Blog, Twitter, & Facebook = Big ROI at SeniorsforLiving.com
This is the third post in our new Social Media Success Series, which features interviews with innovative senior living, eldercare, home care, and dementia care companies who are using social media as a business/marketing tool. If you would like to have your organization considered for inclusion, contact us.
In this interview, Gina LaGuardia, Editorial Director at SeniorsforLiving.com shares some fantastic insights about how they are using Twitter, Facebook and a company blog to drive traffic to their Website, establish strategic alliances, nurture relationships, listen to and learn from others in the industry, extend their online reach, and build brand awareness.
SeniorsforLiving.com is a free consumer service that helps seniors and their families research, evaluate, compare and connect with quality assisted living, independent living, retirement communities, and other senior care providers.
2. Why did you choose those? My personal experiences on Twitter have been immensely successful and edifying to my professional growth, so it made sense to try this for our business as well. As for Facebook, the statistics show tremendous growth in usage by baby boomers and seniors, and that’s our target audience. Our blog is our main content “voice.” Though we typically publish new features on our “Articles & Resources Page,” our blog — consistently updated five days a week — enables us to talk about current topics within the senior housing and senior care space/boomer trends/etc.
3. Who manages your blog, Twitter & Facebook accounts? I’m the editorial director for the company and I manage them. I have two bloggers who contribute to the blog, and I manage all posts. One blogger is a public policy coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association and a former activities director at an assisted living community; the other works in health care.
4. How much time does it take you to manage the accounts per week? We are active on Twitter at least five days a week at various points throughout the day and night. We are in the process of allocating additional time to our Facebook group. On the blog, we update posts everyday, so it’s a full-time effort.
5. How are you using each and who do want to reach? Twitter has been an invaluable source for connecting with other professionals in our industry who have similar interests and target markets. Although many of our followers may be perceived as “competition,” the potential for establishing business development and affiliate relationships has far outweighed any of those concerns. We are also primarily utilizing Twitter and Facebook to deploy content from our blog and establish a working partnership with other blogs and sites that provide content around similar issues.
One project I am particularly proud of that has developed from our initiative on Twitter is our Seniors/Boomers: News You Can Use blog carnival, which ensures high page views with each installment and numerous linkbacks (great for SEO), as well as increasing our blog readership and keeping us abreast of topics being discussed about senior housing/caregiving/boomer issues, etc.
We also regularly feature guest bloggers’ contributions on our blog based on synergies either between our two companies and/or the sharing of a common interests/goals. We do not pay for guest blogs, but we typically “blog post swap” where we also contribute a post to their site/blog. Without our blog, we wouldn’t have much “meat” to engage our SM followers with, so I’d say that is the means to the end. The tool I most enjoy and from which I personally derive the most value is Twitter.
6. Do you have a social media strategy? We definitely have a strategy — that is, to use social media to engage potential users and/or those who care deeply about seniors. As I mentioned, the relationships we have made has served to enhance our business, hone our editorial message, and enable us to emerge as a leader among online senior housing/senior care directories.
7. What is your primary goal for using social media? To increase branding for our site across social networks, establish ourselves as a content leader in the space, and affiliate with those who are equally passionate about seniors and providing the best care for loved ones.
8. Are you planning to expand your social media reach? Yes, we are planning to increase our footprint on Facebook in coming months and are considering LinkedIn as another avenue for expansion.
9. Are people responding? They are, and those with whom we have connected have proven helpful both in terms of expanding our base of knowledge about issues related to senior housing and senior care and in expanding our audience. Social media is truly a community of colleagues and friends. The key is to find people with whom you share interests, goals, and passion. For us, we regularly watch the #seniors, #boomers, and #caregiving hashtags (on Twitter) and conduct those (and related) keyword searches. What may begin as a business initiative to garner a mass to whom you can share news of your services, offerings, products, etc. will turn into a group of people you respect, rely on for information, advice, and insight, etc. It’s truly an amazing thing to watch evolve and flourish!
10. What are your biggest challenges so far? There is a time issue…. The best cultivation of social media, in my opinion, is enhanced by an adequate investment of time.
11. Did you have to try to convince someone at your organization to try social media? The management of SeniorsforLiving.com has been very supportive of our social media efforts, and the rewards are plentiful — from increased site visits and SM referrals to connecting with our partners and clients online.
12. Are employees on board with your efforts? Yes, although I am the only representative Tweeting at this time.
13. How are you measuring success? We are monitoring success via page referrals from the SM sites, linkbacks to content hubs, feedback from clients and users, etc.
14. Can you tell if your social media activities, including the blog, have actually affected your bottom line? Have you garnered actual paying customers because of your blog, twitter or facebook accounts? We have certainly reaped an increase of traffic thanks to those users who have discovered us via our various SM endeavors. Additionally, the linkbacks garnered as a result of SM are very effective for our SEO initiatives. We have also made quite a mark with our partner communities and providers who are watching our SM efforts and seeking us out as they climb aboard themselves.
15. What’s the one piece of advice you would give other senior living, home care, eldercare, or dementia care companies about getting into social media? Social media should be an important aspect to your online marketing plan. The potential to connect with customers and potential customers is ever evolving and never ceases to amaze me. Smart companies will not only converse with others about their services and offerings, but about the everyday challenges of senior housing and senior care. It should be about relationship building, not drumming up business.
For more about senior living online communities and social media, visit carenetworks.com. To ensure you get more post like this delivered right to you as they are published, subscribe to our blog.
For more information about SeniorsforLiving.com, contact:
Doug Johnson | EVP-Sales & Marketing | Seniors for Living | P: 212-490-6290 x227| F: 212-490-6296 or visit them online at SeniorsforLiving.com, Twitter, or Facebook. My thanks to Gina LaGuardia for taking the time to share her amazing insights!
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Brian Geyser, APRN-BC, MSN is a clinician, consultant, educator,blogger, online community manager and the founder of Carenetworks, LLC. He blogs regularly here at Carenetworks.com and would love to connect with you on Twitter, Linkedin, and/or Facebook.