10 Signs Your Funeral Home is Doing Social Media Wrong

March 17, 2014
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Article by: Ryan ThogmartinDISRUPT Media and ConnectingDirectors.com

There’s a huge difference between having social media profiles for your funeral home because that’s what’s expected of businesses these days and actually building a social following that contributes to your funeral home’s business goals.

Any of the following 10 signs may be indications that you’re doing social media wrong:

1. You don’t update regularly or your timeline is just obits. The number-one cardinal sin most funeral homes commit is not regularly posting or if they are posting it is just obits and preneed sales info. If your followers see your pages run dry for more than a few days (let alone a few weeks or months) at a time, the likelihood that they continue to check for your content is slim.

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2. You broadcast, rather than engage. A majority of funeral homes are doing this. Especially those automating their social media efforts. Social media is all about the engagement, it’s a two-way conversation. If you’re constantly broadcasting — that is, sending your thoughts out into digital space in a one-way fashion (blasting preneed after preneed posts) — you’re missing out on the powerful benefits that can come from true engagement (which is the most powerful piece of social media).

3. You aren’t gaining new followers. Acquiring followers isn’t a perfect way to measure social media success. However, if your social following isn’t growing as a result of your marketing efforts, you need to reevaluate your strategy, content and demographic your trying to reach.

4. You use social channels as ad streams (content distribution, not engagement). Under no circumstances should you treat your funeral home facebook page as just another avenue to send out your preneed sales pitches and marketing messages. The content you share on social networks should be informative, engaging, entertaining and/or conversational.

5. You automate your posts. Each social network requires a different format for posting and storytelling. Content on Twitter is formatted differently then content on Facebook or Tumblr. Knowing what each network requires will help your engagement.

If you’re automating anything on social media you’re missing out on the value.

6. You haven’t established social guidelines. Part of good branding is establishing a set of guidelines that dictate how you control your funeral home’s image in public — and social media shouldn’t be exempted from this process.

The action of an employee’s online presence reflects on the business. When creating a policy, the behavior expectation of the employees needs to be addressed. What is expected of a business online, and even offline, should be mentioned to create an identity. Here are some other elements to include in a social media policy and guidelines document:

  • The purpose for social media in the business
  • Provide evidence of responsibility with sharing
  • Provide some business information for credibility and authenticity
  • Understand the audience with whom you are communicating
  • Provide credit to the right people or businesses
  • Protect confidentiality of the business
  • Provide value for the consumers and the business
  • Find a balance between social media and other work

7. You don’t have a strategy. Though it might seem like social media marketing is a “spur-of-the-moment” activity, the funeral homes that get the best results are those that develop an strategy for connecting with their followers. If your funeral home doesn’t yet have this in place, invest some time in setting overall social media goals that’ll drive the content you post.

Two funeral homes and a cremation company doing social media right:

Pray Funeral Home

Hillis, Combs & Nestor Funeral Home

SMART Cremation

Related: 10 Reasons You Should Not Hire This Company

8. You ignore (or delete) negative social mentions. No matter how “good” your funeral home is, negative social mentions happen (not often, but they can happen). And when they do happen, you need to have a process for evaluating and addressing the negative comment.

9. You don’t respond to customer posts quickly. According to a survey conducted by the Social Habit, 32 percent of customer respondents who contacted businesses for support via social channels expected a response within 30 minutes. To make matters worse, 24 percent expect a 30-minute response regardless of when the initial contact was made — even if it was made outside of business hours.

The bottom line? When a customer asks you a question, you’ve got to respond quickly. Working with a company that will monitor and manage your social media profiles can be extremely value.

10. You aren’t tracking return on investment. Finally, keep in mind that while social media conversations are important, your funeral home needs to receive value for your efforts — and you’ll only know if you’re getting out more than you’re putting in if you track ROI.

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 12.32.03 PM

No matter what kind of outcome you hope to achieve through social media marketing, there’s a way to track and quantify your efforts to ensure your resources are being allocated wisely.

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Bonus: You have no social presence at all: This is a big one and is really a no brainer – you MUST start engaging where the consumer is – they aren’t using the Yellowpages anymore.

Bonus Bonus: If you still think social media is FREE. Just because the platform is free to join doesn’t mean correctly and effectively using it will be. You consistently bash “discounters and their ilk” for “cheapening the profession.”  So why would a “traditional & professional” funeral director hire a “discounter” social media advisor.  The analogy is the same;

professional funeral home = DISRUPT Media – a full service social media strategy and management company.  

discounter/store front = take your pick, there are dozens of so called ‘social media experts’ in this profession who can help you automate and co-pilot your social media for cheap.

LEARN MORE ABOUT DISRUPT MEDIA

LEARN MORE ABOUT SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE – Social Media Program Created By DISRUPT Media and Frontrunner Professional Specifically for Funeral Homes

Now I want to hear from you. Have you ever fallen into these traps? Share your experiences in the comments section below!

Cover photo credit: Flickr user mkhmarketing

Select sections of this article inspired by: entrepreneur.com

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