Editor’s Take: What Providers Can Learn from New Social Media Data

Let’s talk about those nasty reviews on Facebook.

At this point, senior housing marketers should know, by heart, these step-by-step instructions for interacting with disgruntled family members on the Internet. It’s the same basic, two-and-a-half-step process is hammered home during every marketing session at every senior housing conference—or at least it seems to have been at every conference I’ve attended:

1. Always respond to negative comments or reviews— no matter how truthful or outlandish—to show other potential customers who see them that you’re a responsive, compassionate senior care provider, as opposed to the uncaring or incompetent mess you’ve been made out to be.


1a. Keep your responses brief and never defensive. Simply say something like, “I’m sorry this was your experience, how can we work to make this better?”

2. Immediately (and visibly) offer to take the conversation offline so that, ideally, the last thing other customers will read on the site is your thoughtful response, not unfair accusations.

So, is there really anything new to say on the matter?



A recently published report from Chicago-based social media management and analytics company Sprout Social takes a deep dive into how and why modern-day consumers use social media to interact with companies and brands.

As you will soon see, senior housing providers would do well to pay attention to the findings.

The report reveals, for example, that 55% of consumers call out brands on social media specifically to get a response or a resolution. That’s good news for senior housing providers who have diligently stuck to the tried-and-true, two-and-a-half step process when responding to disgruntled family members online. In may cases, an online response may be only half the battle—but for 55% of people, it may very well do the trick!

Additionally, 44% of consumers will be “won back” by a brand if the brand gives a great response to a negative review, the survey says.

The report also reveals exactly who is doing the calling out on social media. You probably guessed it, but millennials are 43% more likely to call out a brand or company on social media than members of other generations. Additionally, 56% of all millennials have actually called out or complained about a brand on social media (they’re a talkative bunch!).

Senior housing providers should also likely be prepared to get a whole lot more online feedback in the future, as only 8% of people surveyed by Sprout said they would remain silent on social media if they witnessed inappropriate behavior from a brand or company.

Here are some other helpful things to know when it comes to consumers calling brands out on social media:

  • 38% of consumers hope to get a refund
  • 19% of consumers hope to score a discount
  • 50% of consumers will boycott a brand if they receive a bad response to their social media call-out
  • 45% of consumers will post about their positive interaction with a brand they’ve called out on social media if the brand responds well to their post
There’s plenty to digest here, but the gist is simple: social media reviews are here to stay, and they’re about to become much more common in senior living. Is your community prepared?

Mary Kate Nelson is the Assistant Editor of Senior Housing News. She can be reached at [email protected].

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