Always include a call to action. Head over to Facebook, click on your Pages Feed, and tell me what you see. Most of the posts will ask their audience to "like" or share or read or buy—you get the point. There’s nothing wrong with this in small doses, but remember that every other brand is asking for the same thing, and eventually audiences can become fatigued. Not every bit of content—whether it is a Facebook post, a tweet, an Instagram photo, or a blog article—must ask your audience to take a specific action. Of course you hope they’ll share it with their audiences or even head to your online store and buy a product, but you don’t have to order them to do it.

I was reading this post from Ragan’s Health Care News about the “5 social media tips to ignore.” Here is number four “Always include a call to action.”

It used to be complete Facebook (and blog) law to include a question at the end of the post, for example, so that you encourage your fans to “engage” with the brand. That’s a great idea, but if you ask a question in a forest and no trees answer, did it still suck? The answer here is yes. If you include a “call to action” and no one acts, then you kind of just make the page look like it’s talking to itself. Not to mention that post - which no one responded to - will live on the timeline forever. 

Earlier in the article, Jon Thomas states, “…no amount of money will make your brand relevant to a consumer if it doesn’t create something of value.” And it’s true for calls to action as well. No amount of calls to action will make your brand relevant to a consumer if it doesn’t already create something of value for that person.

No, this blog is not just about the FRONTLINE piece on Assisted Living. That may be the fuel that got it going, but it’s about more than that. I needed a place to talk about my perspective, the PR perspective, and my observations as a PR professional in the senior living industry. Here is why the PR perspective is important (and largely unheard in this market): 
1. There are only Marketing Departments. PR mostly doesn’t exist.
Most, if not all, senior living communities - assisted living, independent living or otherwise - have a Marketing Director or a Marketing Department. But, public relations is usually non-existent unless done so through a consultant or an agency. Some of the bigger senior living companies will have a few PR people in-house, but even when I’ve seen that happen, the PR staff is responsible for multiple other chain communities as clients, and the effort spreads pretty thin.
2. “Marketing” means “sales” and “advertising” means “PR”
Especially in the for-profit communities, “Marketing” is usually the term used when talking about “occupancy.” Occupancy means sales. This means making sure that the apartments, condos, houses or what have you are filled with people. This all translates to the bottom line. And “advertising” is the term mostly used when discussing public awareness strategies for the Marketing department. Paid media is generally one of the most widely used avenues to gain awareness for a community.
Because of the rarity of owned or earned media in senior living marketing, you could say that my position is unique, as is my focused PR perspective. So, I hope you’ll continue reading. This is the last post I’ll mention Frontline. Promise.

No, this blog is not just about the FRONTLINE piece on Assisted Living. That may be the fuel that got it going, but it’s about more than that. I needed a place to talk about my perspective, the PR perspective, and my observations as a PR professional in the senior living industry. Here is why the PR perspective is important (and largely unheard in this market): 

1. There are only Marketing Departments. PR mostly doesn’t exist.

Most, if not all, senior living communities - assisted living, independent living or otherwise - have a Marketing Director or a Marketing Department. But, public relations is usually non-existent unless done so through a consultant or an agency. Some of the bigger senior living companies will have a few PR people in-house, but even when I’ve seen that happen, the PR staff is responsible for multiple other chain communities as clients, and the effort spreads pretty thin.

2. “Marketing” means “sales” and “advertising” means “PR”

Especially in the for-profit communities, “Marketing” is usually the term used when talking about “occupancy.” Occupancy means sales. This means making sure that the apartments, condos, houses or what have you are filled with people. This all translates to the bottom line. And “advertising” is the term mostly used when discussing public awareness strategies for the Marketing department. Paid media is generally one of the most widely used avenues to gain awareness for a community.

Because of the rarity of owned or earned media in senior living marketing, you could say that my position is unique, as is my focused PR perspective. So, I hope you’ll continue reading. This is the last post I’ll mention Frontline. Promise.

See anything familiar?
Cypress trees, oak trees, apple trees, willow trees, palm trees…you name a tree and it’s probably in a retirement living community logo out there somewhere.
This image is not a joke. It’s a collection of retirement community logos found via Google Images.
Other common elements in retirement community logos? Leaves. Lots of leaves. Also, sunrises. Or sunsets, depending on the logo, I’m not really sure. Drawings of houses are used sometimes. And, of course, one of my favorites (insert sarcasm): the logo with two golf clubs crossed in an “x.”

See anything familiar?

Cypress trees, oak trees, apple trees, willow trees, palm trees…you name a tree and it’s probably in a retirement living community logo out there somewhere.

This image is not a joke. It’s a collection of retirement community logos found via Google Images.

Other common elements in retirement community logos? Leaves. Lots of leaves. Also, sunrises. Or sunsets, depending on the logo, I’m not really sure. Drawings of houses are used sometimes. And, of course, one of my favorites (insert sarcasm): the logo with two golf clubs crossed in an “x.”