Social media: The free marketing tool all aged care providers should be using

| 20 Mar 2015
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With over 1.80 billion people currently active on social media around the world, savvy aged care providers can leverage this growing audience to connect with prospective customers and engage with staff, care recipients and their families. With the introduction of Consumer Directed Care (CDC) and an increasingly competitive market, effective marketing in the aged care sector is now essential. To explain how social media can help, iCareHealth has put together a guide to assist aged care providers to determine which platforms best suit their organisation and why.

Facebook

The internet is now the first port of call when researching which aged care provider is best for a loved one with care needs. As a result, providers who create a Facebook account for their organisation are at a huge advantage. Facebook is perhaps the most important social media channel for aged care providers, and is an excellent way to begin your transition to the digital world. Creating a Facebook page for your business allows you to share photos and company updates. For residential providers, this could include sharing photos from a recent activity or posting information about an upcoming excursion. For home care providers, this may include news on upcoming staff training or posting promotional material. By promoting this information, prospective care recipients and their families are able to get an insight into your organisation and whether it will be the right fit for their family.

For care recipient families already using your services, being able to actively engage with your organisation online can provide real comfort that their loved one is in good hands. Sharing happy photos of activities involving care recipients is especially effective for this, as it helps create a more personal interaction for users.

It’s important that aged care providers encourage staff to connect with company social media accounts, and Facebook is no different. This can help build a sense of comradery throughout the organisation, and can be an effective way to let families know their staff are engaged and supportive.

Twitter

Creating a Twitter account is a great way to demonstrate that your organisation is a thought leader in the industry, as it is the perfect place to learn and share industry news. A Twitter feed is full of continuously updated Tweets, meaning the more aged care sector Twitter profiles you follow, the more resources and information you will have access to.

Like the other social media platforms listed, Twitter is an excellent way to engage with the general public, with followers able to ask questions and make comments on your page. This can promote great dialogue with the families of people under your care, and can create an efficient and simple way to answer questions from prospective and current care recipient families.

Having an active social media presence also highlights that your organisation has the staff resources to invest in digital communications, differentiating your business from that of your competitors. Like all social media channels, having an online presence on Twitter creates an additional, free promotional source that users can access at the click of a button.

LinkedIn

Designed to help professionals and businesses connect, aged care providers can create an organisation page on LinkedIn to promote internal jobs and connect with prospective and current staff. LinkedIn can also be used to share updates, which could be about the organisation itself or a relevant external communication, such as an article on aged care trends. With its professional and recruitment focus, LinkedIn is not the right platform to share photos of care recipients. As a result, smaller providers looking to begin their social media journey may wish to focus their resources on the marketing opportunities available on one of the other platforms listed. However, medium and large scale aged care providers with high recruitment needs can benefit greatly by utilising LinkedIn.

Google+

Launched in 2011, Google+ is the newest social media platform of the bunch, however there are more than 300 million users worldwide. Google+ revolves around streams where users can share photos and status updates. Users can also join relevant communities, such as a home care or aged care community, where users share information relevant to that topic. Google+ business accounts can be used to connect with fellow organisations as well as individual users, such as prospective and current care recipient families.

Google+ is a worthwhile tool for even the smallest aged care provider, as Google+ profile posts tend to rank highly in search results within Google. By raising your company’s search result from second to first, you could dramatically increase the number of people learning about your organisation, and as a result, help you stand out from your competitors.

Want to connect with iCareHealth on social media? Add us now on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.  Have any questions or comments? Join our conversation below.

 

Tags: aged care, CDC, digital communications, health, home care, iCareHealth, marketing, residential aged care, social media, technology, workforce

Sophia Bolden

Communications Coordinator

Sophia Bolden is the Communications Coordinator at Telstra Health - ADCC (formerly iCareHealth). With a background in the disability and aged care sector, she brings an understanding and passion for aged care. Sophia recognises the importance of social media and online communication in relating technology and aged care news in the most effective way possible.

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