Staying social during a time of social distancing is a challenge for all of us, and home care agencies have had to learn how to be creative in connecting with those in need of their services.
Guest blog written by Marissa Snook, President/CEO at corecubed.
Staying social during a time of social distancing is a challenge for all of us, and home care agencies have had to learn how to be creative in connecting with those in need of their services, and to ensure they’re staying at the forefront of their target audience’s mind.
One highly effective tactic is social media, especially Facebook, which has become the third most visited website in the entire world, with 69% of American adults utilizing the platform – including 46% who are at least 65 years old. Seniors are the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook, with a nearly double usage statistic since 2012.
Facebook provides a wonderful way to:
The following steps can help with maximizing your agency’s Facebook presence and extending your reach.
Create a Facebook page that shines
If you’ve not yet set up a business page for your home care agency, there’s no time like the present!
Utilize the “Services” template, include details in the “About” section, and include a call-to-action button so that anyone who wants to contact you to learn more has an easy way to do so. Be sure to include as many details as possible in the “About” section, as this will help optimize your page and allow you to more effectively share your brand personality, differentiators, and information about the services you provide.
Adjust your settings
As the developer and administrator of your agency’s Facebook page, you have control over who can post on your page, as well as what may be posted. You can designate other trusted people to serve as administrators for your page, as well as give others the ability to make edits to the page.
The page settings enable administrators to assign roles for all aspects of the control of the page, including writing and/or deleting posts, creating ads, and viewing insights for administrators, while limiting access to these roles for page editors.
At a minimum, you should make sure your settings reflect that visitor posts require administrator or editor approval prior to publishing, or permit only your designated administrators or editors to add content to your agency’s page.
If you are partnering with a home care marketing firm, be sure to provide them with administrative level control in order for them to effectively manage your agency’s page. It is also always a wise idea to set the profanity setting to “strong” to prevent offensive language.
Make sure your page is consistent with your brand
Your profile picture should be a high-quality image of your logo, with the cover image complementing or matching your website’s hero image, which is the main photo at the top of your website’s home page.
You can include such details as your tagline, any awards or trust marks (such as badges from Home Care Pulse, Caring.com or the Better Business Bureau). Make sure that all images are sized properly and display clearly.
Make the most of online reviews
Online reviews are vitally important in today’s digital world to establish your agency’s trust and expertise.
If you discover, however, that you seem to be receiving more negative reviews than positive ones, you have the option to turn the “Reviews” feature off on your Facebook page. However, receiving several constructive reviews in addition to a greater number of positive ones is to be expected, and showing how you handle negative and critical reviews is key.
Keep an eye on all of your reviews on a regular basis and be sure to respond to all reviews, both positive and negative, immediately and with professionalism, showing that you care while avoiding sounding defensive. Explain your agency’s best practices, and do your best to try to resolve the issue, promising a better future outcome.
It’s also a good idea to share any positive reviews you receive from other credible sources, such as Home Care Pulse, Yelp or Caring.com.
Post content that engages people
Use a variety of posts, including content from your agency’s website such as blog posts, new information that can help those who may be facing a need for care, glowing reviews, celebrations, achievements, and any information about and from your referral sources and the local community.
It’s always a good idea to include pictures and/or videos, following copyright regulations if you’re posting any images you didn’t create. Be sure that privacy is respected by receiving approval prior to posting anything about a client or staff member, and keep in mind that Facebook is meant to serve as a vehicle for collecting and sharing information – not typically a place where buying decisions are made.
If your followers engage with your posts, your future posts stand a better chance of being shown in their Facebook newsfeeds. Your engagement rate will let you know whether your content is resonating with your audience or not.
If fewer than 1% of your audience is engaging with your posts, you might need to reconsider your strategy. Statistically, if you have an engagement rate of 5%, this is considered successful. Whenever someone comments on one of your posts, be sure to respond. You’ll then receive an extended organic reach for that post.
However, you may want to consider creating Facebook ads or boosting certain posts to better position your agency as a leader in the aging care industry, and to gain exposure to those who may not know about your agency and are in your target market.
In fact, Facebook advertising is more important now than ever before, as it’s the largest social network in the world, with as many as 2.7 billion people using Facebook each month as of the second quarter of 2020. And yet, organic reach from business posts is dropping – from around 6.3% reported in 2018 to as low as 6% in 2020. This means that as little as 6% of your Facebook fans (Likes/Follows) are seeing your posts. An effective tactic to maximize engagement with your target audience is a combination of Facebook ads, along with targeting and boosting posts about your educational blogs that include a link back to your agency’s website to read the blogs.
In addition, there are several key considerations to keep in mind that are specific to targeting older adults themselves:
#1: Be clear in the actions you’d like them to take.
“Engagement baiting” is a practice you may see other companies using, but you’ll want to steer clear of it, as Facebook will immediately devalue any posts that are seeking artificial engagement through irrelevant content.
Examples of engagement baiting include: “Tag someone who can relate to this,” “Comment ‘yes’ if this applies to you,” or “Share and tag three friends!”
Try instead to encourage your followers to participate in meaningful discussions by using prompts such as, “What are your thoughts on this?” or “Has this ever happened to you?”
#2: Be clear in the images you share.
Research has shown that older adults prefer visuals that are easy to understand, rather than abstract and artistic concepts.
#3: Be clear in the value you’re providing.
Older adults are most likely to share content with tangible benefits, such as health tips, an article on the best online games to boost memory, etc.
Utilizing Facebook to its fullest potential for your home care agency can involve a great deal of time and effort, but it is an incredible tool to extend your reach. And if you aren’t maximizing your agency’s Facebook page, you can be sure your competitors are.
Working with a trusted, experienced home care marketing agency to manage your agency’s Facebook and other social media accounts is a great way to maximize these valuable tools while enabling you to focus on what you do best: providing the highest possible quality of care to the seniors and families you serve.