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FOSTERING BRAND LOYALTY WITH LONG-TERM CARE MARKETING

Brand loyalty is up for grabs, but there are things you can do to inspire your residents to stay with you from independent living to assisted living to long-term care and more. It is not enough to do everything right. You need to bring your connection to the next level.

It probably goes without saying but providing the highest quality customer service and making your residents feel valued are two of the best things you can do to create brand loyalty. This is a great foundational start, and now you want to see that loyalty expand to create a community of raving fans for your brand who refer others. Here are a few ways to help you do that.

Provide timely updates about changes that affect your residents and prospects. If you have a robust CRM, you can segment your contacts based on their terms of care, what their individual needs are and what you know they are interested in. You wouldn’t send a memory care update to an independent living prospect. By segmenting your lists to provide relevant information, you’re showing your audience that you care about what interests them. This can make the information appear personalized to them and foster their loyalty to your brand.

Create opportunities for individual connection and make it personal. If you are keeping notes about your residents and top prospects, you likely know a few personal facts about them. Perhaps you know they’ve always gone to Colorado for their family vacation every year, for the last 15 years or that one of their grandchildren graduated from high school. Asking about these events during the beginning of a call or email is a terrific way to get the conversation going. You can then bridge into the business at hand but remember to always show an interest in them personally.

Thank your residents for choosing you. You may be thinking that this is an obvious one and, yes, most everyone is good at thanking their residents for all of the great memories around the holidays. However, when was the last time you sent them a thank you card at a random time of the year or a gift card? Perhaps they just went through a challenging surgery or they beat cancer. Sending a gift when one is not expected is when you will stand out and, even more importantly, make people feel special. We aren’t saying you should skip holiday gifts but sending a thank you at an unexpected time will stand out.

Fostering brand loyalty is something that begins with a prospect and continues throughout the resident relationship. Once someone becomes a resident, it doesn’t mean the work ends. This is when the relationship can truly grow and thrive.

Need more ideas to help you meet your long-term care marketing goals? Give me a call and let’s set up a time to chat!

YOUR LONG-TERM CARE SOCIAL MEDIA AMBASSADOR PROGRAM

Social media is a powerful tool that can help your senior living community generate quality leads and future employees, and it should be part of your business development strategy moving forward.

One way for social media to support your long-term care marketing strategy is to incorporate brand ambassadors to further your social reach. Ambassadors speak highly of your brand, services and events on their own social media channels. They can provide quick shout-outs to your senior living community, highlight upcoming events and recommend your brand to their social media followers.

Here are three key elements to start building your own brand ambassador network to generate quality leads.

Who ‘Likes’ you?

On your social media channels, you may notice certain individuals who are consistently ‘liking’ or sharing your posts. This is one easy way to identify who is naturally falling into a brand ambassador role for your community.

Check out your @mentions, post likes and comments to see who is already promoting your brand. You can also see who is using any of your company or industry-related #hashtags. If there is a particular resident who you routinely recognize on your social media channels, chances are that person would be a good brand ambassador.

Maybe you’ve noticed that people who ‘like’ you on social media and share your content are mostly employees of your community. Some of your employees should be brand ambassadors based on their professionalism and connections.

A mix of perspectives on your social channels allows you to speak to different audiences, which can help gain new referrals and recruits.

Employee Brand Ambassadors: When your employees are active on your community’s social media, this helps to boost community engagement and retention – so it’s a double-win! 

Criteria for Brand Ambassadors

You don’t want just anyone, even if they do engage with your content, to become your brand ambassadors. Think about these key factors when determining who you want to represent your brand on social media.
 
    • Current Social Media Following – Are their followers your target audience? If not, they are not a good brand ambassador for your community. Also look at the size of their social media following, how their audience engages with their posts and if they naturally use a tone that you think fits your brand.
    • Dedicated Resident or Referral Source – Can they speak specifically to your community’s differentiators? Make sure an ambassador you select knows all the ins and outs. This makes their promotional efforts more authentic, especially when they’re referencing actual events and amenities at the community.
    • Networking Opportunities – Make sure your brand ambassadors have networking opportunities on social media. Chat with your brand ambassadors about what social media networking groups they participate in and how your brand or service could be shared among those groups.

Guidelines to Move Forward

Since the brand ambassadors you’ve identified already understand your independent living or long-term care community, you may not feel like you have to tailor specific messages for them. But being clear about how you will collaborate with your ambassadors will help them avoid misrepresenting your community on social. Here are a few long-term care marketing tips to build strong relationships with brand ambassadors.
 
Regularly discuss topics or upcoming events that you would like to see brand ambassadors promote: 
  
“I’ll never think of exercise the same. I had so much fun splashing around with my friends at XYZ Home’s aqua class last week. In case you missed it, sign up for next week’s class here:” [insert link]
 
“I am now living fancy free at ABC Community in Maple Grove. They even have a barber shop and salon, and you KNOW how I like to keep my hair nice! I can hear you laughing, @BetsyLou!” [insert link to company homepage]
 
  • Clearly identify how often you would like your brand ambassadors to promote your brand. Maybe set a standard of two posts a month.
  • Give back to your brand ambassadors! Offer free coffee at the community café for a month, free registration for a special event or lunch discounts to thank them for promoting your brand on their personal social media channels.
  • Create a ‘thank you’ post from the community’s social media account to publicly recognize them. This is an easy way to boost brand loyalty for your community and the individuals promoting it.
Social media is a powerful way for potential residents and candidates to learn about your brand, your amenities and your work environment. Don’t miss out on this marketing opportunity to help your senior living community stand out from the rest! 
 
Need more information? Send me an email and let’s chat about additional senior living marketing opportunities.

Recruiting and Retention for Senior Living Communities

When you’re working in such a specific niche as healthcare and the senior living space, how do you recruit and retain employees at different levels? Are the tactics you use the same with different positions? 
 
At a high level, make sure you have a great social media presence. List your benefits on your site (and in job postings) and offer a hiring/referral bonus. This tells potential candidates and current employees that you value their skills and experience. 

Social Media Supports Senior Living Marketing

How do you maintain an active presence on social media? This is where your candidates are conducting research to determine whether your community’s culture, atmosphere and ideals fit their requirements.
 
Social media is also crucial for retention…especially on Facebook and LinkedIn. Use your Facebook page (or create a Facebook Group) to remind employees of holiday events coming up, team outings, etc. Then post photos of your employees at these events, post about their work anniversaries and anything you can think of to get them involved with their coworkers. Show appreciation for your employees by acknowledging their hard work in a public way.    

Employee Reviews Make a Difference

Ask your employees to post a review for your community on Glassdoor and Indeed. It helps the review process if you know that these employees are happy with their work, but don’t insist on a positive review. Potential candidates will see these reviews and feel more connected to your community culture and team. 
 
Bonus: Make sure these profiles are updated with your latest logo and business description. Add photos of staff at the office, at lunch or out volunteering. Also, include any awards you’ve won (like “Best Place to Work”).

Hiring and Referral Bonuses are a Win-Win

Hiring Bonus: One way to stand out from the competition is to offer a hiring bonus. Not all senior living communities can afford it, but in some cases a bonus can be cheaper than paying a head hunter’s fee. 
 

Say it first – Candidates will read the first sentence or two of your job posting, then decide whether to continue reading from there. Offer the bonus at the very beginning of the job posting to capture their interest right away and persuade them to continue reading the rest of the job description. 

 
Referral Bonus: Offer the same amount as a referral bonus that you are offering as a signing bonus for new hires. Of course, there are a few stipulations. Add a clause including verbiage to the effect of “Candidate must successfully work for 90 days before referral bonus is applied.” 
 

Retention perk – When you extend the referral bonus to both the new hire and the current employee who made the referral, your current great employee is more likely to help you recruit other great employees like him/her/them. And he/she/they will get to work with their friends. Now, that’s a win.

Applying for Senior Living Positions Should be Easy

Candidates these days are tech savvy – and they have expectations. 
 
If you make it hard to apply, they won’t apply. It’s that simple. Here are a couple of tactics you can use to make it easy to apply for your awesome HR, RN or custodial position at your assisted living home or other community. 
 
  1. Add your job to LinkedIn 
  2. Add a plugin to your site so they can apply with their LinkedIn profile
  3. Add a plugin to your site so the application auto-populates when they upload their resume
  4. Add your careers or positions page to the top menu on your site
Of course, if it’s too simple, you may get a bunch of unrelated applicants (we’ve seen this happen with Facebook Jobs.) So, a certain level of complexity is warranted. For example, if your application contains 2-3 pages of questions, this length is the sweet spot for simple-meets-complex. This length ensures you will receive applications from candidates who are truly dedicated and interested in your community and not just applying because it’s easy.

Benefits on your Website Should Be Varied

One major crowd pleaser you cannot afford to avoid is the benefits section of your careers, positions or culture page on your website. 
 
Candidates want work-life balance, health insurance, retirement options and vacations to name a few of their most-valued benefits. List these on your website – and in your job postings on external sites — to lure referrals and excite candidates to apply for your senior living community jobs. 
 
Having a list of benefits handy is also key to retaining your current employees. They may not know where they saw their employee handbook last, and adding these benefits to the site can quickly re-assure them about vacation time or dental benefits, for example.  
 
If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask. I have been helping marketers, owners and management executives with their outsourced recruiting and marketing needs for years. Contact me with your questions.