Article by: Mark Thogmartin, VP of Business Development at DISRUPT Media
If you are a funeral home, odds are you serve a local community whose “borders” are within only 25 miles or less from your place of business. This means your Facebook outreach primarily should be directed toward those who live within your local area. You’d like for your Facebook “fans” to be people who would turn to you because you have established a relationship with them through local encounters that include interactions on the social media.
You are probably active in community events, and you are a member of numerous organizations. You shop locally, you engage the local government, and you contribute to local causes. How can you use these contacts and related methods to grow you Facebook fan base? Below are 5 easy to implement ideas.
Turn your customers into Facebook fans
As you meet with families, notice whether they have a smart phone with them. Ask them if they are Facebook users. If they are, request that they “Like” your page. Offer them a small incentive for doing so. When they become fans, and as they Like and Share your posts, your funeral home will be exposed to all of their Facebook friends. Their friends may also Like and Share your posts, increasing your exposure exponentially.
If customers do become fans, ask them if they would also “Check In” while they are in your facility. Again, this simple act literally puts you on the map in front of their Facebook friends. If you are uncomfortable approaching families in this way, put a sign in the room where you are meeting with them that says “Ask us about our Facebook incentives” or something similar. Offer families a free giveaway for ‘LIKE’ your Facebook page or leaving a positive recommendation.
Use local Keywords in your page settings
You must make it easy for locals to find you on Facebook. You can do this by refining your page setup to include keywords related to your location and your business. Go into your Facebook page settings and take a look at the Page Info tab. Is everything filled in? You can include keywords in two important places (in addition to your business name and location). These places are your personalized Facebook web address and your page descriptions (both short and long). In your personalized Facebook web address include both the name of your funeral home and your location. You should also use your name and location in both the long and short page descriptions. Liberally use key words related to the services you offer. Be sure to include your phone number and your address. The more descriptors related to your business the better. This information will help Facebook’s robust search engine to more likely find you when locals are looking for funeral related services.
Support, Like, and Share other local businesses and organizations
You know it is wise to patronize local businesses and to support local organizations. Taking part in their services and activities increases your exposure and acceptance in the community. The wisdom behind public participation is true on Facebook as well. You should Like the pages of local organizations and businesses and Comment on them often. Share their content when appropriate. Every time you do, your name appears in front of others who are their fans. Even consider Tagging these organizations on some of your posts and photos when appropriate.
Share photos and videos of local places and events
Visual images, especially videos (uploaded natively to Facebook and not linked to YouTube) grab the attention of Facebook browsers. When you post recognizable visual content, users will most likely pause to see what’s going on in their community. When they visually scan the image, they will see the name of your funeral home connected to it. Obviously, these images and videos should elicit warm feelings that make the locals proud to be a part of the community you are serving. They will want to Like, Comment, and Share…which increases your exposure in a very positive way!
Localize your Facebook advertising through hyper-targeting
Every funeral home should have a Facebook advertising budget. Advertising on Facebook is a relatively inexpensive way to maximize your exposure. By taking advantage of Facebook’s targeting options you can refine your posts to target fans and their friends in your community. You can even hyper-target down to the zip code where your customers reside. It simply does not make much sense to advertise to people who could never take advantage of your services. Targeting local fans and their friends in your advertising is the wisest way to maximize your advertising budget.
Remember that many factors, other than great content, play into social media success. Image size, the time of day you post, and boosting content all 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.