With the number of technology-savvy older adults rising rapidly, the senior living communities who don’t use the Internet and various social media outlets to communicate with this demographic do so “at their own peril,” according to a recent white paper on the potentials and pitfalls of social media released earlier this year by Life Care Services.
The top five online destinations visited by the 65+ demographic in 2009 are led by first-ranked Google search, followed by Windows Media Player, Facebook, YouTube, and Amazon, according to Nielsen Media Company.
More and more seniors are using the Internet for various purposes, according to a Pew Research Center study showing that for the first time, more than half of 65+ seniors (53%) are online—and once on, they become regular users. Boomers are already becoming increasingly accustomed to having a social media presence, too, as one in three online seniors are using networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
“Certainly, as the Baby Boom generation begins to consider their senior housing options in the future, social media will play an ever-increasing role in their decision-making process,” writes LCS.
This has major implications on how senior living providers need to respond to this trend, and the white paper recommends that by 2015, senior living communities should be spending about eight to ten percent of their marketing budgets on online marketing and social media initiatives.
However, there are also cautions to take into consideration when it comes to social media and senior living, and it’s important to have a policy in place before launching social media platforms, says LCS.
Senior living communities should have dedicated in-house personnel responsible for maintaining their social presence, the white paper recommends.
Access Senior Living Communities and Social Media: Fostering Potential and Avoiding Pitfalls here.
Written by Alyssa Gerace