30
Jun 21

Putting the social media in social care

Posted: 30 June 2021

Putting the social media in social care: the care providers using social media to support their organisation, and how you can do the same

In celebration of Social Media Day we’re looking at how social care providers can effectively use social media for their organisation, including tips and inspiration from those care organisations leading the way in putting the ‘social media’ into social care.

Getting started with social media

First things first, let’s look at how and why social care providers can use social media, and some top tips on how you can make the most effective use of your social media presence.

Popular social channels to use: There’s a wide range of different social media channels to choose from, with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube all being popular and effective choices for organisations to use

Different channels can work best for different purposes, Facebook can be a good choice for sharing longer and more personal posts, while Twitter is a great place for sharing short and snappy updates and commenting on current topics of interest. LinkedIn has a business focus so is the perfect place for more business-oriented updates about your organisation, while Instagram and YouTube are a space to get creative - with Instagram focused on sharing images and YouTube catering to video hosting.

Build awareness of your work: One of the biggest benefits you can achieve through using social media is building awareness of the great work you’re doing. This can be through sharing updates about staff achievements, sharing images from events you’re running, sharing good news stories about the people you support, or discussing new projects and innovations you’ve been involved in.

Building awareness of what you’re doing has a positive impact in many ways, including:

  • raising the profile of your own organisation and that of the important work of social care as a whole
  • connecting with and reassuring those you support, their networks and those who may be looking for a care provider for themselves or someone else about the quality of care being provided at your organisation
  • celebrating your staff and their hard work which will make them feel empowered and appreciated.

Join sector conversations: Being active on social media allows the opportunity to join in on sector conversations. This ensures you’re kept up-to-date with news, developments, and different perspectives within the sector, and again allows you to raise the profile of your organisations’ work and knowledge, as well as gain tips and insights from others. You can also use social media to provide helpful information on topics such as COVID-19, and to help reduce the spread of misinformation.

Attract new talent: Social media is a great way to find and attract new staff. Firstly, you can use your social media channels to promote job vacancies. By using relevant hashtags such as #socialcarejobs and by asking other relevant organisations if they can share the post, you can reach a much wider range of potential candidates than you may do without social media. Of course, LinkedIn which is a business-focused social channel is one of the best places to share your vacancy, and you can even create a job listing on here to be seen by people searching for jobs.

As well as providing a platform to share job adverts, being active on social media can also show potential applicants what they can expect working with you and why your organisation would be a great place for them to work.

Answer queries: Of course, social media is also about connecting, and social media profiles have become a go-to place for people looking for information and answers from an organisation. You can post information around common queries on your social channels on a regular basis, and you can also communicate directly around any individual queries using the messaging features across social platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

 

Top tips for using social media

We’ve rounded up a few basic top tips to help make it easier to manage your social media and to encourage the most engagement with your posts online.

  • Use a social media management tool: There’s a wide range of social media management tools available, such as Hootsuite and Sprout. These tools allow you to schedule all your posts in advance and even manage multiple different channels in one place, which is much easier than doing every update ad-hoc. This also helps you to plan out all your posts in advance so you can make sure you’re sending out the most important updates at the best times.
  • Look out for awareness days: There’s many national awareness days, weeks and months happening throughout the year which you can tie into with your social media updates. If you have helpful information on a topic or just want to show your support, posting around awareness days is a great way to be relevant. Make sure to use the awareness day hashtag in your posts.
  • Remember hashtags: It’s not just awareness days that have hashtags. You can use hashtags in all your posts to help people interested in the topic you’re posting find them. Use hashtags such as #socialcare, #carehome or #homecare in your posts.
  • Tag people and locations: If you’re referring to other people or organisations in your posts make sure to tag them so that they can see it and potentially reshare it with their own networks. You can also add locations to your post so if you’re sharing an update from a specific location, such as a well-known landmark make sure to tag it in your post too.
  • Be visual: Social media is a very visual place. Of course, Instagram and YouTube rely on imagery and video content, but across all channels including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn you should always include a relevant image with your post as this helps to capture people’s attention when they’re scrolling through their feed.
  • Be authentic: You might be worried about how to present your organisation on social media, but don’t worry about being formal. The best thing to do is just be authentic, with a friendly, personable, straightforward, and informative tone to your posts – just like you would communicate in-person.
  • Keep an eye on results: Social media channels allow you to track a lot of metrics about your posts such as the number of people who have seen it and engaged with it. By monitoring these results and looking at what type of content gets the best engagement, or what time of days your posts are seen by most people you can identify the type of content your followers most want to see and when, and make sure you’re providing this content.

 

Organisations to follow for inspiration

CRG Homecare: Providing care across the country, CRG Homecare are very creative when it comes to using social media and content. The organisation is particularly skilled at using video content and running video campaigns such as their ‘Power of Care’ campaign which is a series of videos highlighting the relationship between people who work in care and people who receive care. Follow them on Facebook for inspiration

Bluebird Care, South Oxfordshire: This Oxfordshire home care organisation makes great use of social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The organisation shares an array of updates and information including congratulating staff on work-anniversaries, recognising national awareness days, and having general friendly conversations about everything from the weather to what people have been doing over the weekend. Follow them on Instagram for inspiration.

Larchfield Care Home, Leeds: This Leeds-based care home does a great job of using Twitter to share updates and information, and to connect with people. They tap into national awareness days and produce their own infographics to share information on important topics such as Covid-19. They also point people to follow them on Twitter from their website which is a good way to encourage more followers and engagement. Follow them on Twitter for inspiration.

The Red House, Ashtead: This Surrey care home are active across a whole range of social channels including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. The organisation places a real emphasis on showcasing the activities going at their home, highlighting not just what they’re doing but why they’re doing it. This not only shows off the great work going on at this care home but also positions the organisation as a thought-leader in innovative activities for their residents. Follow them on LinkedIn for inspiration.

Sweet Tree Home Care Services, London: This home care provider utilises many social channels including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn and link to all their social channels on their website. As well as sharing updates from their team, they also create social media campaigns such as their recent #BrainInjuryAwarenessWeek campaign which included a series of video interviews with subject experts about brain injury. Follow them on Facebook for inspiration.