Private Duty

Improve your agency’s Facebook and social media strategy to obtain more referrals

Set goals and objectives for the use of Facebook and create strong content to reap the benefits of increasing referrals, networking opportunities and becoming an influencer in the community.

“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a presence on Facebook,” says Jason Lewallen, vice president of marketing for Home Care Sales in Nashville, Tenn. “Facebook is now the best opportunity for companies financially. It can be the most easily exploited to connect to the people you want, the demographic you want.”

But while many agencies have Facebook, not all are using it for the best advantage.

“I’d say about half of the industry is sporadically using Facebook,” Lewallen says.

Still, Facebook continues to gain traction as a successful marketing method among home health care agency marketers, especially as a way to reach adult children between the ages of 30 and 60. According to annual private duty benchmarking studies from Home Care Pulse, use of Facebook as a top marketing source significantly grew in private duty home care in 2018 when compared to 2017. The percentage of revenue associated with the platform also involved a big increase. All of this while the percentage of agencies using Facebook held fairly steady.

“Facebook has the largest and best broad targeting tools and analytics and most of the tools are free,” says Melynda Lee, director of growth solutions for Hamden, Conn.-based Simione Healthcare Consultants. “It’s an opportunity to engage the audience in a broad way before they need the services.”

Set goals to best optimize Facebook

Knowing what to post and when is key, according to Lee.

“The content needs to be meaningful and engaging,” says Lee, who encourages use of a quarterly editorial calendar to plan posts in advance.

It should always be part of a larger digital marketing and/or social media marketing plan.

“Don’t set out to do this until you have goals. How else would you know if it’s effective,” Lee says.

Determine who posts are targeting and how the agency will measure effectiveness. For instance, if the goal is to increase referrals, outline by when and by how much.

Facebook should also be a personable experience.

“A relationship on social media should mirror relationships in real life,” says Amy Selle, co-managing director of Corecubed, Aging Care Marketing of Asheville, North Carolina. “In real life you are networking and meeting people, making referrals. You should be doing the same thing on Facebook, liking, commenting and introducing people to other people and businesses. If a business associated with yours has done something new, congratulate them.”

The use of Facebook Live can also help the community understand the agency, by posting short videos focused on what the agency does. In addition to engaging with the community, Facebook can interest agency employees with posts about events, contests, holiday parties, birthdays, appreciation for caregivers and awards such as “caregiver of the month.” It’s this type of community engagement that also helps with caregiver and nursing retention.

“Really what people are looking for on Facebook is helpful information,” Selle says.

Lee agrees.

“It’s really all about the customer journey. People are at different points along that journey at any given time,” she says. Many adult children realize their aging parent needs help, but are not sure what kind of help.

“They’re looking for solutions,” Lee says. “Most people don’t know what to ask.”

That’s where a strong Facebook presence can help. And it’s important not only for agencies to have a Facebook page, but also to have reviews from satisfied customers.

“Adult children of potential clients are looking at these reviews,” Lewallen says. “Your reviews really matter for that generation.”