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Building a Facebook Audience That Matters

If you’re marketing to baby boomers and seniors, then you know that building a Facebook audience matters. After all, individuals over the age of 55 have embraced Facebook, and the numbers keep growing. When baby boomers and seniors come across your brand elsewhere online, they are likely to go searching for your Facebook presence because it gives them insight into your brand.

That’s why a Facebook page is so much more than a page. From your Facebook profile, boomers and seniors can gauge how big of a following you have (trust factor – if others like you, you must be worth liking), your engagement with customers, customer satisfaction, and more. They’ll not only browse your posts, but they’ll also read the comments of other boomers and seniors on your posts. They’ll take note – are you engaging with your followers who comment by commenting back in a timely manner, or are you leaving comments unanswered? (Hint: the latter indicates you aren’t paying attention or you might not care – yikes).

When used correctly, though, Facebook can become a platform for you to cultivate genuine engagement with your customers. The term “social network” connotes what you’ve probably already found: Facebook is a great place to build relationships with the people that matter to your company.

So, how can you find those people? Here are four things you’ll need to do to build a Facebook audience that matters.

1. Define your relevant audience

The first step in building an impactful Facebook audience is to determine whom, exactly, your relevant audience actually is. As with all marketing activities, social media strategy is much more effective when it is directed toward the right audience – and the right audience are the people who will help you to drive sales.

So, what do your potential customers look like? This question deserves more consideration than a simple top-of-the-mind reaction. Consider creating “buyer personas” that represent your average customers; this is a common marketing practice, and it really helps to give your marketing efforts direction. You’ll likely have several distinct customer segments, with different interests and needs. Take the time to determine how you’ll design your Facebook presence with them in mind.

For those marketing to seniors, you can start to define your audience with some consideration of demographics. They’ll likely be older – seniors themselves, or their adult children or caregivers. Consider factors like ideal range of income, life-stage, and relevant interests. Location can also play a big part, depending on your type of business. In your page settings, look for “Preferred Page Audience” to make these selections. This is a great start.

Once you’ve chosen whom to focus your page toward, you can begin using Facebook’s audience targeting options to make sure that your content is reaching those who are most likely to find your content interesting and engaging.

How do you do this? Well, Facebook recently introduced a tool called “Audience Optimization,” which increases the likelihood that the right people will see and engage with your posts.

According to Facebook, the point of the tool (which replaces an older tool called Interest Targeting) is to “help prioritize posts that are most likely to be engaging for a person without limiting visibility for others. If your goal is to prevent a post from being seen by people for whom it isn’t relevant, Audience Restrictions work across Facebook to limit by location (include or exclude locations), language, age or gender.”

The tool is turned on automatically for pages with over 5,000 followers, but for smaller pages, an admin can manually turn on the feature.

2. Create Engaging Content

Once you know what you want your audience to look like, the next step is to create awesome content that will draw them into your community and keep them coming back for more.

One way to get an idea of what your own content should look like is to watch other pages similar to yours. Compare the types of content they post, how often content is being posted, and the engagement that they generate from week to week. This can help give you some benchmarks for what to expect on your own page, and also provide you with ideas of which types of content work (and don’t work) for your audience. To do this, use the “Pages to Watch” feature in Facebook Insights.

Then, take the best ideas that you see and use them as inspiration to create your own content. While it’s ok to occasionally share content from other sources, it’s best to create content of your own.

For example, if you’re a senior living community, post photos from recent events on your timeline (but be sure to include an intro sentence or two to describe what users are seeing). Have a new chef? Introduce him or her with a picture, a short bio, and why you’re so excited to have this person on board. You could also post about happenings in the greater community. Are your residents taking fun day trips? Take photos or make a video, and then post it on your page! (These don’t have to be professional, ad agency quality; in fact, the more real they seem, the better.)

Happen to have a “selfie stick” lying around? Have your residents take “selfies” at events and then post those on your Facebook page. This type of content is great because it shows the seniors themselves actually having fun and enjoying life at your retirement community. Encourage your residents to engage with the posts on the page by liking or leaving comments. Research has shown that word of mouth and opinions of peers are huge factors for influencing boomers and seniors. If you post great content about what is happening with your brand, and boomers and seniors see it on your Facebook page, then voila!—evidence from the audience itself that your brand is pretty great. Score!

Remember, your goal with your Facebook page should be to cultivate a community that reflects your services and customers in a way that’s rewarding to those who participate. And, as we’ve talked about before, don’t get too sales-y on Facebook; you’ll usually end up turning people off. Instead, be genuine and helpful. Your audience will reciprocate those qualities.

3. Boost Your Page with Promotion

Having a great content strategy should be at the core of your social media plan, but sometimes even great content needs a boost to get it in front of more eyes. Facebook offers two powerful tools to help you reach more people: Promote your Page campaigns and Boost your Post campaigns. Here’s how they work:

Promote Your Page Campaign

Not enough page likers? Try a “Promote Your Page campaign.” Here, you set demographic targeting options to get Facebook to show your page to users who might be interested in your page. Users can “like” your page directly from their news feed, or click through to see more of your page. This is why it’s important to ensure you always have current, engaging content on your page.

Boost Your Posts

If a certain post is getting high engagement, spend $10-$15 to “boost” it to a targeted audience of Facebook users who don’t already like your page. It’s best to boost unique, original content that you wrote and published. Facebook even helps suggest which posts to boost.

Another great way to use Facebook insights is to find out which posts are getting the most engagement so that you can boost your best content. If you are an admin of your page, you should have access to the Insights, which give you invaluable access to data about who is engaging with your page. Here you can see information about: likes, reach, page views, actions on the page (engagement), and more. Insights allow you to see where people are coming from to get to your page, and what they’re doing on your Facebook page once they arrive.

The “Posts” tab on Insights shows you information about how your various posts are performing (clue: the posts with the most engagement indicate what’s most interesting to users – post more of this type of content!).

The “People” tab shows you information about people who have liked your page, people your posts have reached, and people who have engaged with your content.

Use this data to inform your promotional campaigns to get the best possible engagement.

4. Other ways to build your audience

Focus, content, and promotion are the building blocks, but truly great Facebook pages add in other ingredients (call these part of the “secret sauce”) that can help to drive them over the top. Here are a few of those things to try out for yourself.

  • Encourage your customers to find and like your page. You can also include a link to your Facebook page in the signature of your email correspondence. Of course, you’ll want to ensure you’ve linked to your Facebook page from your main website, as well.
  • Like and engage with other pages that relate to your brand. For example, if you are an assisted living and memory care community, “like” other pages on Facebook related to senior care, such as the Alzheimer’s Association. Then, occasionally engage with and/or share interesting pieces of the Alzheimer’s Association content on your own page (but, when posting it on your own page, be sure to include a thoughtful comment of your own introducing the piece). You can also “like” other pages in your area/greater community. Oftentimes you’ll find that those page admins will “like” you back. When boomers and seniors are building their list of pages to follow, they might start with local organizations and happen upon your page, as Facebook gives “suggested pages” to like.
  • Enable the reviews functionality on your Facebook page. Research shows that boomers and seniors are very active and willing to leave reviews. When reviews come in, personally acknowledge each one, whether positive or negative (but most reviews tend to be positive). When potential customers are checking your Facebook page and see positive reviews from adult child influencers, boomers or the seniors themselves, this reflects very well upon your brand.

Hopefully, you’ve claimed and optimized your listings on other sites like Google and Yelp. When positive reviews come through on those sites, take a screenshot and post them to your Facebook page as new content on your page. This might inspire existing fans of yours to write a review of their own!

So, there you have it: four steps to building a Facebook audience that matters.

Want more expertise on social media marketing to baby boomers and seniors, or have any ideas of your own? Get in touch with us! We’d love to help you design your marketing efforts in a way that genuinely engages your older audience.

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