Social Media Strategy

Do you have a Social Media Strategy?  If not, you could be missing out on big branding and financial results.  Today is your lucky day!  See below as Ivy Marketing Group shares ours.


  • 89% of 18 to 29-year-olds
  • 78% of 30 to 49-year-olds
  • 60% of 50 to 64-year-olds

active on the social web in 2013 seniors have adopted social media at the highest rate over the past two years



Twitter: update fan base with limited status; use # for search function; real time what is occurring

YouTube: watch and connect through videos

Facebook: most popular; can target audience; fans can post/ask questions and see interests of their friends

Linkedin: networking site; join similar groups to follow/add to conversations

Pinterest: virtual bulletin board/content sharing service

Instagram: popular photo sharing site; can use # to search terms



  • Get the word out by encouraging employees to follow the pages (but guidelines in place to not post inappropriately on the sites)
  • Incorporate links in all marketing materials
  • All associates should have links for Facebook and twitter (in addition to website) on their email signatures



Facebook – Best: 1pm-4pm; Worst: 8pm-8am

Twitter – Best: 1pm-3pm; Worst: 8pm-9am

Linkedin – Best: 7am-9am; Worst: 10pm-6am

Pinterest – Best: 2pm-4pm; Worst: 5pm-7pm



Key Goals:

  • Drive traffic to website
  • Effective and low-cost opportunity to show uniqueness and worth by sharing what’s happening within the establishment
  • Connect with media
  • Utilize networks of the families of current residents, employees and prospective sales
  • Get feedback/inspiration from others
  • To build a community
  • Build company reputation


Why People Follow Companies on Social Sites

  • Receive discounts/promos
  • Show support for the company
  • Stay informed of activities in community
  • Learn more about the company
  • Get updates on future projects
  • Someone recommended
  • Gain exclusive content
  • Customer services



Best Practices Include:

  • Be consistent and relevant with content
  • Post events showing what life is like in the community
  • Showcase personal story of resident to garner thought
  • Monitor what others say about you and your competition
  • Encourage engagements: ask questions
  • Track effectiveness: run Social Media only contest
  • Tag like minded establishments or media
  • Optional set aside budget to advertise and gain more fans
  • Test/Adapt: look at metrics see when engagement occurs


Giving Thanks – Low Cost Employee Recognition

Giving Thanks – Low Cost Employee Recognition


Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on more than just the turkey, stuffing and football.  This holiday is a nice time for you, as a business leader, to recognize the hard work your associates do to drive your bottom line.  “Bersin & Associates completed a comprehensive research project on employee recognition (saying thank you) and the results are really astounding: organizations that give regular thanks to their employees far out perform those that don’t.” 1

Realizing some companies don’t have large Human Resource budgets, here are our low cost suggestions for giving thanks to your employees this year.

1.)   Don’t forget the simple manners you learned as a kid.  Please and thank you go a long way with associates.  No budget is too small for manners and showcasing a polite workplace is appreciated by all.

2.)   With Thanksgiving being all about the food, bring that to the office.  Host a simple potluck and get the group together for office bonding.

3.)   Host a food drive.  Pick a favorite charity among associates and for the holiday week collect food and drop off at the organization they chose.  The morale from showing care will return their enhanced care for your company.

4.)   Offer a flexible work schedule during holiday weeks.  If coverage is key, work this in with a calendar where co-workers can balance their time off with each other.  It may even produce more productivity for the shortened hours they’re there and increase positive workplace thoughts during the holiday season.

5.)   Bring in breakfast.  Who doesn’t appreciate a donut or bagel brought in?

6.)   Send a note.  If your company is small enough, a short but hand-written acknowledgment note goes a long way.  If your company is too large for the CEO to handle such a task, send a personalized e-card.

7.)   Present recognition for a task well done publicly.  During your staff and/or board meeting, showcase the results giving credit to the attributed employee.

As suggested, Thanksgiving is a great time to say thanks, but year-round use every opportunity to show your employees gratitude.  The connection between effective employee recognition and employee engagement has been proven since the beginning of time.  Engaged employees are critical to your company’s success.  Read more about Bersin’s study results.

1        Forbes 6/13/2012


Measuring Public Relations

There used to be a stigma attached to PR that professionals in this arena simply “create buzz” and while that is true it’s not the sole existence of successful firms.  In the past Public Relations used to be about big events, celebrity endorsements and reporter relationships.  Now, it’s shifting to basing those strategic decisions on data.  It was often compared with Advertising, but with its quick evolution, Ivy Marketing Group suggests that Public Relations has a major influence on many things from awareness, reputation and brand behavior, employee satisfaction, and (perhaps most importantly) driving the bottom line and building loyalty.

But how do we prove such a statement?

Measuring PR is more common in today’s business with various tracking tools for the following:

  • Press Placement – Often thought of as the true ROI of Public Relations, every press placement has the ability to educate consumers and gain new sales.  The impressions often result in web site visits and social media shares.
  • Online Chatter – Does the company have great reviews on Yelp?  Join the conversation and thank those reviewers.  Are people commenting and sharing facebook posts?  Be sure to actively engage and enlighten.
  • Advertising Value Equivalency – These metrics help measure success and the value of a placement. It’s great for comparison purposes to show a public relations professional has covered the cost of the service and provided positive results
  • Sales Leads – Did you host a great event that brought in new leads?  Are the phones busy ringing the morning an article in the paper drops?  On a site tour, does the potential client mention they first heard about you from a great word of mouth friend reference?
  • Influencer Campaigns – Connect with industry influencers and reach out to them, in hopes of turning into brand loyalists. With these campaigns, monitor also how the influencers interact with competitors.


It’s important to utilize these to their fullest and provide results that speak to the brand’s strategic communications plans.  It’s our daily mission to make Public Relations a strong force of all organizations.


Instagram It

Wondering why and how brands use Instagram? As of this month, 123 Fortune 500s use Instagram. The top reasons include cultivating unique images that showcase the brand’s key message (even after hours when a store is closed for example), find customers, quickly connect with fans, and encourage fan sharing across all social networks. Most importantly, the photo sharing app has become so popular and where users go, we must follow to participate and engage brand interaction.

Everything from a special event, delicious dinner served or family photo, it’s easy for both communities and consumers to connect through images. Instagram helps brands not only share their mission but also explore through the eyes of their customer.

The simple way of using hashtags shows makes it easy for brands to collect photos by doing a quick search. A few that have taken advantage of this include Charity Water uses #charitywater to collect photos of the important role water plays in people’s lives. General Electric asked Instagrammers to take photos inspired by three areas of GE innovation and tag them #GEinspiredme. The contest winner was flown to London to take photos of the GE aviation facility. Watch the contest video. Starbucks uses Instagram to showcase event photos from its thousands of locations and corporate office and recently started with the new video feature.

Here are more examples of Brands On Instagram. Do you have some examples of good campaigns? Please share below.

How To Choose Among Senior Living Options

How To Choose Among Senior Living Options

Choosing among senior living communities or staying at home is an important step in your/a loved one’s life. With so many senior living options out there, it’s easy to feel inundated by all the different options.  This post is intended to help you make informed decisions, considering the various care options available so you can make the right choice for your family.

Questions Seniors Should Ask

  • What if I get sick?
  • What will happen to my spouse?
  • What quality of services do I hope to receive?
  • Are others worried about my safety?
  • What if I can no longer drive?
  • Can I still maintain my home?
  • Will I be cared for/live with my children?
  • Will I be a burden to my family/friends?
  • Do I have enough money to last me the rest of my life?



  • Make no changes: Stay in place or even move to a smaller home
  • Hire Community Services: Adult day care, meal programs, friendly visitor programs, etc.
  • Home Care or Live-In Companion: Help with personal care activities by nurse at home
  • Assisted Living: Daily activities like bathing, dressing and using the restroom
  • Join a rental retirement community: Operates on rental fee basis
  • Respite Care: Short, inpatient stay in a nursing home
  • Join a continuing care retirement community (CCRC): Senior community with different levels of care available


Comparative Questions To Ask After Visiting Facilities

  • Did I/we feel welcome and comfortable?
  • Can I make my own schedule?
  • What are dining options like?
  • Was the community clean, secure and well-maintained?
  • Was the staff welcoming? Will I have same staff or does it change day to day?
  • Will I have privacy when I have visitors or personal care services?
  • What’s included in the monthly fee?
  • Can I see myself enjoying the lifestyle here?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Will I have transportation available?
  • Did the residents seem to interact with each other and enjoy it here?
  • Do I like the activities/programs offered?
  • Will there be freedom to make choices like when I get up, bathe, eat?
  • Is it the right distance from my family/friends?
  • Is it possible to spend a trial stay here?


For more extensive information, visit Medicare’s website.

It’s addicting!  The fast-paced, ever changing world of public relations and marketing captures your interest and keeps you charged up to learn more everyday.  I love to find the best ways to tell our client’s stories and man, they have awesome stories!

It’s my job to discover our client’s goals and then match the best processes to achieve them, within their budgets, of course.  I get to explore traditional, digital and every manner of communication to determine which tactics, whether it is direct mail or TV advertising, a new website or PPC (to name just a few) will efficiently and effectively capture the attention of prospects. 

I also get to work with great people at IVY – they’re creative, fun, caring and super smart.  We’ve all been around the industry a while so there is not a novice among us.  Our clients are very cool too and totally passionate about the services they offer.  We’ve been working with most of them for years so we know they truly care about being innovative and responsible to the markets they service.  I have great admiration for all of them and look forward to every day. 

It’s true what “they” say, if you love what you do, you won’t work a day of your life!


IVY was established in 1990 with a basic premise to offer professional, ethical and highly creative marketing, advertising and public relations services. We have successfully maintained our core values and have been part of many amazing projects, client growth and changes in the world of marketing that continue to happen at lightening speed. Most of our clients serve older adults in some capacity so we keep abreast of the opportunities and challenges they face.   Each day, we keep it real and fun and consistently deliver positive results to our clients and their markets.


As a hybrid graphic and digital designer/web developer with over 17 years of experience, I am always on the lookout for innovative digital and print visual communications. IVY Marketing Group’s broad range of projects keeps my job challenging and rewarding, as each campaign is a new and exciting opportunity to effectively communicate our clients’ messages and help them achieve their goals. It’s my passion!

My body of work encompasses a diverse design style and wide base of clients, ranging from national associations, small businesses and big name brands like Hyatt and LiftMaster. I firmly believe that form follows function and highly value the communicative power of simplicity. 

Areas of professional expertise include Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Word Press, Responsive Design, CSS3, and HTML5. The industries I’ve served include senior living, health care, hospitality and finance.


All my life, I have loved writing. As a child, I could often be found in my room “writing a book.” While “novelist” is not (yet) on my resume, I am a storyteller. I believe that everyone and everything has a great story, and it is my joy to find that story and share it with the world.

After earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism and completing my master’s studies in the same field, I joined a small advertising agency with powerhouse clients in the hospitality industry, such as Hyatt, Hilton International and Carnival Cruise Lines. I began as a proofreader and achieved the position of senior copy writer within a year.

After my first son was born, followed by two more, I started a freelance writing business that included (among several others) such clients as Advocate Health Care and Coldwell-Banker Realty. Clients in the education arena included DeVry University’s Becker CPA and Stalla CFA Reviews, DePaul University, and Naperville School District 203, for which I won two state public relations awards.

For nine years, I was employed as Communications Director for a large faith community, where I managed all aspects of internal and external communications. I was writer, editor, designer, web master, and content manager.

As such, I am experienced and comfortable writing multimedia for a broad variety of industries, products and services.

I joined IVY Marketing Group in 2013, when I began writing client press releases on a freelance basis. I loved the work—and my teammates—so much, I was thrilled when I was invited to come on board in a greater capacity.

I have immensely enjoyed getting to know our valued clients in the senior housing industry, the people they serve, and telling the many wonderful stories that come out of content marketing done right—with the love and care our IVY teams puts into everything we do.


It all starts with one idea. Working with the Ivy creative team for over two decades has always meant taking one great idea and bringing it to life to help our clients meet their goals. We enjoy the challenges offered with every creative opportunity and try to make the design process itself enjoyable for our clients.


Making certain that the projects IVY produces are word- and picture-perfect is my specialty. But I also love implementing marketing campaigns and programs that bring our clients success. Details are my thing, so it is a pleasure to have worked with IVY twice now, first after college four years ago and, recently, for the past two years.

The IVY Group is a terrific team of creative, positive and talented professionals that I love working with and, judging from the length of stay of our clients, I think they love our team, too!


Rock-climbing, training for an 80-floor stair climb event, running a 5K…This is just a tiny peek into what people 20 and even 30 years older than I am, are doing on a fairly regular basis at some of the retirement communities that IVY represents.

I’m of the generation that still has reoccurring nightmares about what the next step looked like when my grandmother could no longer live by herself. The very best option at that time was living at a “facility” and  included eating rubbery chicken and playing an occasional game of BINGO. Period. That’s why my parent’s generation begged us not to ever put them into “one of those places.”

I am so proud that IVY’s clients are at the very forefront of an industry that creates opportunities, challenges, and most of all freedom for seniors, allowing them to explore hobbies, interests, passions…the next chapter of their very full lives.

I feel reassured for my own future. Even more, I feel honored to be able to share the impactful stories about this paradigm shift in the world of senior housing. What we hear and see at our clients’ communities is fascinating and inspiring!


Keeping up to date on new public relations strategies, online engagement tactics, and promotional tools is my passion.

With my hospitality background in marketing top Chicago restaurants and hotels, I was eager to bring fresh concepts and communication strategies to our clients and have really enjoyed learning various industries.

Our clients have such exciting and unique events and programs, which really makes it motivating for me to make the most of their content.  Results like increased sales leads, website visits and social media connections make everyday rewarding and interesting.


I oversee, plan and implement projects and processes at IVY.  Often,  I am the conduit between our writers and designers, with printers, and other vendors to fulfill the marketing needs for our clients. I also manage media buys and coordinate production of advertisements.

Working for a flexible and fluid company that is constantly growing, changing and evolving is fun and rewarding. There is always something new to learn.


My bio has a big blank in the beginning—Mom and Dad rescued me in Wisconsin, and no one really knows my origins. They were probably ruff. What matters though is where I am now, running IVY Marketing Group. There are humans here who think they’re in charge. In truth, they do actually have amazing experience in content marketing and public relations, but I’m super important and the center of attention. I mean, look at this face. Right? And I know I’m the top dog because honestly, I’m the only one allowed to sleep through staff meetings and eat things that people drop on the floor.

The fact is though that I truly love staying awake at staff meetings. Everyone talks and laughs and they’re always excited. That surprises me a little because it’s not like anyone has thrown a ball to play fetch or anything. But I guess what gets my pack of peoples’ tails wagging is their work and their clients. I don’t know what a website or a blog is, but I do know that my pack must be good at them because they’ve earned all sorts of awards for these and other things. My bed had to be moved because the framed certificates were taking up so much room. Despite the inconvenience, I’m proud of these awards!

I serve several important purposes at IVY. I always let Mom (and the world) know when the mailman is here. When people come into the office, just one (usually) quick non-invasive (usually) sniff, allows me to determine important characteristics…like if they had anything good for breakfast, own any pets (pet owners are the best!) or if they stepped in anything on the way in. (It’s sort of like me conducting a first job interview.) I generously share my tummy because I know people like to give it a good scratch. I always give kisses, whether one is feeling lonely or not. And I’m always happy to share someone’s meal, especially if they’re trying to lose weight. My pack describes me as being engaging, amusing, and entertaining. (When I hear a siren, I “sing” along and it makes them laugh.) NPR talks about the benefits of having a pet at the workplace. Studies show pets lower stress hormones and improve morale and productivity. I wholeheartedly agree that a dog in the workplace is the best thing since rawhide bones.

As for my pack of people at IVY…they are amazing and always make my tail wag!


I could not be more thrilled to work alongside the IVY team.

For over 25 years, I have been employed in top executive positions across the Chicago area and have consistently built profitable businesses, generated sales, and developed and launched new product lines.

Strategically positioning companies and commodities for growth is a strong suit I’m eager to bring to ResponderHub™, IVY’s new crisis communications solution. I’m also excited to help expand IVY’s reach in the senior marketing industry.

I believe people are more open than ever to thinking outside the box and looking at new ways to reach their customer base, while at the same time reducing their cost of sale. The senior industry is exploding, and IVY is perfectly positioned to respond to the need for innovative, quality content marketing services and effective crisis communications.


I love being able to use my skills to help improve other people’s lives, and with a growing elderly population, it’s important to create meaningful and user-friendly digital solutions to aid the senior living industry.I have a wide range of technology and design skills with a deep interest in Human-Computer Interaction– helping IVY provide outstanding web design and print design services. IVY has a long-proven track record of excellence, and I’m proud to be able to help carry on that tradition.