“By 2036, over half of local authorities are projected to have 25% or more of their local population aged 65 and over” Office of National Statistics.
We’re now in Quarter 4 of a 12 month project to create a Social Media Champion for a Bluebird Care Franchise in London. We are well on target and yes, it’s working exceptionally well. It’s also got us thinking more generally about the challenges of Social Media marketing in the care industry.
- Defining your Social Media marketing aims – What do you want to achieve?
A key starting point for every business, whether in the care industry or another sector is the identification of your Social Media aims. Many businesses use one website for a number of purposes – recruitment, sales etc. It’s of particular importance for the care industry where the people you may wish to recruit will often be at a very different place on the ‘sales curve’ to those receiving the services. This is in contrast to other industries: think retail, when many of the people who will want to work for a particular business are similar to those who will want to buy the products or services of that business.
- Defining your Social Media audiences – Who is your target audience?
Every industry has its own particular Social Media marketing challenges. One of the key issues for care providers, whether care homes, or home care – is the need to engage with a number of clear and distinct groups of people. Your services may be engaged by the person requiring care themselves – or by members of their family. This immediately creates a challenge – how to market to both audiences. Add in to the mix the need to use your website for recruitment purposes, and to potentially engage with other care agencies and medical/community services and you see why this is so important.
- Choosing your tone of voice – What is your social media persona?
How you communicate to your audiences online will play a huge role in the success of your Social Media marketing. It might sound obvious, but it’s true. Even down to using – or not using – particular phrases. A helpful exercise can be to work all this out in advance. It can also help you work out how to communicate with the different, cross-generational, audiences you will be engaging with, and develop a ‘tone of voice’ that is appropriate for all stakeholders.
- Overcoming the marketing malaise – How are you going to be different to the rest?
Whether ‘user choosers’ looking for their own care, or family members, most of the people you will be marketing to have grown up with modern marketing, and are likely to be immune to many of the marketing messages that swim around in the marketing soup. In addition, the care industry has come under intense scrutiny with the Care Quality Commission’s recent investigation into care providers and negative publicity arising from cases of poor care. The messages you need to deliver in your Social Media marketing need to meet these challenges – offer solid facts about the care you offer, backed up by reassurance to potential customers about the support they will receive from you and your team.
- Engaging to show your human face – Are you humanising the business?
Not only is choosing care one of the most expensive decisions people will make, it is hugely emotive. Whether it’s someone realising for themselves that they need to bring in additional help, or a family struggling to find the best option for an elderly relative, it’s an emotional decision. Against the background of negative publicity we mentioned earlier, those making the decision want to be assured that they are choosing a caring supportive care provider. In addition to ‘real world’ activities which show your organisation’s ‘human face’ – supporting local charities, holding coffee mornings or other events – you can use Social Media platforms very effectively to promote what it’s really like to choose your business and to engage in a very positive manner.
If you’re a care provider keen to do your Social Media marketing better, we’d be happy to help. We can assess your current provision, and advise on the best way forward, from building a bespoke website suitable for your care business, to auditing, securing and kickstarting your social media presence. Get in touch today to get started!