Reverse Social Media Strategy for Assisted Living Execs

 We read an interesting white paper today from DNA13, “Listening 101: Tips to Integrate Social Media into Your Day-to-Day Media Monitoring,” that got our wheels turning about the value of social media. You’re probably familiar with the story of how Comcast used social media to transform customer service. (If you’re not, read about it now on MojoSocial.) There are dozens of other customer service success stories just like it. Social media marketing for assisted living

You’ve also heard much about how social media is impacting search, with an increasing importance placed on Facebook shares and Twitter retweets. (You’re not? Check out this post from SEOmoz on the topic.) What you don’t hear much about, however, is the value of social media as a market research tool. In assisted living, nursing homes and other residential care settings, there’s a lot of competition and a lot of emphasis on meeting customer needs. But we’re often so focused on the value of building followers, providing value and engaging conversation, we might forget to listen.

Listen to uncover hidden opportunities

If you’re new to social media, you should start by listening in on the conversation that’s already underway. Google your company name; it’s likely that people are already talking about your assisted living community, somewhere across the web. Don’t you want to know what they’re saying? You might learn that most of your residents’ caregivers are members of the sandwich generation. What activities or events can you plan that would appeal to the whole family? Maybe they’re baby boomers with no plans to retire in the near future. How can you make their role easier? You might find out that there’s something members of your community are wishing for–why not give it to them, if it’s within your means?

Don’t just investigate yourself, though. Check out your competitors, too. Even if your organization focuses solely on assisted living care, there’s much to be learned from investigating skilled nursing facilities and independent living communities in your area, too. Find out what’s missing and fill in the void. Learn what they’re doing and do it better. Uncover problems and offer solutions. This is where the engagement comes in. Once you’ve identified topics of interest (by listening!) you can seamlessly join the conversation. Because you already know their hot buttons, what information they’re seeking, and their common problems, you’re prepared to deliver exactly what they wanted to hear–at exactly the right time.

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5 Responses to “Reverse Social Media Strategy for Assisted Living Execs”

  1. Glenn says:

    Assisted living or related senior living services need to approach social media differently than the examples in this article. HIPAA prevents you from discussing any private information for your customers in social media context, this includes a name of the resident. Second, it is likely that the primary “customer”, your resident is not using social media to broadcast complaints, but the children of this resident. This one degree of separation and HIPAA requires a different technique than what Comcast and other have deployed. I agree, don’t ignore what your various stakeholders are writing on the Internet. Just use the right tools and techniques so you protect personal information and you abide by the security and privacy rules of HIPAA.

  2. Angela Stringfellow says:

    Thanks for your comments, Glenn. You’re absolutely right, HIPAA regulations prevent healthcare providers from discussing private information publicly, so no, an assisted living employee couldn’t address a direct complaint on a public forum. However, the commentary in this article suggests utilizing social media as a means to uncover customers’ needs through competitive analysis and keeping a finger on the pulse of what the target audience wants to know in order to fill that need. Comcast’s experience certainly can’t be directly replicated in the long-term care industry, but this is merely an example of how companies are finding innovative ways to use information gathered through social media participation as a competitive advantage.

  3. I don’t think they’re suggesting that you divulge any information about your residents on a social media outlet. But there are definitely ways to discuss the issues and concerns of your residents and their family members in a group forum like Facebook and Twitter. Asking generic questions like what would you like to see in terms of improvements to our senior facilities or group activities wouldn’t cross those lines, but allow for open and honest conversation with residents and their families.

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