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.
How To Create Your Online Newsroom
Sample online newsroom courtesy of Press-Feed.
Nearly 80% of people access an organization’s website before engaging further with a company. The numbers are even higher for media journalists and producers.
In a Norman/Nielson Study, over 99% of journalists and producers search your website first, before calling you, asking for quotes to include in their aritcles or publishing your press releases. Not only are journalists seriously time crunched, they have been very direct and specific about the way they want to be able to gain initial access and information about your organizaiton — through your website, according to Sally Falkow, president of Press-Feed.
From your home or landing page,media and other people wanting to know about your organization, its leadership, mission, position, etc. should be able to access your online newsroom. Press-Feed has designed a news room that looks and feels like your website but allows the media,customers and prospects to access the background, facts, news and philosophical informaiton about our organization from a single page.
Your news room should have these individual sections accessible from the news page in an easily readable format:
Media Contact Information with the name, all phone numbers and email addresss with the best times to readh the contact, if needed.
Current Articles prominently displayed with complete facts in bullet points:
- Quotes from outside the organization pertaining to the article subject (including contact information so comments can be verified)
- Photos pertaining to the aritcle subject
- Video (if possible and appropriate) pertai8ning to the aritcle subject
A full background of your organization in bullet points:
- Date established
- Address of the main headquarters and business extensions
- Comapny affiliations
- Governing structure
- Organizational management (at least names, photos and contact information for the Executive Committee)
- Board of Directors (names, company names, email addresses)
Photos that define your services and graphics that can be downloaded, such as your logo
Who You Serve
- By industry
- By geography
- By demographics
- Any other relevant identifier
A list of your articles and White Papers
- Possible video of the CEO talking about the industry and hos his-her organization is making a difference
We’ve all seen seen YouTube videos. After all, YouTube has 95% share of the market and 150,000 new videos are uploaded each day. Just about any topic can be covered in a video: sales presentations, how-to’s, funny, serious, with and without music, high end graphics and photography. And, they run the gamut of reasons they are produced and uploaded. Think about how you, your sales team, your fund development department could benefit: Beyond Words: Art Therapy with Older Adults.
Here’s an example. Successful fundraising needs a story, a tug at the heartstrings, a real life face that helps define how donations and volunteer services are going to improve the lives of others. Imagine if you are raising funds for an Art Therapy program. What would this video do for your campaign? Friendship Village Final Four
Here’s how to make your killer YouTube Video:
- Establish the goal of what you want the video to do for you or your organization. Are you looking for awareness, do you want to educate, entertain or inform people?
- What is the personality type of your audience. Will they prefer a “talking head,” a flashy video, humor, sad story?
- Outline what you want to convey in the video. What is the story behind video, the reason people would want to watch it, what action do you want them to take?
- Write a script, if appropriate. If not, plan your shots (here’s a favorite from Friendship Village of Schaumburg: <iframe title=”YouTube video player” width=”480″ height=”390″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/lokLi1I1fDY” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
- Incorporate something unique into your video (could be content, sound, action, etc.)
- Use a good video camera. Some cameras are great for talking heads. For action video, distance or just moving around with sound, you will need to rent or purchase a higher end camera.
- Speak clearly and look into the camera (if this is a talking head video) – you are talking to someone who is watching the video.
- During filming and if you have an opportunity to reshoot a bad take, do so.
- In preparing your end video, think about the other sensory accessories that are going to make your video more compelling – graphics, photography, sound tracks, etc.
- Edit your footage in a movie making program. The iMac has iMovie built in or you can use a Video Suite program. Corel has a nice one. There are some simple brands on the market or you can go more professional and get Pinnacle’s Studio Ultimate. Edit out all the mistakes and please, do not exceed 5 minutes. Two or three minutes is best.
- Upload to YouTube according to their instructions.
- Tell your friends, clients, prospects, the media that the video is posted and invite them to view it.