Is Facebook the New Frontier for Marketing Retirement Communities to Seniors?

More seniors are adopting technology into their every-day routines and using the Internet and cell phones more than ever, and senior living providers may want to rethink their marketing strategies and the avenues through which they reach their target audiences.

An April 2012 Pew Research Center study showed that for the first time, more than half of the 65+ population uses the Internet, and they’re using it to check email, engage in social media, or do research—including for long-term care options.

That could be particularly important for senior living providers. SeniorsGuideOnline.com, a consumer resource for finding retirement housing, home health care, and other products and services for seniors, says its number of site users has grown, and its audience is “digging deeper” for more information. 

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“We see our visitors choosing several different skilled nursing homes, senior apartments, or even home companion care as opposed to just a single choice trying to find the right fit for them or a loved one,” says Katharine Ross, Director of Publishing for Seniors Guide.

Mobile traffic to the website has nearly doubled since January 2011, the resource company notes, and that may be due in part to more seniors using mobile devices, especially smartphones, to go online. 

The Pew research study showed that more seniors own cell phones than ever before, at about 69% of those aged 65 and older (up from 57% in May 2010). 

Many seniors are on Facebook or are signed up for other social networking websites, which could also increase the need for senior living providers to have a strong online presence. 

“More questions are being asked through Facebook about retirement,” says Ross. “Older Facebook users will pay attention to where their acquaintances are living. If their friends own a home in an active adult community or have used a home care service, users are asking about their experience and reviews through comments.” 

Creating a Facebook page and posting photos, upcoming event information, and existing resident testimonials could turn the social networking site into a marketing platform to reach seniors, she says. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace