion on Thursday, June 18, at 12 p.m. ET.

You don’t have to be a client to join — all are welcome. For call-in information, email DDunham@VarsityBranding.com.