Challenge: The Independence, an independent senior living community located in Charlottesville, faced an increasingly competitive environment and shrinking market share. Additionally, vacancy rates were higher than targets set by new management. Recognizing the need to enhance their brand reputation in the area, The Independence engaged Commonwealth Partnerships to develop and implement an integrated reputation management campaign, including online reviews, social media, video testimonials, and PR components. The campaign’s primary goals were to drive more potential residents to the community, differentiate itself among other senior living communities in the region, and highlight the community’s strongest attributes.
Solution: Commonwealth Partnerships began by assessing the current state of the community’s reputation and opportunities for growth. One focus area was leveraging positive online reviews from residents and their loved ones. The Independence had a number of supporters, notably many residents, who spoke highly of their experience. We developed a program to get those first-person reviews posted on review sites. Social media was another key aspect of the campaign. It allowed the community to engage with target audiences directly and reinforce their strengthening reputation. Brief video testimonials from residents and loved ones that were used on the website and social media provided further credentialing for The Independence. Finally, a strategic PR campaign was leveraged to increase awareness for the community and highlight its unique amenities.
Results: The campaign has been a huge success as The Independence re-established itself as the premier independent living community for those 55 and older. Within the first three months, the community had over a dozen positive reviews from residents on the top senior living review sites. The review program’s success even garnered the attention of Senior Housing Forum, which lauded the review efforts. Review and social media sites are consistently listed in the top five referral sites for the community’s website. The Independence has seen significant strides on social media too. In less than a year, Facebook likes increased from 34 to 1,326 and average weekly engaged users on the Facebook page jumped 1,006%. The PR campaign helped drive awareness as well with the community receiving coverage from the local paper and a statewide magazine. Most importantly, new resident leads were up and vacancy rates dropped below 5%.