Commentary

Why Caregivers Flock To Facebook

We recently started a new experience website for caregivers, and got exactly what we’d hoped for in terms of response. It was the where of that response that came as a bit of a surprise.

A few months ago, my colleagues and I created a social platform for caregivers around the world called CaregiversSpeakUp.com. This platform had a simple purpose: to give caregivers a place to share their caregiving experiences via videos and to be able to listen to others with similar experiences. The idea was to give them a place where they could feel like they were part of a community, and feel supported and understood. We also hoped that giving voice to their experiences would be cathartic and therapeutic as well.

A little over a month before the launch of the website, we created a “Caregivers Speak Up” Facebook page. Almost immediately after going live, the Facebook page began to generate a lot of conversation. 

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Our Facebook page has been more active than website for what I believe are several reasons:

  • It’s popular. Facebook has a billion members worldwide, and you’re probably one of them. The fact that so many others are already there causes more people to go there. It’s a democratization of media. So after a caregiver enviously clicks through a friend’s vacation photos, they can make a quick visit to our page. It’s one-stop shopping. When you consider the fact that one in four people is or will be a caregiver, the built-in audience of caregivers is staggering.
  • It’s intimate. Ironically, the ubiquity and openness of Facebook gives a group like ours a much-needed sense of intimacy. People seem to be more comfortable pouring their hearts out on a Facebook page, where their words and their personal data are freely shared, than they would be on a site they’ve never heard of before. They feel they are among friends, in the emotional and the social sense. 
  • It’s easy. Of course, the ease and familiarity of the Facebook interface helps as well—it’s easy to type your caregiver story or reply to someone else’s. Any reduction you can bring to the learning curve is going to be a plus.

At first I was surprised that a Facebook page for a web community would be more popular than the actual website for that community. But the more I think about it, it was inevitable.

Making Facebook work even harder for you

In our business, we continually lament that a Facebook page is not a social media strategy—it’s a Facebook page. Upon experiencing the success of our Facebook page, I would argue otherwise. If you can tap into an unmet need and drive conversation, it will likely become social. And Facebook can and will become the facilitator of that because it already has the audience ripe and ready for action. 

That said, how can a site other than Facebook play a meaningful role in this dialogue? Maybe it becomes the place to watch stories be told even if you aren’t so quick to share them. There needs to be a compelling reason to leave Facebook and want to listen to others and be part of a community. What we’ve found is that caregivers are very interested in watching the in-depth, “up-close-and-personal” documentaries we feature on our website, but they aren’t inclined to film their own story. It may be that they aren’t a smartphone-savvy group, and simply don’t know how to, but since caregivers cut across all demographics, I would tend to think that this audience is more inclined to want to write about their experiences. There is something cathartic about writing that isn’t quite the same with video.

How do you get someone to leave Facebook?

If you’re trying to get your target audience to leave Facebook and come to your site, you need to provide them with a forum in their medium of choice. Advertising intended to drive your audience to a new social platform needs to have a strong call to action and give the audience a reason for going there. An attractive offer might also make sense, but any offer should be closely tied to the theme of your site, so as not to appear overly promotional.

Caregivers may be the latest demographic to be dominated by Facebook, but I’m convinced there is room for a stand-alone site like our website as well. The important thing is that they both continue to fill an unmet need in today’s social landscape.

2 comments about "Why Caregivers Flock To Facebook".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, September 4, 2015 at 12:03 p.m.

    Get the need for a place to help each other. Fbeast, stalker in chief, is not the place.

  2. Elizabeth Elfenbein from The Bloc, September 4, 2015 at 4:39 p.m.

    Hi Paula Lynn. You are very negative on FB,                                                                               but it's where caregivers want to comment and are commenting. you need to respect that. and be where they want to be and be relevant. it's working.
    I'd love some positive feedback.

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