The senior living industry — and industry marketers — must be sensitive to the decision process seniors and their loved ones take before moving into a community. This process is highly personal, intimate, and reliant on a prospective resident’s individual health and emotional journey. In order to connect with that process, and each individual’s unique history, you need to empathically show that you understand their struggles, fears, and past experiences.

Make this connection relatable and personal with stories of your own, with current residents, and with staff. Think about the impact personal stories have on your own life, especially in the face of a difficult decision. Do they help you trust a person or company more, having heard how they can relate to your concerns? Sharing stories and making a trustworthy connection is the first step in the community-resident relationship, and a must-do before continuing through the customer journey.

The Art of Storytelling: Best Practices to Stay Authentic  

  • Be sincere and genuine
    This may sound obvious, but think about how easy it is to tell if someone is being sincere or not. This is the not the time for unnecessary fluff or exaggerations. Allow your residents and staff to tell the story of your strengths. It’s best to use conversational, first-person language that describes the emotional and wellbeing impact of your community. When in doubt, keep it simple and let the story speak for itself.
  • Remember the focus is on the resident. Not you (yet).
    Your website is equipped with photos, video tours, lists of services and amenities, and floor plan descriptions. There is plenty of information about your community available. Allow these personal testimonials to stand on their own, with the focus on the resident’s journey to your community. It will be easier for prospective residents and their loved ones to see themselves at your community if they can personally relate to current residents.
  • Give trust-building examples by showcasing real-life examples of your services.
    Here’s where you and your staff can share personal stories of the community, and how these stories were impacted by senior-aged loved ones. Staff and service-specific resident testimonials allow you to describe how you can help put a prospect’s fears and concerns at rest. Let’s say you have a daughter looking for a senior living community for her mother. The mother does not yet need full assisted living care, but it would be beneficial to have her medications monitored and administered, wellness checks, and access to a’la carte services as needed. With these and other common concerns, you can feature testimonials of current residents whose lives were made easier by the help you can give them.
  • Ask yourself: what do you offer that might change a future resident’s life?
    You are in the business of changing people’s lives for the better. In addition to health and nursing services, you also offer a myriad of lifestyle, recreation, and wellbeing amenities that build confidence, invite friendships, and encourage activity. Invite current residents to share how the social and community aspect has improved their lives.

Ways to Incorporate Stories Online

There are a number of tools and sources you can use to incorporate personal stories throughout your online platform. Your website is the main source of online information for potential residents and their loved ones. From the homepage and beyond, use conversational language that describes real-life experiences of residents, staff, and the local community.

Both written and video testimonials will allow you to tell impactful and sincere stories of how others have trusted your community, and what their trust means to you. When planning video testimonials, consider images and interview prompts that will connect with viewers on a heart-to-heart level. This is a great opportunity to show select floor plans, stunning social areas, landscaping, and other communal areas.

Social media sites, such as Facebook and YouTube, are widely used by seniors and their adult children, are a proven third-party source for information. A well-managed social media platform is already key to your overall marketing success; adding personal stories would allow you to further connect with the local region and community members and begin new relationships with prospective residents.

Make Connections and Build Trust (with G5)

Before you dive into incorporating personal stories throughout your online platform, take a look at our Branding Checklist to make sure you’re ready to establish your community by valuing your brand. This checklist takes a comprehensive look at your online visibility, accuracy, and current creative content. Download the checklist here.