Article by: Mark Thogmartin, VP of Business Development, DISRUPT Media
I can recall times in my young life when my father gave me advice on how to speak to, act around, and engage with adults that I encountered. His counsel was nowhere this crude (caution, this clip from “Gran Torino” is rated PG-13 for language and racial slurs), but I never forgot his recommendations that included the following:
- Squeeze hard when shaking hands with another man. Don’t make him feel like he’s shaking hands with a jellyfish.
- Look him in the eye and speak to him. Don’t look down or off to the side.
- Say “Yes sir” and “No sir” when responding to his questions. Show respect and you will gain his respect.
Interacting with the adults in my world in this manner went a long way in assuring that I would have positive interactions with them at that moment and in the years ahead, because I had left a good first impression.
These general concepts hold true on Facebook. The ways you interact with your fans can either make or break the engagement opportunities you have with them in the future. Yes, you want to draw them to the services you have to offer, but your business opportunities will improve if you pay attention to these five don’ts now:
1. Don’t overly promote your products and services
Based on feedback given to Facebook through customer surveys, the most popular content tells “feel good” or helpful stories through words, photos, and videos. People indicated that promotional posts in which a business or person was trying to sell them a product or point of view were among the least favorite content in their news feed. Instead, you should be seeking to engage your fans with content that is helpful, heartwarming, or humorous. As your readers like, comment on, or share your posts, your name will elicit warm, trusted feelings that will pay off down the road.
2. Don’t ignore your fans when they do engage your content
By engaging with your readers you build meaningful relationships while increasing your audience. Respond appropriately to comments, especially the negative ones. View every negative comment as an opportunity to turn a critic into a fan. Remember, the Facebook public is watching. And do not ignore or delete the private messages sent to you. A quick response speaks volumes to the sender about your integrity and compassion.
3. Don’t post too often
The opposite extreme to non-engagement is just as dangerous. Do not flood the news feeds of your fans to the point where they become weary of seeing your name. One way to keep this from happening is by creating and using a content calendar in which you plan, in advance, the content you intend to post. Below is a portion of a monthly content calendar we at DISRUPT Media create for our clients. We send these calendars to them in advance so they can view and even edit the content we intend to post for them.
4. Don’t primarily post content that is mundane, repetitive, or depressing
While this advice seems intuitive, a real danger exists for funeral homes. In speaking with a potential client this morning, he commented that the page he managed for his funeral home had devolved into what he called “an online obituary repository.” He admitted that the engagement on their page had dropped substantially in the preceding months. It’s not surprising to see why. It seems counterintuitive to most people to “like” an obituary. Posting “likable” content may draw users to your web page, and it is there where they can view obituaries, read tribute content, and visit your online sympathy store.
5. Don’t format your posts incorrectly
In order to maximize your impact on Facebook, it is important to pay attention to how your content is formatted. Using images that are too small or that don’t fit into the appropriate dimensions, using too many words, or including too many clickable links can cause readers to scroll right past or disengage from your content. You must make sure your posts are attractive, concise, and digestible.
Remember that many other factors play into social media success. The time of day you post, various targeting strategies, and Facebook advertising also play a part in the organic reach of a post and the engagement of that post. You may be concerned about the legalities of posting non-original content, the mechanics involved, or your ability to have time to make it all happen. If so, you can turn to the experts at DISRUPT Media. We are the only full-service social media agency specifically catering to the funeral profession.
Go to http://funeralsocial.com to find out more about the services we offer. Our clients who are a part of our FUNERAL Social Design Process are seeing an increase in post reach and engagement of over 300%.
Dr. Mark Thogmartin is a life-long educator, working with students from Kindergarten through the doctoral level. He has degrees from the University of Kentucky, the Ohio State University, and Andrews University. Mark’s book, Teach a Child to Read with Children’s Books, has gained wide acceptance among reading tutors and parents who are teaching their children at home. In addition to assisting his son, Ryan, at DISRUPT Media as Vice President of Business Development, he works part-time as a mentor of doctoral students at Capella University. Mark and his wife Donna live in Millersport and are the parents of three adult sons and two beautiful granddaughters