The August 19, 2010 edition of ALFA Update featured a case study focusing on social media, where two top senior living executives shared their tips and strategies for implementing a successful social media campaign. As both pointed out, social media is now an important component of word-of-mouth marketing, and it shouldn't be ignored. Twitter

Tricia Lilly Ourand, Director of Marketing for Brightview Senior Living, points out that staying focused on the objective is the first key to using social media effectively as part of your overall marketing strategy. Determine what you want to gain from using social media, and why your audience is using social media. You might be using it to gain visibility or brand recognition, to make sales, or even to recruit staff.

Your audience is probably seeking information -- what do they want to learn or discuss? Do they already have knowledge of your assisted living facility or nursing home, or are they being introduced to your organization for the first time? From this point, Ourand says, you can create your strategy by developing policies that outline who can post content to what social sites, and ensuring that your posted content is search-engine friendly by using keywords.

Laura Ellen McAvoy, Operations Manager for The Arbor Company, recommends designating a specific social media point person who is in charge of posting regular updates, growing connections, and engaging your audience. She recommends setting your pages up with photos, details, and information before ramping up your fan base. Finally, utilizing family and friends who are already members of your social networks to start conversations is a great way to encourage initial interaction on your pages.

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