Did you know
that there are over a dozen social-networking or virtual communities
100 million users each? If you have a business,
and you aren't participating - you should be...today!
I have a friend who
runs a photography site. He's good at it, but he is not a professional
by any means. He is passionate about what he does, and has a
Over the past few years,
he has amassed about 40,000 youtube followers, thousands of
folks circled on G+, and has a robust and active facebook page.
I tease him that he
could (in all seriousness) write a post, or create
a video about the grass growing, and immediately get
several hundred likes, or a few thousand 'views.'
the guy does, he gets a huge boost on the social media front.
Photography folks are
apparently quite savvy, socially plugged in, and ready and excited
to support each other through the various social networks. It's
made a difference for my friend, as I watch his site grow steadily
It's quite a different
scene here in our Senior Care Niche. In the 7 or so years
I have been doing this, it's been my experience, and observation
that folks interested in assisted living or other forms of senior
care are not-so-savvy, in general, and could not care less about
increasing the number of bytes funneling through the social
networking fibers. I have thought about, and studied this quite
a bit over the years, and it's not just me. I am hard pressed
to find any site in this space that has an active social presence
(that they haven't paid for, which you can do) based on people
interested on what we do.
It's like pulling an
impacted tooth to get people to participate socially, with one
exception, which I will explain in a bit.
Why social support
is lacking in the senior care space:
Often times, the search for assisted living or memory care
is a one-time thing. It isn't people's 'passion' - rather,
it is something they want to do, get through and forget about
as soon as possible so they can resume their lives.
or perhaps something like antiquing, senior care is usually
not a hobby or a lifestyle. Photographers, for example, are
always interested in the new gadget or tip, and will follow
experts online and hang on their every word and breath.
I've noticed that other
markets like the property rental market are also hard to get
social support in. Again, finding a property is usually a one-time
thing, or once-in-a-long time deal. You do it, and then move
on with your life.
Seniors, for better or for worse, are not generally, or
historically a tech-savvy group. When I mention things
like Google+ or facebooking to my parents (in their 70's) or
any one of my neighbors who are of 'senior status' I am often
greeted with a blank stare, followed by a quick subject changer.
Although many seniors
are becoming quite adept at operating a computer, emailing and
sharing photos with their grandchildren, most of them don't
care to make the time to learn about "circling" "liking"
or "friending." They would still prefer to write a
letter, using pen and paper.
senior care industry is incredibly competitive, and thus, I
believe, has become quite narcissistic and self-centered.
Most of the companies and business entities that I see participating
on social sites like facebook and google+ are almost always
posting and evangelizing their own stuff. Rarely do they share
other people's work, or comment on it. This, to me, is really
annoying and counter-productive.
There's one group, however, that
seems to participate more in social networking within the senior
care niche - caregivers!
I'm not referring to
paid caregivers, or those who work within an assisted living
facility. I am talking about those folks - usually 'sandwich
generation-ers' who have been thrust into caring for a mom,
dad or relative who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, or
who is not able to care for themselves any more.
These are the folks
who are out there, sharing information, commenting on posts,
and engaging with each other. These are the folks who are 'newly
passionate' about being a caregiver, and looking for confirmation
that they are not alone in their struggles and situation. For
this, I am encouraged, and not completely turned off by the
otherwise lack of social participation that occurs within our
for all of us to participate, share and engage.
I understand the need,
now more than ever, to develop a social presence to support
my assisted living site, and it' presence on the internet. My
reasons, which are shared by many other successful social networkers
Social networking and engaging helps to build, and reinforce
my brand. If someone comes to my site, and has seen my
site's name before, they'll likely stick around, or share what
I have to offer.
Trust and credibility. The more I network with, and
engage with other professionals, the more social support, likes,
circles and tweets I will acquire (in a perfect world), giving
my site more credibility and trustworthiness. Social signals
are like votes, or approval that what you are offering has value
It's fun. I have really started to enjoy reaching out
to people (especially on Google+, which is the newcomer on the
block) and making interesting connections, and learning new
things about my industry. I have even started learning about
Pinterest, and posting some of my site's photos there, and creating
boards relevant to assisted living and aging topics!
for your main website. Search engines are starting to rely
more heavily on these social profiles and signals to value and
rank websites. Google, in certain terms, has said as much. If
you aren't doing the social thing, you might end up not doing
much of anything!
My Plea To My Colleagues In The Senior Care and Assisted
I am a sharer, liker,
and circler. I am generous with sharing your stuff, and will
be a supporter of you - competitor or not - as long as you are
interesting, and so long as you do the same for others...not
just me. Assisted Living Directory encourages community, sharing
information, learning new things, and supporting others who
can provide 'value-add' to what we do.
you aren't already, I encourage you to:
Get online. Daily.
Develop engaging and active social profiles to support your
business. Nobody will hang around a ghost town.
Share your stuff, but not **just** your stuff. If you see something
interesting by another site, colleague or expert - pay it forward!
Like if you like!
Circle great people and businesses
Interact with colleagues daily through commenting
follow people who are doing well at it, and learn from
the experts. Here are a few folks worth mentioning that you
can learn a lot from:
Kawasaki - he has written a great book called "What
the Plus" about how to maximize your social experience
with google. Look at how many followers he has, and you'll understand
why he is an expert.
Collins - For someone who I believe knows how to make the
most out of social networking on google, and who is in a niche
that I believe can be a bit challenging for support, she has
made a very successful profile, and has amassed a large following.
Carroll - This gal is a photographer, and has well over
a million followers. She has a knack for posting captivating
photos, with interesting captions.
Marketing and Branding Tips - from Jeff Bulla - awesome
tips and article including an excellent infographic with branding
Dugdale - He is my friend who could make grass growing interesting
through his video skills, and who gets incredible support socially
(especially on Youtube) from his efforts.
Experts Discuss How To Leverage Google+ For Your Business
Living Directory on Google+ - We'd like to think that in
the short time we have been active, we are doing a decent job!
There's still more to learn, but that is part of the fun!
We hope to see more
of you! It's so much fun and endlessly rewarding when there
is active participation!We
look forward to sharing with you down the road.