If pressed, I’m the first to admit my family has been spending more time on social media since mid-March. Since we are confined to home, it’s not surprising our innate craving for human connection has us reaching out to friends and family. We’re following the news on Twitter, catching up with friends on Facebook and Instagram, connecting with Zoom parties, and lifting our spirits with silly Tik-Tok videos.

Brands are also relying on social platforms for new ways to reach their audiences. For instance, About Face Bootcamp, my workout “home” for the past seven years, has had to convert its entire business model due to COVID-19 restrictions. Instead of shutting their doors, they’ve shifted to Facebook and now provide 3-4 live workouts daily. The videos are on a members-only private page called Aboutletes. But they didn’t stop there.

They recognize the importance of the personal trainer relationship, so members also have the option for personal training sessions via a Facebook messenger video. While no one knows if this model will thrive once we return to the gym, it is clear the current approach means owner Jena will have more options when things reopen. By thoughtfully embracing the new social approach, she’s laying the groundwork for future success. Smart businesses across all industries need to do the same thing, taking a holistic and long-range view of their social media marketing initiatives.

Integrated Marketing Approach

Senior living communities are accustomed to using social media as part of their marketing strategy. But tough times call for fresh approaches. While Jena is fighting to keep her fitness business alive, senior living communities are fighting a different challenge in the face of COVID-19. For every feel-good story about a senior living community, the media publishes a story about long-term care and skilled nursing facilities being ravaged by the virus.

In an industry working overtime to promote an image of healthy, active seniors, how do you overcome perception issues? How do you counter negative stories without appearing to be insensitive or out of step? In a time when we’re six feet away from one another and wearing masks, how do you build the bonds of community? In a nutshell: social media powered by omnichannel support, using multiple channels to achieve one goal. For example, social media supported by expertly targeted email campaigns.

Eblasts and Microtargeted Ads

Brands that tap into the power of an engaged audience recognize they can’t simply publish a post and expect an engaged audience to show up. Plenty of brands pump out social content that fails to resonate with anyone. Few likes, fewer comments, and zero shares are neon flags signaling a lack of interest by their followers.

Savvy brands recognize that social posts flourish only when they provide an active support strategy. Successful brands understand the value of multiple posts promoting their premier content. They leverage the expertise of full-time social media managers to run micro ad campaigns as signal boosters to reach the right audience. But if that’s not in your budget, it’s time to explore other options.

When you can’t invite your audience to visit your community in person, a virtual event is almost like being there. Facebook is rife with ideas about ways to connect using video for virtual events. But successful events rely on behind-the-scenes prep. As with anything, you can’t just put it out there and expect people to show up.

One major component of a successful digital event is omnichannel support. Once you decide on the nature of the event, the prep work turns to the actual production tasks and event promotion. Chances are good that you’ve got in-house talent handling the production. But do you have the right lists for your email or direct mail campaign to successfully promote the event? Sourcing the right data to boost awareness demands the right partner. And the right partner for data is Sabal Group.

Break Out Stars

The RiverWoods Group communities in New Hampshire have been super successful on Facebook with live events that go beyond the ordinary. Every Wednesday, they host a movement video to encourage their audience to stay active. But they’re doing more than hosting dance parties. A recent 15-minute video on downsizing garnered 14,000+ views.

If you’re longing for an audience that numbers in the thousands, the right content deserves a signal boost. Sending creative eblasts to the right list of prospects is an economical solution. It helps build a short-term audience of people looking for information, ideas, and diversions while they’re stuck at home. And it can build a long-term audience who will keep you in mind when their needs change in the future.

Facebook and Instagram are ideal platforms for visually-focused campaigns. Endearing photos of seniors wearing colorful masks, especially with the addition of red clown noses, lifts everyone’s spirits. But it doesn’t do much to build your brand and reap the rewards of new community members. If you’re ready to try something new to engage the right audience, it’s going to take an integrated marketing approach using the best data and the right channels delivered on a mix of devices. If you’d like to know more, I’m here for you. I’m happy to jump on a Zoom call to help you find workable solutions for your marketing needs.