7 Social Media Questions Answered with Ryan Thogmartin

November 5, 2012
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This interview was done by Krystal Penrose of FuneralOne at the 2012 NFDA Convention. The interview was originally posted on the FuneralOne Blog.

What Ryan Thogmartin Can Teach You About Funeral Social Media

Ryan Thogmartin, founder of DISRUPT Media Group and Connecting Directors, isn’t just your average “funeral guy”.

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He doesn’t believe in suits, loves social media and technology, and he’s (well) on his way to changing the very face of this profession.

In fact, he rounded up a group of like-minded people to help him… and turned it into the largest online community in the funeral profession today.

Ryan didn’t build his social empire overnight, but don’t you think we could learn a thing or two from him about social media!?

As such, we picked his brain and gathered some high-quality advice on how beginners can get started with funeral social media, and why the heck funeral service should even be on social in the first place.

7 Social Media Questions Answered with Ryan Thogmartin:

1. What advice would you give to a funeral professional who is looking to embrace social media for their funeral business?

I think the first step for  is to get on Facebook and Twitter and use the social network personally, so they understand the interaction and engagement that happens.  The same principles and the techniques apply to your personal conversations and  the two-way conversation you have with your social following.

It’s amazing how many funeral directors are extremely unprofessional online, and a majority of their friends on Facebook are professional colleagues and clients. Funeral directors almost always have their own “personal brand” on Facebook, so they must be strategic in what they’re posting.

2. Which social networks are absolutely critical for funeral professionals to be on?

Facebook is the most important, because it now has over 1 billion users, which means most consumers are using it.Facebook is going to be the easiest to adapt to, because that’s where the largest target market is going to be present.  Facebook allows you to build lot of things branding-wise that you can’t necessarily do as easy on other networks.

For a funeral director who is looking to build his personal brand, I recommend LinkedIn. With LinkedIn, funeral professionals can connect with that C-level executive or someone from a larger company. LinkedIn is a great way to spark a professional connection or conversation, especially for recruiting purposes.

3. What types of content do you recommend people in funeral service post on social networks like Facebook?

It can vary from funeral home to funeral home. Obviously posting obituaries is important, but that can’t be your main stream of content.  Obituaries are a great marketing tool, because the conversation usually sparks around them. However, if there is no other content on the page, the obituaries aren’t going to get the attraction that they should.

4. How do you find content to post on social networks?

I would start by looking at the values of your funeral home and the values of your target customer and create content that is in line with both of them. Focus on things that interest your target customer, yet translate your funeral home’s values. For example, if a funeral home is known for being innovative, they can post content on innovation and other people in the community who are innovative.

5. A lot of funeral director’s simply don’t have a lot of time to spend on social media. With that being said, how much time should they dedicate to social media every week?

I don’t know if there is a time stamp that you can put on it, but it doesn’t have to be a full-time gig. If you do social media right, obviously it is going to be a time and investment.  But if you are just starting out and you want to start to get traction, I would recommend dedicating someone on your staff as the social media go-to. You could even assign that task to your secretary (since they’re going to be on Facebook anyways)!

For people who want to manage social media themselves, I would recommend they ask the staff in charge of social media to come in 30 minutes early each day to post statuses and respond to conversations happening around you.

6. How often should funeral homes post on social media?

At the very minimum, try to post at least once a day. A good way to look at it is, if you’re going to be checking your emails every day for 20 minutes, why not monitor conversations happening on social media as well?

7. What true value do you see in social media for funeral service?

I think there is a lot of value that funeral directors might not realize right away. For a funeral home, there is going to be obvious value in using social media to generate traffic back to their website, especially if there is a way to monetize that website traffic (through eCommerce, for example). Social media is also valuable for getting engagement and interaction on online memorials as well.

But, I think the ultimate value of social media is that it puts the funeral director in a position to be involved in the conversation around death. That conversation is happening in every community; it’s just a matter of whether or not the funeral director decides to be involved with it or not.

So, if we are looking at social media and how we understand it, the conversations you are going to have with families are still the same ones you have on social media. Except now you can touch more people and expand your reach more than ever before. You can also get recommendations from members of the community who are going to validate what you are talking about on social media.

You can view the original interview here: http://blog.funeralone.com/grow-your-business/funeral-marketing/ryan-thogmartin-social-media-interview/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Krystal Penrose is the content marketer and funeralOne blog manager. As content marketer, her role is to research the changing needs of today’s families, and present them to funeral professionals through educational content. Krystal also engages with thought leaders in the industry to help create an  online community for funeral professionals across the country. funeralOne’s solutions include:website designaftercareeCommerce, and personalization software. Connect with Krystal on Google+

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ConnectingDirectors.com is the leading online daily publication for funeral professionals with a reader base of over 45,000 of the most elite and forward-thinking professionals in the profession. With ConnectingDirectors.com we have created a global community through an online platform allowing funeral professionals to Stay Current. Stay Informed and Stay Elite.
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