Entrepreneurs in the home health care industry would be wise to formulate a social media strategy as soon as possible. As more and more elderly Americans and the relatives who care for them learn how much cheaper it is to be cared for in their homes, the home health industry grows with demand. To stand out from the competition, it’s essential to not underestimate the tech savvy of your target demographic.
If you think social media is only for the young (and their parents), you are very wrong. The fastest growing pool of internet and social media users, according to Pew Research Center, is people age 74 and older. Senior centers offer more and more computer classes, teaching mature adults how to get the most out of modern technology. While too much “screen time” is detrimental for developing children, it helps less mobile seniors to thrive. The Guardian published the results of a study that states, “Training older people to use social media improves cognitive capacity, increases a sense of self-competence and could have a beneficial overall impact on mental health and physical well-being.” And don’t forget, the adult children who care for their elderly parents are online, too, and they will need more and more support as their parents age.
Enter: you. If your agency is easy to find and regularly engages on social media, you’ll attract more clients. Here’s where to start.
Find Your Platform: Facebook
The greatest generation prefers Facebook. It’s the best place to find old friends, and it’s not as fast-paced as Twitter. So focus your efforts on Facebook to get maximum engagement. According to Marketo, the best strategy for Facebook success is two posts per day. Only one out of every four posts should be marketing-related. All the rest should be educational or fun.
Know Your Audience: Women and Their Caregivers
Before you start posting, define your target audience. According to the CDC, 55% more women over 65 use home health care than men, and most men are cared for by their wives. Of those 65 and over who receive health care at home, 80% also have a caregiver outside of the home health agency.
This is where your know-how comes in. What issues come up the most with your female clients? What are the most common questions that you hear from their caregivers?
Educate: Target Health Issues
The CDC goes on to say that women of 65 and over are more likely than their male counterparts to have hypertension and osteoarthritis and the conditions that come with them, and less likely to have cancer. So share content from the American Heart Association, the Arthritis Foundation, and share tips and tricks you find helpful in dealing with these conditions.
Help your audience find activities they may enjoy and may not have heard of, like Pickleball, the age-friendly sport that is taking the country by storm.
Engage: Fun Content
No one wants to hear about health all the time. An article in Huffpost that explores the phenomenon of the elderly online as a ‘hot trend’ says, “Many of the elderly have uncovered the beauty of the digital travelogue and the value of having a book review available through a simple click. This gateway to the outside world is critical once the elderly become homebound…. While their younger counterparts use social media in a ‘selfie’ sort of way, the elderly, who are very sensitive to privacy issues, use it to connect with like-minded individuals.” Be a conduit to what they’re looking for outside of their health. It shows you care about the whole person, and shows your human side as well.
Pages like Senior Planet, 3 Golden Sisters, The Art of Aging and Old School Do You Remember have large followings and high levels of engagement. Share content from these and other similar pages to extend your reach, and make sure you add a comment about it when you post so they hear your take on the content.
Being active on social media isn’t optional for small businesses anymore. When you’re in the largest small business industry in the country, it’s especially important to invest in a smart and specific strategy.