About a year ago, Brian Geyser of CareNetworks interviewed Eric Marsh of Brookdale Senior Living on the company's social media usage. At the time, Brookdale was among the first of the larger senior living organizations to embrace social media as a core marketing tool. In a blog post appearing on ALFA Exchange, Geyser revisits Brookdale's social media strategy to find out how the company's methodology and reach has changed over the past year.
Brookdale utilizes several channels as part of their overall social media strategy. The company has a Twitter account, a YouTube channel and LinkedIn account, and two Facebook fan pages. The second Facebook page was added in 2010 specifically for the Ultimate Chef program, a nationwide contest in which more than 430 chefs from Brookdale Senior Living communities competed in a first-class cooking challenge to win the coveted "Ultimate Chef America" title.
Brookdale's company policy dictates that social media is handled through the corporate office; individual senior living communities aren't permitted to create their own social media profiles or accounts. This is common to larger corporations who wish to maintain control of the message delivered via social media and it becomes impossible (as in Brookdale's case, which has 560 individual senior living communities) to monitor every individual account.
Marsh says the company's social media strategy hasn't changed much over the past year, and Brookdale has been using social media for a total of about two years. He says that the addition of a second Facebook fan page coupled with follower growth means there's more to manage, although they still spend on average a few hours per week on social media. He also reports that the addition of Facebook recommend buttons has brought the company positive results. (A Facebook recommend button is a tool that allows consumers to share content with their Facebook connections through the click of a button -- the reach of a single piece of content is easily multiplied when shared by a few people on Facebook.)
Marsh reports that Brookdale has tracked a number of leads resulting from Facebook fans linking to the company website and requesting information. He says that while this tracking is in its infancy, it's a positive sign that social media could prove to be a valuable lead generation tool.