By Susan Saldibar
Social media can be a real pain in the neck. Especially in senior living where there is little time available to be spent sitting behind a desk churning out social posts. But you need to do it. And believe it or not, social media doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck.
I was talking with Debra Gawet, Social and Digital Content Strategist Supervisor for Sage Age Strategies (a Senior Living Foresight partner) recently about how senior living leadership has a tendency to either overthink their social media strategy or abandon it altogether. Either way, the results are often the same: a haphazard string of posting blips with occasional spurts of activity, followed by long periods of nothing, finally flatlining altogether.
One of the things Debra does so well is to help their clients get their social media programs up and running in a way they can understand, measure, and sustain. I asked her to share some of the latest ins and outs of social media posting, with a focus on things that everyone can basically understand and put into play quickly. Below is a digested version of a wealth of great information you can get directly from Debra.
What Is the Shelf Life of a Post? Should You Care?
So how long before that great post about Mary Ann’s 100th birthday gets buried in the massive ongoing Facebook churn? About 5 hours, according to a “shelf life” stats study by the IT company, Mamsys.
Here are all the shelf life stats:
- Blogs: 2 years
- Pinterest: 4 months
- YouTube: 20+ days
- LinkedIn: 24 hours
- Instagram: 21 hours
- Facebook: 5 hours
- Twitter: 18 minutes
Interesting numbers, and when you consider the nature of each channel they make a lot of sense. I asked Debra to focus in on Facebook as that is the most popular channel for senior living communities to engage with their residents and prospects.
The average 5 hours shelf life for a Facebook post would lead many to think you should be posting a few times per day. But that doesn’t necessarily make as much sense for an industry like senior living than it does for, say a retail consumer site. Posting an average of once per day should give a community the exposure it needs and eliminate the need to throw up low-quality posts just to keep the numbers up.
As for the posts themselves, Debra recommends posting a variety of content, as dictated by your social media content calendar. This includes community-generated content such as blogs, informative links to reputable external websites, infographics, branded images, and social-worthy photos and videos. When you have additional candid photos or videos to add, post them on alternative days, not all on the same day. That way you can achieve a solid balance that keeps the interest going. Between posting branded photos and videos and supplemental postings, you should be posting between 4-6 times per week.
Sunday Morning? Thumbs Down. Wednesday at Noon? Good to Go!
What’s really cool are the guidelines Debra shared regarding when to post and when not to post. They are as follows:
- Best times to post to Facebook: Wednesday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
- Best day: Wednesday is the best day to post on Facebook.
- Most consistent engagement: Weekdays from 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
- Worst day: Sunday has the least amount of engagement for Facebook during the week.
- Lowest engagement: Early mornings and evenings, before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m. have the least amount of engagement per day.
- The best times to post to LinkedIn: Wednesday at 9–10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
- Best day: Wednesday.
- Most consistent engagement: Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
- Lowest engagement: Occurs on Sunday and the least popular times to post are every day from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.
- Best times to post on Instagram: Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday at 10–11 a.m.
- Best day: Wednesday is the overall best day to post to Instagram
- Most consistent engagement: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m–3 p.m.
- Worst day: Sunday receives the least amount of engagement on Instagram
- Lowest engagement: Occurs during late night and early morning from 11 p.m.–3 a.m.
Don’t Forget the Basics
What does this mean for a senior living community’s social media marketing strategy? Debra has a few more words of wisdom:
- Regardless of the lifespan, it’s important to remember an effective social media strategy needs to be developed and executed in a way that reaches your target audience.
- When social media content is developed, it’s crucial to develop content that will have a lasting impact. Videos and photos are more likely to be kept and shared.
- Make sure you’re evaluating your tactics and measuring social media metrics and KPIs (i.e., engagement, impressions, reach, etc.). Then, based on performance, make the necessary modifications to the existing social media strategy.
- Ensure you’re using best practices when developing the post copy and including hashtags to increase your reach.
- Embed your social channel feeds on your website.
- Cross-promote content across various social media channels.
You may want to share this article with whoever is handling your social media. Ask them if they are abiding by these rules of engagement. They should have answers. Your marketing efforts deserve them.
For more information about Sage Age Strategies, please visit their website.