By Susan Saldibar

Okay, so by now you’ve probably long since added an “About Coronavirus” section on your website and you’ve issued official statements about what you’re doing to keep residents and staff safe. You have your messaging pretty much down pat and are learning to walk the tightrope between revealing too much of what goes on behind your closed doors and too little, out of fear of negative reactions, whether it’s one  or another.

Scary times, these. But innovative ones as well, as senior living marketers venture out from behind the curtains and adjust everything from their images to their value props to fit the new normal COVID has forced upon us.

I spoke recently with Debra Gawet, Social and Digital Content Strategist Supervisor for Sage Age Strategies (a Senior Living Foresight partner). Debra tells me that she is seeing many senior living websites and social media channels that still reflect a pre-COVID-19 world and have not been adjusted to respond to new concerns and priorities from their prospective residents and families. And yet she sees such a great opportunity to demonstrate responsiveness and to educate and engage with their online audience in a way that builds trust; all very much needed today. 

Debra shared 5 areas that you can re-calibrate to cover key COVID-19 flashpoints:

  1. Your website. Do you have language that speaks to how you are handling COVID-19? Consider creating a pop-up widget for COVID on your website. Give regular updates or lists of all you are doing to stay safe.
  2. Your email marketing. In addition to promoting various key benefits of your community, your marketing emails should include COVID-19 updates, as well as addresshealth and safety precautions. 
  3. Your tours. Are you offering virtual tours? You should be! And they should be easy to get to with a link on your website.
  4. Your Facebook (and other social channels). If your Facebook page has been on autopilot, you’ll want to make some adjustments. First, make sure your ads are updated to reflect the current environment. Also, consider trying out Facebook Live, which lets you do a live feed from your smartphone.
  5. Your images. Make sure photos of residents and staff are showing social distancing and that key personnel are using personal protective equipment (PPE). This is so important for those future residents and families who are looking at your pages. Given the vulnerability of senior living communities, images of residents clustered together without masks can instantly turn off visitors.

Some of the above items will take longer than others. But all are well worth the effort, Debra says. And it makes sense when you think about all the adult children spending more “at home” time poking around the internet looking at potential communities for their parents. They will want to know how you are dealing with COVID-19. And they will have plenty of questions, many of which can be answered on your website and social media channels.

So, how do you stack up? How many of these items have you tackled? Have you visited your website and social pages lately? Do your images, messaging, and ads reflect a community that is on top of COVID-19 and keeping residents safe and connected?

For more information about Sage Age Strategies, please visit their website.