As Bob Hoskins once said, “it’s good to talk”.
It’s also good to email, post on Facebook and keep communicating with your clients in any way you can during these unprecedented times. We all need reassurance and with greater pressure than ever before on the adult social care system, the individuals you care for and their loved ones may be feeling anxious and uncertain about whether you can continue to provide high-quality care.
It would be great if you could speak to every single service user or resident, call every single concerned loved one and provide comfort and assurance every week through this crisis. But there simply aren’t enough hours in the day when you’re already putting in a heroic effort to keep your service going. That’s where social media can step in to help provide that all-important reassurance.
The way you communicate to your clients and their loved ones now will have a big impact on their mental wellbeing. But it will also be remembered once the pandemic has passed and will have a lasting impact on your reputation. So how can you make sure you communicate in a way that provides comfort, hope and some degree of certainty in these uncertain times? What is the language of reassurance?
That’s what we’ll look into now. We’ll guide you through how to strike the right tone and provide you with a hearty serving of social media posts from care providers that are hitting the right note.
The formula for reassurance
Writing social media posts that will reassure the loved ones of service users or residents requires 2 key ingredients: positivity and honesty.
There is no denying the crisis social care is facing right now or the fact that your care home or care agency is under greater pressure. So be upfront and honest about your situation.
You may not be able to guarantee that it will be business as usual but you can emphasise the great efforts you and your staff are putting in to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your service users.
You can talk about what you’re doing to maintain care standards and keep your staff and clients as protected as possible. You can talk about your recruitment efforts. You can talk about how your care managers are rolling up their sleeves to care for clients or how volunteers are supporting your services.
You may not be able to do anything about social distancing but you can talk about how your carers are helping connect those receiving care to their loved ones by assisting them with video chats.
You may not be able to fill the gap left by the absence of family visits but you can show how your carers are keeping spirits up, whether it’s as simple as bringing over a service user’s favourite sweet treat or getting residents involved in a sing-a-long.
By communicating exactly how you’re pulling out all the stops, the loved ones of those who you care for can find at least some peace of mind — and that is something that will not soon be forgotten.
Finding the right words
Now you have an idea of what kinds of things you can try posting on social media, how can you put it all into words?
Before you start posting, consider the tone you’re trying to convey. You’re speaking directly to the loved ones of your clients. This isn’t a sales pitch or a speech. It’s a conversation with people you already have a relationship with who are going through a difficult time, it’s personal.
You can use a more informal turn of phrase. You can even use emojis where appropriate. You can use photos that are quick snaps on your phone rather than polished, professional pics. You can use videos that are rough and ready instead of choreographed and scripted.
So what about words?
Use we, us and our rather than speaking in the third person or stating your company name instead of a subject pronoun (that’s grammar-speak for words such as I and we). Post videos or quotes from your team and your clients. We’re all feeling the need to connect right now and seeing the faces and/or reading the words of those on the frontline of this fight, both carers and those being cared for, helps bring us closer together.
Gratitude, praise and positive affirmations are all great ideas. Literally say thank you. Thank your carers, thank your service users or residents, thank loved ones of clients and volunteers who are all doing their part to help. Post testimonials and thank people for those too.
Be clear and specific
If you’re talking about recruitment, tell everyone how many recruits you’re planning on securing. If you’re providing advice, state how many steps/tips/approaches you’re offering. If you’re talking about one of your carers or clients, mention where they are (the town or branch, not their address, of course!). Facts and figures add weight to what your saying, lists and numbering make it more digestible and details make it more personal.
Here’s how it’s done
We went hunting online for some great examples of social media posts from care providers in the UK and across the pond in the USA. Here are our top 12 picks, featuring UK homecare providers Cera and Bluebird Care, UK care operators HC-One and MHA, and American homecare provider LHC Group. Hopefully these examples will provide you with some inspiration to get posting.
1) Bluebird Care shows how 2 of their carers are staying positive with a video of them showing off some moves to the Shakira song, Waka Waka. The lyrics take on new meaning.
We ? this!
“You’re a good soldier,
Choosing your battles,
Pick yourself up and dust yourself off and back in the saddle!
You’re on the front line,
You know it’s serious we’re getting closer, this isn’t over!”
2) HC-One dedicates this post to appreciating 2 of their care managers who are going above and beyond. This post shows their clients how dedicated their team is to keeping those in their care safe and well-looked after.
A big thank you to our home managers who have once again donned their uniforms and have been helping out our carers and nurses. Here are Cat Brierley and Caroline Daley of Dove Court ready to go! ???
3) Cera goes ‘behind-the-scenes’ to highlight the efforts of its office team and adds a personal touch with a quick video message from a team member.
All our branch teams are working so hard to ensure service users get the best care possible during these challenging times. Here’s Beth working on the rosters last week! Keep it up guys! #socialcare #keyworkers #community #cera
4) HC-One highlights a practical step they’ve taken to keep families connected in an empathetic and positive post.
Here at HC-One we know how difficult it is not being able to visit your loved ones at this present time. We have created a digital newsletter ‘Together as One’ to keep relatives updated about our approach to caring through COVID-19, ways to keep in touch and wonderful stories from across our homes. Click on the link below to sign up!
5) American homecare provider LHC Group has a weekly spot to put some good news out there, highlighting all the creative, charitable and innovative things happening across their organisation.
Here’s our weekly round-up of the sweetest stories throughout our organization. Today, we’ve got: window art, drive by treats, donations and more! #FeelGoodFriday
6) HC-One shows how residents at one of its care homes pulled together to send us all an important message, showcasing the community spirit they’ve created.
Our Residents at Rievaulx House have a very special message to share…
7) LHC Group pushes the message we’ve all heard about the importance of handwashing but adds a touch of humour. They include a short branded video on how to properly wash your hands but this post could work just as well with a video of a carer washing their hands while talking through the steps. Also, by showing their dedication to spreading this important message, this post reinforces the idea that they value and practice good hand hygiene.
We’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again: hand washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19.
Have you gotten tired of singing Happy Birthday yet? What song have you replaced it with to help you reach the recommended 20 seconds of scrubbing? #COVID19
8) In this heartwarming moment, HC-One shows how their staff are supporting the loved ones of those in their care in creating treasured memories during these difficult times. Sharing just how much this moment touched them adds to its impact.
We have to admit a few tears were shed when this “Love Actually” style video dropped into our mailbox! One family came up with a very creative way to keep in contact with a Resident of Meadowbank House.
9) Cera provides a series of tips on how to look after elderly loved ones for those who may now find themselves in this situation. These posts point to Cera as an authority on providing care and as an organisation that cares for the community — both reassuring things to see for the loved ones of those who Cera are currently caring for.
We know there may be some people looking after their elderly loved ones over the next few weeks. We have made some useful tips on key scenarios when helping care for an older person, and will be posting them over the next few days over our social media: #socialcare #caretips
10) HC-One shows how it values its residents with weekly words of wisdom from some residents. Look at the comments and you can see just how much this meant to this resident’s family.
This weeks #wednesdaywisdom comes from Jim at Kirkwood Court!
Jim says: “A touch of whiskey makes everything better!”
Heather Ledgerwood There are no words to describe how much I love this. Thank you all for the love and care you are providing to my wonderful dad. I will be forever grateful to you ?? xx
Rebecca Lamb Love you pop take care of yourself and thank u to everyone looking after him, love kymberleyxxxx
11) Cera shows how their carers are spreading a bit of joy by celebrating a service user’s birthday. With family unable to visit, their carers step in to make sure this service user still feels special.
A service user from our Stoke branch, Marie, is 99 today! Marie’s carers have been working hard to cheer her up as she’s missing her family. ?? We were sent this lovely photo of Marie after she was serenaded by 2 of her lovely carers Tracey and Amanda singing Happy Birthday!
12) MHA shows how they’re lifting spirits at one of their care homes with an extra-special treat.
The staff at MHA Norwood treated our lovely residents to a fun and relaxed pamper session today! ????????? We think they look fantastic! ??
Time to give it a go
Feeling inspired to show how you’re helping your service users or residents get through these hard times? With just a few words or sentences and a quick photo or video, you can capture some of the fantastic work your team is doing day in, day out. And that’s really all it takes to reach out to your clients and their loved ones with some positivity and reassurance.
If you need some help getting started, please do get in touch with us here at Cahoot Marketing, the UK’s only marketing agency dedicated to care. Drop Heather Murray, our Head of Care, an email at [email protected].