Providence Life Services Realizes Social Media Success

When you have a 90% score on your website that Hubspot grades against all websites in every industry…  over 7,000 people visit your site monthly… and, you use technology resources to distribute your messages to over 100,000 active emails accounts, you are leading the pack in online communications best practices.  Such is the case with Providence Life Services (PLS), a not-for-profit Christian ministry serving seniors and headquartered in south suburban Chicago.

A four person staff designs, writes and manages the marketing for seven communities, four home and community based service groups, four rehabilitation centers as well as the parent organization, PLS.  Along with PLS’  website functionality that is content rich and frequently updated,  the marketing team manages the Facebook pages for the corporation along with their independent and assisted living communities.

“Originally our participation on Facebook was driven by a desire to provide a ministry for the families of residents.  The snippets of daily life caught in photos, stories, videos, etc., are a wonderful way for the families to see what the lives of their loved ones are like,” commented Director of Communications, Melanie Jongsma.  Mary James, Vice President of Communications and Marketing added that it has become a great marketing tool, too!

“Introducing social media into the Providence Life Services marketing and communications strategy is a result of three years spent rebranding our organization which included a name change from Rest Haven to Providence Life Services,”  according to James.  “Credit must be given to our CEO, Rick Scott, for his vision to embrace social media and technology as a significant component of our communications strategy.”

Peggy Hiemer designs and manages the website, Facebook accounts for PLS and its communities along with e-newsletters to various constituent groups.  Ms. Jongsma and Ms. Hiemer led a training class for community marketing directors to teach them how Facebook works.  Their community Facebook pages launched three months ago. “The success of the Facebook pages are directly related to the interest and dedication of the onsite point person.  The more buy-in there is at the local level the more successful  Facebook is as a communication tool for the residents.”

Mary James added, “We consider it critically important for the staff to participate in the online discussion since each community is a ‘family’ of staff and residents.”  PLS never screens the comments that are made on the site or Facebook, however, they  are monitored closely.  “When a not-so- complimentary comment comes into the conversations, we are quick to find something to offset it,” says James.

Traditional marketing methods are still used by PLS since the target market responds to direct mail and events.  However, whenever we feel we can transfer a message via the internet, we will,” exclaimed James.