By now, you should be no stranger to the idea that social media is a key part of any successful funeral home marketing strategy. But did you know social media is going to be more important than ever in 2018? With a marked increase in active users, there are more eyes than ever on social channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn – which has made social media the single most useful marketing and communication platform for businesses. This is largely due to the amount of influence that social media has on the buying journey of today’s consumers. According to Forbes, 78% of consumers say that they are influenced by social media. Similarly, 71% of consumers are likely to recommend a brand that they have had a good interaction with on social media. No matter which way you slice the pie, social media has more influence now than it has ever had before.
Strictly based on the information available out there, it is clear that people, more often than not, seek out the services of a business with an informative, engaging and active social media presence. That being said, social media is a blanket term that describes a complex ecosystem of smaller networks, channels and groups of people. In order to understand what is going to make 2018 such a big year for your funeral home’s social media – we have to look at this subject in a little more detail. Here are some of the main things to know and pay attention to.
Any discussion about social media needs to start with Facebook. With over 2 billion active users, the Facebook community is larger than any single country on earth and carries massive influence on consumer decisions globally. For funeral homes, Facebook presents an opportunity to connect with people in the community and establish a trusting relationship – helping them stay top of mind should families ever need their services. Contrary to popular belief, funeral home social media is no different than that of any other business. In fact, funeral homes across North America actually still have a chance to be ahead of the pack on the famous social network. According to Facebook’s own statistics, there are 50 million small businesses with pages but only 4 million of those businesses pay for any form of advertising on the platform. Deviating from the usual message of catch up or be left behind, no funeral home is late to the party. Facebook presents an incredible opportunity for affordable advertising, networking with the community and building crucial brand awareness within their service area. Because funeral homes are so locally focused, Facebook is the best social media channel to use for success in 2018.
Quick Tip For Funeral Directors: Don’t treat your business page differently than your personal page. I mean, you can obviously use discretion about content. However, it is important that a family trusts you as a person before they need your services. Facebook is also a great way for families to learn about you and your staff before ever walking through your door or picking up the phone – do this opportunity justice by giving families every opportunity to engage with the people behind the business page.
Though Facebook offers the most potential opportunity to funeral homes, there are other channels that can significantly boost the marketing efforts of any firm. Instagram is a great way to share visual content and is the best way to reach those under 35, who represent 90% of the platforms users according to ScienceDaily. Likewise, other channels like Twitter and Pinterest are great ways to curate content that will be relevant to the community – offering alternative ways to communicate through comments, retweets, shares and pins. No matter what the channel, every funeral home needs a unique approach that is suitable to their specific needs.
Quick Tip For Funeral Directors: Sit down with your team and research which channels are the most popular and active in your service area. An integral part of having a great funeral home social media strategy is great content, but if it is broadcast on the wrong channels it will not have the same positive impact. Make sure that you are using the same social media networks that are popular in your community, so that your content is seen by those it was intended for.
One key to success for funeral home social media in 2018 will be finding the right mix of content for your channels. For example, sharing ‘personal’ stuff to social media will make funeral homes seem more down to earth – throwbacks, family photos, staff gatherings, community involvement and posts from behind-the-scenes all help make funeral homes more relatable. In addition, it is important to advertise your services and promote what you have to offer families, professionally. There really is no way to go wrong with a great balance of both personal and promoted content – it is all about carefully considering the balance of what is posted. Another important ingredient to a good content mix is posting all obituaries to Facebook (unless specified by the family). But be cautious, some funeral homes only post obits to social media because it’s easy content and end up not posting anything else. Think about it, variety is the spice of life – consumers interact more frequently and more intently with brands that post a good mixture of promotional, personal and in the case of funeral homes, obituary and service related content. As staples in the community, funeral homes have plenty to offer on social media – it is just important to build a strategy that incorporates all of it.
Quick Tip For Funeral Directors: We’ve seen clients that have stunning facilities, with great staff who are located in a competitive area that just post obits. Meanwhile, they are missing a perfect opportunity to generate brand awareness through social media. Take advantage of every single opportunity you have to connect with the community – post with every opportunity that you have and do not be afraid to push the envelope. Make sure the community knows why you are different through your content. If you do this, 2018 will be your time to shine.
Having success with funeral home social media is too new of a concept to have a perfect formula. Though most funeral businesses are similar to some extent, the communities they serve are unique and diverse. As such, there is no way to create a cookie-cutter solution that will guarantee success. The best social media is organic, personal and community-based. So, in order to start making headway on these networks, funeral homes need to throw away any preconceived notions about what makes businesses successful on social media. Instead, funeral homes need to make an effort to establish deeper connections with the community through social media and take it back to the basics. For smaller businesses, building brand awareness can be a big contributor to success – and this rings especially true for death care providers, whose services may not be needed immediately.
At FrontRunner, we have managed the social media strategies of over 100 firms across North America and know a thing or two about growing businesses through these channels. If you want to get your funeral home social media strategy on track for 2018, we hope that you contact us. There has never been a better time to start.
Brandon is the Marketing Communications Manager at FrontRunner Professional. He holds a Social Sciences degree from McMaster University and a Graduate Certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications from St. Lawrence College. His creative writing and innovative ideas bring new life to the company, FrontRunner’s clients and funeral directors world-wide.