Social Media Offers Opportunities and Pitfalls

Members | June 21, 2012

Seniors are rapidly adopting social media, such as Facebook and YouTube. Senior living communities that ignore social media to communicate with this demographic do so at their own peril as these activities become more and more mainstream. Yet, there are some important potential pitfalls senior living communities must avoid, according to a white paper from LCS.

"Senior Living Communities and Social Media: Fostering Potential and Avoiding Pitfalls," a white paper from LCS, explains that developing a roadmap for social media marketing is essential for success. 

While there will inevitably be unexpected challenges, a strong social media policy prior to launching on these platforms will help guide appropriate use.

There is a growing senior presence in social media. A recent Nielsen survey revealed that 17.5 million people aged 65 years and older now use the Internet. Of that group, approximately half (8.75 million) use the Internet to send email, read news, bank online and use social networks. 

More seniors are using social media

Nearly half of online seniors visited Facebook or YouTube, making these sites that group’s third- and fourth-most visited online destinations.

Seniors also spend more time on the Internet than they did a few years ago, totaling an average of 58 hours a month at the end of 2009. 

Facebook has risen to number three on this list, while a year before it was the number 45 most-visited website by seniors. Its rapid rise is illustrative of just how mainstream social networking has become for seniors.

Social media policy

The roadmap should also include policies regarding employee use of social media and company assets, as well as compliance guidelines for regulatory mandates such as the Fair Housing Act. Social media is a conversation and needs to be nurtured.

Senior living communities should ensure they have addressed how their social media presence is monitored and maintained. This responsibility could be given to in-house personnel or outsourced to an agency that understands the community’s policy and protocol for social media. 

The management of social media should only be assigned to personnel with a skill set that includes not only the ability to proactively publish marketing content, but also respond to inquiries, complaints and feedback.