Sunrise Senior Living: Social Content Builds Authority & Leads


Increase in website traffic within 6 months.


Increase in new site visits YoY.


Lift in social conversions.

Sunrise Senior Living was founded in 1981 to provide families with ageing relatives assisted living care distinct from the sterile facilities of the time. The brand continues to set itself apart with senior-friendly communities across the nation that look and feel like independent homes.

For Sunrise’s prospective residents, it’s a challenge to decide on a facility without extensive on-location visits, but Online Marketing Manager Abby See and the Sunrise Marketing team recognized significant site traffic from online researchers. The Marketing team used internet marketing to reach an extended network of seniors and caregivers online. To further leverage social media, blog content and online sharing, Sunrise Marketing turned to Brafton.

Finding a Smarter Online Voice

The company needed an efficient partner to help it maximize ROI. Sunrise managed a Facebook Page and a website, and it required fresh content to maintain traction.

Sunrise found manpower, strategic guidance and premium editorial copy at Brafton, launching a partnership in June 2011 that has proven its return on investment.

Social media.

Blog posts.

Custom imagery.

Landing pages.

Optimized & Unified Content to Build Authority

Brafton collaborated on Sunrise Senior Living’s editorial calendar to develop a schedule for creating, sharing and promoting content. Using Brafton’s social marketing service as part of its content marketing plan helped Sunrise hyper-optimize its website content. The strategy uses real-time data on trending topics and long-term social insights to inspire content creation.

Sunrise’s Brafton content marketing strategist helped set an editorial brief centered on core keywords and issues, while also drawing on timely, traffic-driving keywords.

The Brafton editorial calendar also outlined a posting schedule for Facebook and new networks: Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. The social updates include blog headlines and custom, interactive posts, as well as pictures from Sunrise communities provided by Online Marketing Manager See. Every social update strengthens the brand’s voice online.

“Brafton is a collaborative partner, in terms of working with Sunrise associates and working together across its own editorial and social teams to create a comprehensive campaign.” – Online Marketing Manager, Abby See

“Our social media team understands our brand voice and interacts with connections seamlessly on our behalf.” – Online Marketing Associate Vanessa Stephenson

Sunrise and its Brafton team include data analysis in the strategy, and have already used content analytics to create new static pages and blogs. For example, the popular Senior Eats blog category inspired the company to move its seasonal menu online.

“We can be demanding when it comes to planning a strategy, and our Brafton team has been excellent, working around our schedule and implementing strategy shifts immediately.”Vanessa Stephenson

Sunrise saw results soon after initiating a Brafton partnership in 2011 and the results continue to grow. In the first six months alone, the brand saw a jump in organic traffic, including a 34.48 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in SEO traffic from competitive key phrases.

Content marketing brings more visitors from across the web, and also gets them to stick around and navigate toward key conversion pages. During one of the brand’s busiest seasons, the Sunrise website saw a 15.34 percent year-over-year increase in new visits in 2012. More, the company saw average visit duration jump 10.44 percent. Blog readers had a massive 900 percent lower bounce rate and spent double the time on site of other visitors.

The blog is consistently a top-viewed content category across the website and individual posts rank among the top landing pages in any given month.

Social traffic to the blog and cross-web interactions also play a big role in Sunrise Senior Living’s success. generated 100 percent more socially assisted conversions in Q4 2012 compared to the year before. Between Q3 2011 when the brand handed its social marketing to Brafton and Q3 2012, visits via social referrals went up 1,044 percent, with each network generating more traffic. Social interactions clearly help qualify the site’s traffic, too, as each network produces highly interactive site visitors.

“Our blog is such a valuable tool – it brings website leads and we promote it as a resource our sales team uses to follow up with prospects. The articles position us as the go-to authority in the field.” 

“Our Brafton social strategist understands how to speak to our fans and positions our blogs in a style that makes people want to click.” 

“We receive such an influx of communication and leads through our branded content, and our Brafton team uses audience response to create new topics and ideas.” 

Overall, the blog has directly impacted on-site conversions. Content analytics provided by Brafton on popular topics (within the blog and on social media) have contributed to new landing page content that helps the brand further demonstrate its authority.

That dining menu page inspired by Senior Eats posts? It boasts a 268 percent higher-than-average conversion rate.

What’s Next?

Moving forward, Sunrise Senior Living wants to continue to build a sustainable brand voice online and maintain its current trajectory. The company recently won a niche social media marketing award, proving its strategy with Brafton is effective.

“I admire Brafton’s constant zeal to try something new. The company is full of energetic professionals who are more than willing to work with us to achieve our objectives. When we need immediate turnaround time, we see the results quickly, whether we’re working with our SEO content marketing strategist, our social strategist or our editorial team.”

Sunrise continues working with its strategists to come up with new formats that can help them leverage authority among a broader range of audiences.

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