Social Media: A powerful marketing tool for Home Care providers

With over 2.7 billion Internet users worldwide, 191.4 million of those users are in the U.S and 73% of those Americans use Social Media[1]. Social Media networks are one of the largest communication platforms for personal and business use. Social Media is an effective way to educate and interact with your clients and prospects. So why wouldn’t you want to use Social Media? It’s free and easy to incorporate into your marketing strategy.

The Internet, in general, is one of the largest sources individuals turn to for research and feedback. Your agency should be a part of that social community in order to help build brand awareness. And, chances are, your competitors are using it too. So you can use this opportunity to set your agency apart from others. Provide details on your history, where you are today, what you have to offer, and where you plan to be in the future. Also comment on your dedicated staff, both internal and field. Give prospects an idea of the ongoing training and support you offer to help improve the delivery of care.

Tips:

  • Encourage your clients and staff to share their experiences and opinions of your company.
  • Tell real life success stories because this is what prospects want to hear about. They want to feel confident that your agency is the right choice for themselves or a loved one.
  • Get to know your audience. Who will be viewing your network pages, and what do they want to know? Kenyon Homecare Consulting suggests the audience is usually a child of an elderly person between the age of 45 and 65. However, I would propose a wider range than that, and say that the audience could be a grandchild of the elder, and the age can be as young as 20.

Choosing a Home Care Provider is not an easy task for a participant or a loved one. My family and I experienced the process when my grandma reached the age of 87. Grandma started “slowing down” and was not able to do the simple tasks that she used to. She was no longer able to bathe herself, get dressed or prepare meals. At this point, we decided it was time to find her help since she lived alone, and we could not always be home for her during the day. My sisters and I helped our mother find the agency that was the best fit for Grandma, but it was not that easy.

The research process:

We started by speaking with my grandmother’s doctor and he provided us with a list of home care providers in our area. I must say, we were overwhelmed and did not know where to start. So we turned to the Internet, as most people do. We evaluated several agencies by reviewing their websites; including news and events, awards, affiliations, as well as social media pages. We compared the types of services, clients and staff reviews, patient satisfaction rates and Home Health Compare outcomes, as well as how actively involved these agencies were within the community. We narrowed our search down to two agencies and followed up with an onsite meeting. From there, we made our final decision and we were very pleased with the provider.

For families that are out of state or live long distance, it is even more difficult to find help for their loved one, especially if they are not able to go onsite for a visit or cannot attend the orientation/assessment meeting. Therefore, it is important for your agency to provide as much information as possible on the Internet. Social media provided my family with a great deal of feedback on the providers. We were able to review patient and family comments, awards and pictures.

Sounds like you need to get involved right? Yes! So, now you know why it’s important to be social, but you question who will manage your pages? Do I need a social media team? Well, those are common questions when building a marketing plan. Every agency has some sort of marketing plan. Do you send out emails or direct mail to clients or prospects? If so, then you have a marketing plan in place. Using the Internet and Social Media will help increase your business presence, and help generate new clients and maintain existing relationships.

You do not need a team dedicated to Social Media; you simply need an individual within your agency that is able to communicate and share information on the company’s behalf. You should be consistent with your pages; posting at least once a week is an ideal way to start. Once the information is flowing, and you find great articles or create blogs, you post as necessary, but keep it going. Don’t let the momentum go, keep them coming back for more!

Information you might want to share:

  • Upcoming events in which your agency is participating
  • Awards or acknowledgements your company or staff have received
  • Industry related news articles that are relevant to your audience
  • Visuals: pictures or videos of your agency or events
  • Client testimonials, including those from patients and family members
  • Blogs

Some of the most popular social media networks for businesses include:

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Google+

(Source: thenextweb.com)

So now you have a good understanding of why you should be using Social Media, and how to get started, so go ahead and give it a try!

Check out this video on how social media plays a big part in the way we interact in the world. “The Social Media Revolution 2014” by Buzz Social Media http://youtu.be/0eUeL3n7fDs

[1] http://24motiondesign.com/#!projects/social-media-2014-in-the-usa “10 US SOCIAL MEDIA FACTS DATA VIDEO” by 24 motion designs

About the Author:
Michelle Spinelli is the Sales Coordinator at Sandata Technologies, LLC. She has over 8 years’ experience in home healthcare sales and marketing. Michelle currently manages Sandata’s tradeshow campaigns, mailers, thought leadership webinar events, social media networks and lead development with Salesforce CRM. For more information on this and other healthcare topics please visit www.sandata.com.