Too Old for Facebook?


By: Nicole Hunter.  Student Number: 212411883

Deakin email address: WordPress username: nicole3806

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Most people do not think about aged care except when absolutely necessary, usually in a highly emotional state, when their loved one is in hospital  and no longer able to cope at home, so residential aged care is the only option.  It is difficult to categorise the purchase of aged care services into the traditional purchase types, is it convenience purchase such as bread and milk – a life necessity, well in some ways it is.  Or is it a specialty purchase such as a lap top or car, given the high monetary cost and emotional involvement in the purchase of these services, again in some ways it does fit into this category, regardless of the category, there is the ability to market these services, but how?

The how of marketing this sector is in building brand trust, examining Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a motivational tool for making choices in aged care, all areas are relevant to aged care providers.  Maslow’s basic level is physiological – food, water, shelter.  Moving higher on the spectrum is the safety aspects, followed by social friendships and community connections, and finally Maslow’s hierarchy of needs focuses on esteem and self-actualisation, incorporating individual empowerment and respect (Kalliath et al, 2013). Aged care providers can market to all areas’ of Maslow’s hierarchy, by building trust with current and potential clients that these needs will be facilitated, meet and expectations exceeded in their aged care residence.

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Some aged care providers are utilising social media as an avenue to boost brand awareness and brand trust, yet, will this work?

The aged care market has two main segments, firstly, aged care clients in the 75+ aged bracket, secondly, their families in the 45+ age bracket. So will the use of Facebook work for this age bracket?

The number of over 55s using Facebook rose by 80% in the year 2014 (,  interestingly, statistics suggest on average 60% would undertake additional reading on information initially found on Facebook and 35% of people who learnt  about a  business or product on Facebook shared this with friends ( .

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As a case study in this area, Sapphire Care is an aged care organisation in Metropolitan Melbourne and launched a Facebook page in March 2015, sharing good news stories of the organisation.

A recent post of photo and story about some local community charity work undertaken by Sapphire Care was shared by over 150 people, considering the average Facebook user has 338 Facebook friends ( this is a considerable audience.  Given the post was about charitable works and donating of funds, this is building brand awareness and trust.


So however, the question remains, is this a marketing area that is worthwhile for this sector?, it is difficult to answer this, as ‘sales’ cannot be correlated to a marketing campaign, however there is evidence to suggest those aged care providers with the use of social media within their business strategy have a competitive advantage over others ( .

Regardless of the evidence or research, it seems only logical to use an avenue for relatively cost-effective promotion and brand awareness, ‘good news’ stories and building brand trust, with an audience that is ever-growing in an industry that is predicted to continue to grow well into the next 20 years ( . By building brand trust, the motivation behind purchases using Maslow’s hierarchy as a framework, should result in positive marketing outcomes for aged care providers.



Heber, A. 2015. ‘These incredible stats show exactly how huge Facebook is in Australia’, retrieved 1 April 2016,

Icare Health Team, 2014. ‘Connect, collaborate, communicate: Social Media and Aged Care.’ Retrieved 1 April 2016,

Kalliath, T., Brough, P., O’Driscoll, M., Manimala, M., Siu, O. and Parker, S. 2013, Organisational Behaviour: A psychological perspective for the Asia-Pacific, 2nd Edn, McGraw-Hill Education, Sydney.


Ross, M. 2014. ‘Facebook turns 10: the World’s Largest Social Network in Numbers’

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