More and more seniors — and their adult children — are using the Internet to find information about senior living communities. This means it’s easier for you to get the word out about your community. However, it also means that prospective customers are hearing about your company from people other than your sales team, for example, on review websites and social media platforms.
You can’t control everything that people learn about your community online, but you can take several steps to manage your reputation and ensure you are putting your best foot forward.
What is online reputation management?
Online reputation management is the process of overseeing and altering your online image so that your strengths are played up and any negative material about your company is played down. This does not mean lying to seniors and their families. It means providing better information and customer service online.
Tips for managing your online reputation
Make your customers happy
Online reputation management starts offline, within your community. If your residents and their families are happy, they will post positive comments, give you great online reviews, and promote you from their social media accounts. Of course, the reverse is also true — if your residents and their families aren’t happy, you (and everyone else) will definitely hear about it!
The content you release into the digital world plays a major part in determining your online image. Blogging regularly can help you in several ways:
- It can improve the ranking of your senior care website on Google. The way to do this is to write content that provides valuable information for your customers, such as advice on making the transition to senior living. Here are a few other easy tips to help your blogs get found online.
- It can establish you as a thought leader in the senior care industry. Well-written blog content shows seniors and their families that you are an expert and that you care, which makes them feel better about your overall brand.
- It helps build trust. Blogging shouldn’t be too sales-y. Instead, it should be informative to help your customers become more knowledgeable about senior care. People want companies to communicate with them, and blogging is a good way to build that communication and establish trust.
Read and respond to comments
Negative reviews and comments are a fact of life for any business, but especially in senior care, where reviews are one of the top factors prospective customers consider. Many companies make the mistake of ignoring negative reviews in hopes that they will go away. They won’t. Instead, respond to negative reviews online personally and sincerely. This lets people know that you are listening and that you care about your customers — which is exactly what prospective customers are looking for in a senior care provider.
Use social media effectively
Social media use among those aged 65 years and older has jumped from 1 percent in 2006 to 49 percent in 2014. With nearly half of seniors active online, you should be too. Facebook and Twitter are the two most popular social media sites, so if nothing else, make sure you are on both of those platforms and use them regularly, not only to promote your business, but also to see what people are saying about you.
Online reputation management is not an easy task, especially if you have a lot to clean up, or if your senior care business is new to the internet or social media. In situations like these, or if you simply don’t have the time to devote to this process, get help. Online reputation management specialists make their careers by helping businesses build and improve their online images.
Online reputation management isn’t difficult, but it does take time. Step 1 is keeping your current customers happy. After that, plan to devote some time every week to managing your online reputation using the tips outlined above.