By Kyle Schnurbusch, OrgStory Partner & Director
Leveraging Social Media When Marketing Supportive Services to Caregivers
Boomers are currently the highest increasing generation of users on Facebook. In a recent study, individuals 55 and older were projected to add roughly one million new users, which is significant considering Facebook’s entire user base is only projected to increase by 1.6 million this year. According to eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Chris Bendtsen, “What this means is that Facebook is adding more new older users than it’s losing younger ones.”
This age group also happens to be the largest when it comes to caregivers in the United States, with 52% of caregivers age 50 or older, most likely to be Boomers. With the increased use of social media among this age group, it is more important than ever to use such channels to build awareness and relationships with existing and soon-to-be caregivers, ultimately converting them to customers in your organization.
Topics Compelling to Caregivers
We have to start by deciding what content is most compelling to this group. There are a few buckets this content can fall into, the first being content that helps relieve caregiver stress. Caregiving can feel like a full-time job, one that often has to be balanced with a professional job, not to mention other obligations such as family, social life and self-care. This stress isn’t only logistical but is also emotional and financial in many substantial ways.
Another important content area is caregiving advice. This can be advice as to the role of caregiving, things caregivers might have to think about or more specific task-oriented advice such as how to operate medical or assistive equipment, prepare meals, manage medicine or a whole host of other practical actions caregivers may need in their back pocket. This can also include advice on how to assess care-at-home or health care providers, and it is important that as a service for aging adults you do so in an objective and fair way.
Coping with grief is another important subject as grief is a very real component of not only many aging services but life itself. Caregivers have to make heavy decisions. People pass away. Helping caregivers cope with the emotions that rise alongside these instances helps them feel cared for in times of need.
What to Think About When Developing Content
The question isn’t always about what you can do with your owned social content but also has to do with how you can use social media itself as a tool to connect people. If you are an authority in your field, you have an expertise in your space and have the clout to use social media (primarily Facebook groups) as a forum for people to go to, get expert advice and connect with other people facing similar challenges as them (which can relate to the content topics of alleviating stress and coping with grief).
Content should also express your uniqueness. That uniqueness could be the locale you serve, your faith-orientation or the specific services you provide. Regardless, you need to position yourself in the market so that people who need your specific brand go to you.
Content should open up vehicles to establish trust and leadership. Yes, this will help you yield business, but the more important imperative is to exist as a resource for people in need of support and guidance, and the way you provide this credibly is by establishing yourself as credible through the relationships you build and resources you provide.
As a service for aging adults, you also have an obligation to reduce stigma and raise awareness around specific illnesses you help treat or manage as well as around aging services themselves. This relates to the more general imperative of advocacy. Services require dealing with lots of people that come from lots of different areas and backgrounds, and it is your job to be aware of that, convey a sense of connection and lift up those populations.
Reaching Caregivers with Your Content
So, how do you get this content in front of caregivers? This is where social media is most explicitly relevant because it is one of the primary vehicles by which your content is shared with the world.
Facebook Groups are an important resource for aging services not only because of the reasons regarding connection and support mentioned earlier but also because according to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, people in general are more willing to trust company information when it comes from somebody like them (60%) as opposed to a company CEO (37%). Getting your content into Facebook groups related to the topics your content covers allows it to be shared organically among individuals who your content would be relevant to.
Retargeting ads are another helpful tool for marketing on social media. Through retargeting ads, you are able to leverage data regarding who visits your site, clicks on your links or reads your content and target new content toward them that may be relevant or helpful. This is effective because according to a study by SproutSocial, 60% of Boomers look for a brand on social and 70% of Gen Xers will purchase from a brand they follow. On top of that, web visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert on your website.
The last important tool to use when sharing content online is time. Timing is important. In a study by Facebook researchers, tests showed that people spent more time on Facebook at 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. when compared with 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Researchers also noticed a “morning morality effect,” which suggests that people have higher moral awareness and self control in the morning, potentially making it an ideal time to advertise altruistic services and causes.
In this piece, we’ve gone over why it’s important to leverage social media when marketing aging services, what content is compelling to caregivers, what content should do and how to get it in front of caregivers. It’s important to keep in mind that the needs of caregivers are always changing, and it’s important to stay in front of caregivers as their needs evolve. Talk to existing caregivers in your organization about the things they’re thinking about, and make sure that you are working towards addressing those needs at all times.