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Why & How You Should Be Digitally Engaging the Elderly

Mar 20, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Why & How You Should Be Digitally Engaging the Elderly

 

As a business that primarily serves an older, less technologically savvy generation, you might think going digital isn’t important.

Aren’t your efforts better focused on more traditional methods of engagement and outreach? Ones your potential customers grew up with and are accustomed to? Ones that are simpler to use and navigate?

It’s easy to assume the status quo when it comes to reaching seniors, but is it the most effective choice? Definitely not.

Why & How You Should Be Digitally Engaging the Elderly

The Why

Digital marketing, engagement and outreach strategies can be just as effective with elderly consumers as they are with younger digital natives. In some cases, they may actually be more effective.

Have you started using digital tools to reach your residents and potential customers? If not, it might be time to consider it – and here’s why:

  1. That’s where they are. Seniors are more digitally connected than most of us think. According to a survey from Pew Research Center, 80 percent of Americans 65 and older have a cell phone, while 42 percent have a web-enabled smartphone. With higher income seniors, it’s 81 percent, and for seniors with bachelor’s degrees, it’s 65 percent.
    Throw in that 67 percent say they’re internet users and 51 have an in-home broadband connection, and the web can offer you a serious line to your potential customers and residents.
  2. It’s where they’ll continue to be. Seniors are becoming increasingly more connected. The rate of Americans 65 and up with smartphones has nearly doubled since 2013, and the number who have home internet is on the rise, too. They’re also going social. More than half of all seniors who use the internet also use Facebook.
  3. It builds excitement. When it comes to transitioning to an assisted living facility, seniors often have a lot of sadness, fear and anger surrounding the decision. They’re sad to lose their independence, They’re angry that their children won’t (or can’t) handle their care solo. They’re scared of change and about what’s to come. Using digital tools like Facebook, email newsletters and other marketing tools, you can build excitement about your brand and alleviate those feelings of anger and fear. You can make life at your facility a choice – one that comes with great social, health and wellness benefits and one seniors are excited about and looking forward to.
  4. It keeps their minds active and healthy. Engaging with seniors digitally is also a great way to keep their minds sharp. Interacting with them on Facebook, emailing them solid content about their health conditions and concerns, and encouraging them to be social and take part in an online community are all great ways to keep them actively thinking, learning and connecting on a daily basis. This is especially important for seniors prone to degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Why & How You Should Be Digitally Engaging the Elderly

The How

When it comes to using digital tools, the benefits – both to seniors and to your bottom line – is clear. But how do you go about using them? What’s the best way to engage seniors on the web?

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Use social media – particularly Facebook. Facebook is a huge hit with seniors. They use it to stay up to date on their kids and grandkids, they log on daily to connect with friends and family members, and they often use it as their main source of local and national news. Leverage this by setting up a Facebook page for your business, and make sure to post content to it daily. If you’re looking to draw in more residents, you may also want to supplement your efforts with some paid Facebook advertising. You can target by age, geographic location and other factors, and hone in on the audience with the most potential for your business. If you need help setting up your ad, use these instructions.
  2. Share content they can relate to. Have a strategy in place for managing your Facebook and online presences, and make sure to only post content that your customers will find relevant and valuable. Include images of people their age, talk about the health concerns and issues they’re dealing with, and give them content and resources that are relevant to where they’re at in life. Make them want to interact with your posts and share your content with others.
  3. Make it easy to read. Avoid tiny fonts on your website or buttons with hard-to-discern calls to action. Make sure your website and social profiles are laid out in a simple, easy to navigate manner, and be clear with your instructions and CTAs when it comes to submitting forms or getting in touch. You want the process to be as easy as possible – even for those with deteriorating eyesight.
  4. Make it fun. Seniors often use the web to socialize or for entertainment, so make your digital efforts fun. Post polls and quizzes, ask their opinions, and encourage them to interact with each other and make new friends. Give them a reason to keep engaging with your brand day after day.

Why & How You Should Be Digitally Engaging the Elderly

Reaching Seniors on the Web

The power of digital engagement can’t be denied, but the same methods used on younger audiences won’t always work with older generations. Have a clear and defined strategy for managing your digital engagement efforts, and focus on providing relevant, fun and value-adding content that older consumers can use in their daily lives. The more they enjoy your content and trust your expertise, the more likely they’ll join your community and refer others there, too.

Do you want to start engaging seniors for your assisted living facility? Then contact Outlet Creative Group today. We’ll help you hone in on a winning strategy that works.

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