Social Media and PR – Go Together Like Milk & Cookies
Some people like just a cold glass of milk and others enjoy simply cookies; but when you put them together, that’s where the magic happens. It’s the same thing with social media and PR. Use just one, you’ll get decent results but use them together, with a strategy, and you will expand your funeral home’s or cemetery’s visibility.
Social Media = Milk
Think of social media as the milk. It’s become the foundation of deathcare marketing in 2017. As a funeral professional, you must be on social media. If you don’t think you need to be on social media, consider the fact that there are over 250 million active social media users in the US. How can you afford not be on social media and miss out on this potential market?
Which platform is best? Simple – it’s the one you are most comfortable with and the one that you will engage on. That is the key to success in social media. You want your families to get to know you so they want to call you when the need arises. Know the platform and use it to its highest potential on a regular basis.
Pick a platform and just start. If you are using social media, make sure you are using that platform to its fullest capabilities and get the best bang for your time buck by getting the most out of it.
PR = Cookies
Now for the cookies. Sweeten your marketing plan by adding in publicity. What is known for certain is that more visibility means more families and that means more calls. You’re growing your visibility with social media and now by adding in publicity, you’re making it all happen much faster and to a larger audience.
Start locally. Local media loves to cover stories about local businesses. Make your funeral home or cemetery newsworthy. “New” is the key word here. If you’re a new funeral home or have a new significant hire or a new location – that is newsworthy. Did your cemetery win an award? Those are all topics that interest local media. What is your expertise and how can you share that in a newsworthy manner? What value can you provide a media outlet’s audience in sharing what you know?
You want to hook the journalist in with your email’s subject line so they will want to read more and open your email. Look at magazine covers for great hook examples. People get paid for you to make an impulse purchase in the grocery store check-out line based on the article title/hook on the cover. What can they say that will make you want to buy the magazine to read the article? Also, think about the news programs on television when they say, “Coming up next…” That is a hook. The thing that will make you stay through the commercials to hear the next story.
This approach is the key to publicity success. By pitching the media in this way, you will be light-years ahead of your competition and journalists will be thrilled to work with you because you’ve just made their job that much easier.
Social Media + PR = Milk & Cookies
The final step is combining the milk and cookies. When you find the right journalist, connect with them on social media. If they are active on Twitter, follow them, retweet them, share their work and comment on their stories. Do the same on Instagram. Connect on LinkedIn by saying you’ve read or watched their work and you welcome the opportunity to connect. Become a valuable resource for them. Build relationships through social media so that when you pitch, you are a warm lead versus a cold one.
This last step is the secret sauce. The media is pitched all the time but very few people take the time to get to know the journalist. Do your research on both the media outlet and the journalist so you can be a valuable resource to them versus just another misguided and boring pitch.
Joe Weigel is the owner of Weigel Strategic Marketing, a communications firm focused on the funeral profession that delivers expertise and results across three interrelated marketing disciplines: strategy, branding and communications. You can visit his website at weigelstrategicmarketing.webs.com. He also can be reached at 317-608-8914 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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