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It wasn’t too long ago when the only attention paid to online reviews of senior living communities was making sure only the positive comments saw the light of day.

A recent article within Senior Housing News confirmed that if you’re not thinking about online reviews you’re missing the boat.  The article included insights from a digital marketing survey conducted by Software Advice regarding seniors and their views/reliance on peer reviews when choosing an assisted living community.

“Good online reviews can be seen as marketing tools to attract high-paying residents,” says Software Advice. “Consumers are not only using reviews in the selection process—they are incorporating reviews significantly in their budgeting decisions, too.”

The article goes on to detail how a negative review could have far-reaching repercussions, as it could discourage other mature consumers from even considering your community.

We couldn’t agree more. In fact, when conducting our Social, Silver Surfers researcTop sharing toolsh, here is what we heard about online reviews:

*  User reviews were used by half of all Baby Boomers and 4 in 10 Silent Generation seniors. In fact, the percentage of people over 40 who used these reviews doubled in just three years.

*  Among those who had moved to a senior living or active adult community, more than a third had used online directories in their move decision. Most of these directories include star ratings or other reviews.

Perception is reality and online reviews do matter. The fact of the matter is, as people trust organizations less and peers more, reviews can lend credibility to your marketing claims.

Senior living organizations should employ a strategic approach to the capturing of insights from happy residents online. Here are three ways to make sure you not only capture reviews, but glowing ones at that.

  1. New resident?  Include a request to complete a review of the community online as a part of their welcome experience.
  2. Incorporate testimonials and reviews within your website/social media for further credibility. Senior living community Fairing Way created a “Neighbor’s Corner” that slides positive testimonials into engaging future resident profiles.FW-WEB-NeighborsCorner-2013.sm
  3. Ratings matter—encourage satisfied residents to give you positive rankings within directory listings sites.

Does your organization consider online listing rankings as a part of your marketing strategy?  How do you encourage participation?  We’d love to hear your thoughts- just share in the comments below.

About The Author

Beth Mickey

Beth has more than 15 years of marketing experience and 10+ years experience working with both 55+ and Senior Living as a Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS), and serves as Client Services Director for Creating Results. As an expert in e-engagement, Beth applies her experience in strategic planning and execution of digital marketing efforts for her clients to identify opportunities to leverage online and offline marketing avenues as part of an integrated marketing approach. Her experience serving both in a client and agency capacity helps her gain an understanding for her client’s needs and goals to maximize program performance and return on investment.