Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Nov-Dec 2016 Contents Aged care providers should be
using social media to create
online communities that
provide an authentic view of
life within their facilities and
the quality of care provided to residents.
Consumers were now using platforms
like Facebook to gather information about
companies before making purchasing
decisions, according to social media guru
"People are using social media to get
information and to help validate their
decisions," says Lee, a digital strategist
with One Fell Swoop, a research and
While organisations traditionally
used their company website to market
themselves and provide information about
their services, consumers had a level of
distrust towards corporate websites and
questioned their authenticity, he said.
"This is the new way of marketing," Mr
Lee told providers at the Aged & Community
Services national summit recently.
"Traditional marketing has been a one-
way conversation -- you telling consumers
why your service is best. Social media has
changed the dynamic and put the power
in the hands of the consumer; they drive
discussions now and you can create a
place for them to have discussions."
The percentage of Facebook users in
Australia aged 45 to 65 doubled in the
past six years -- from 14 per cent in 2010
to 30 per cent in 2016, Lee said.
Facebook users in Australia aged 65-
plus increased from 104,000 in 2010 to
950,000 in 2016.
Some residential aged care providers
were successfully using Facebook to post
regularly about the activities and lifestyle
programs being delivered, illustrating
how staff and residents were interacting
and providing a glimpse into life within
"A lot of people are time poor but they
want to be able to pop in to see what's
going on in the lives of their loved one,
see how staff are taking care of them. One
interesting way to solve that issue is to
create a virtual community, and take what's
happening in the physical environment and
put that online," Lee said.
By using Facebook to transparently
and authentically post about life in
their facilities, some providers had
successfully created online followings
of family and friends who regularly
commented online, shared posts and
helped build the virtual community.
FEAR OF NEGATIVE
Many aged care providers were reluctant
to engage on social media platforms
such as Facebook for fear of receiving
But Lee argued this shouldn't stop
providers from creating online communities.
Negative comments were often posted
online regardless and it was better for
providers to be part of the conversation so
they could respond to issues, rather than
it happening behind their backs.
"Facebook gives you the ability to
monitor your brand online," he said.
However, it was essential that the
organisation appointed a community
manager to post regularly, to monitor
comments and respond to complaints
"You also need to establish the tone of
how you'll respond to issues. When you
get legitimate complaints it's important
to have the community manager who can
respond quickly and publicly," said Lee.
DOING IT WELL
Major aged care provider BlueCross
says that as social media has changed
how people interact with businesses and
brands, it wanted to take the opportunity
to have a more meaningful two-way
"We launched our Facebook page in
April 2016 as we felt the platform was
a fantastic vehicle to promote positive
ageing to a wider audience as it is used
by people from all generations, around
the world," says Maria Ioannidis, the
organisation's communications officer.
"We wanted to create a space to
engage with our clients, families and
staff, share information and ideas,
and connect and interact with people
interested in our stories.
"At the same time we felt the platform
could help to build a sense of inclusivity
throughout our 23 aged care residences
across Melbourne," says Ioannidis.
With more than 3,000 residents and
clients, Blue Cross regularly posts about a
diverse range of topics and stories on its
Facebook page, she says.
"We celebrate positive stories like
wedding anniversaries, special birthdays,
BlueCross news, awards and innovations;
as well as sharing stories of life in aged
care, stories of the people who live
with us and the interesting, fun, and
therapeutic activities that take place
every day," says Ioannidis.
Social media platforms like Facebook are the new
marketing tools for aged care facilities, a social media
guru says. Darragh O'Keeffe reports.
need to get
22 | NOVEMBER -- DECEMBER 2016 | AAA
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