Here are 3 tips to help funeral professionals approach and execute social media marketing.
1. Integrate social media into your relationship-building process.
It might be tempting to focus on content that is centered around obituaries or pre-need information, because that content is readily available, but that’s not typically the content that families want to see, says Thogmartin. It’s also not an effective way to begin to build a relationship with a family or to cultivate high quality leads.
“Most funeral homes that we talk to look at social media as the goodwill platform and not really something that’s going to drive any leads, says Thogmartin. “They may base [the idea of leads] off of how many people clicked on a pre-need link, or how many people filled out a form [for a service offering], for example.” But this isn’t always an effective lead nurturing process.
“The most valuable way to drive leads is through campaigns that offer something of value…It’s very simple. It’s giving to get. You’ve got to give value to get anything back,” adds Thogmartin. And once names/information are collected through a high-value or exclusive piece of content, the next step is still about giving away more valuable information to the family. That step can be forgotten or overlooked.
“One you get contact information, you might email a free cremation planning guide to them, or send a free checklist of things that you can do to make sure that you have things in order,” he says. “Managing the leads you collect is extremely important, and the engagement that happens from social media is what drives the user down the sales funnel.” Instead of trying to force a lead or a sale right away, approach social media as a way to build engagement and to start building that personal relationship with a family.
2. Make it one-on-one.
“There’s far more you can get out of social media than just exposure if you are doing it correctly,” says Thogmartin. Part of cultivating engagement with your social media channels, over time, is about creating compelling content that lets you interact with and learn about your fans, community and prospective families.
This is best achieved when your content is personalized and written for a certain person (or persona) within your audience. “You get to create that one-to-one relationship with the consumer on their terms, on their playing field in social media,” adds Thogmartin.
Thogmartin shares a trick his company uses in order to make sure they continually focus on creating and curating relevant content. “One of the things that we use internally is the phrase, ‘Give, give, give, get.’ You’ve got to give 3 things to get one thing in return.” That formula is most powerful when content is high-value and as personalized as it can be.
But Thogmartin also says while social media can and should drive leads, content should not be overly promotional. Focus on providing knowledge, education, resources or something else a specific person, among the intended audience, would be attracted to.
A few ways funeral professionals can create lead nurturing content include:
- An email series featuring an introduction to the staff or pre-need information or planning guides
- An offer/giveaway such as a free gift – one that doesn’t have to be funeral-related
- Blogs or infographics/visuals that educate families on the entire process they may be going through (or go through one day)
- Guides or downloads to help families that are planning a memorial service
- Community-specific content
Craft (or share) each of the pieces as if you’re speaking with a family member, one-on-one, and you will create content that is memorable and has a positive impact.
3. Start with your end goals.
When setting goals for a social media strategy, Thogmartin says try to define what success in social media would look like for your funeral home. “Start with the end result you want, and then reverse-engineer it. That’s the best way to start out with a plan,” he says.
Whatever the business goals – driving leads, building the right kind of visibility, higher engagement in the local community – the content should always be aligned with those goals. “That is where you can say, this is what we want to achieve, and we’re going to work backwards to figure out the steps on how to get here.”
About Ryan Thogmartin
Ryan Thogmartin is a death care entrepreneur and the CEO of DISRUPT Media and creator of ConnectingDirectors.com. | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles
DISRUPT Media is a social media first marketing company that focuses on social storytelling for funeral companies. DISRUPT uses insights gained through analytics to build creative campaigns that achieve actual business goals.
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