Social media matters
Digital marketing is now recognised as an essential part of business communications with its consumers and potential consumers. It provides so much more than traditional forms of marketing due to the way in which it enables us to be content-driven and interactive, among many other features. It is these particular elements which allow us, as funeral directors, to have a much more valuable relationship with our existing clients, future clients and other people we work with.
This is where the role of social media comes in. While other forms of digital marketing might not be deemed appropriate or effective in our day-today work, the use of social media can really help us connect with people.
The beauty of this is that when people follow and like you, they opt in to being part of your community so that you know they are interested in you and what you have to share or say. These social media platforms provide another way to keep in touch without replacing the need for face-to-face interactions; they simply add value when used correctly.
Facebook has two billion active users, second is YouTube, followed by Facebook Messenger in third place.
Facebook is the biggest social network in the world and is one day tipped to rival Google as a search engine tool. If you don’t have a Facebook page for your company, then it’s worth getting the support to create one along with other platforms. It will allow you to collect independent reviews from your clients, update them on your services which they can share with others, ask them what they would find helpful and even publish death notices.
We are always reminded at Leverton’s that making posts personal, with the individual funeral director’s professional photo included along with the recent testimonial, really matters to people. Personalisation is key to getting across your company’s brand and makes it genuine. This all leads to building trust with your audience as they get to know you, something which I believe is even more essential in the funeral profession.
I believe more of my peers will use Facebook and other social media along with comparison sites to decide whether they will choose you as their funeral director. Being consistent in your content marketing and repeating what works really helps – Facebook business posts reach 16% of followers, so do put the message out again if it worked. You can use a free content planning schedule such as HubSpot and Hootsuite to automate and plan your messages. It is really important to remember that most of these social media and digital marketing tools are free to use.
The undeniable importance of social media among my generation also means that SAIF member firms should listen to your next generation in your approach to marketing and community engagement. The insight they can apply to your business can be invaluable.
This movement and acknowledgment has been recognised by SAIF’s NextGen group, which anyone under 40 years old, whether family member or another staff member, can join. If you are interested please contact one of the group leaders, Daniel Ginder, at email@example.com
While planning is great, be agile and create posts when something comes up spontaneously, like winning an award or receiving some coverage in a news article. I would also say sharing others’ posts that are helpful is key. For example, we like to share SAIF’s news to endorse their information.
We are guilty of being a bit behind on occasion but have started to create a blog/article section on our website. This not only helps to share information with our audience that they might not know, but also content marketing is king. It will provide you all that you need to share on your social media platforms and also, importantly, Google will rank you higher if you update your website with quality content regularly.
The Digital Marketing Institute recommends that if you are publishing posts to provide news, then between noon and 6pm is the most effective time to do so, or if you want to inform and promote you should be posting between 7pm and midnight. If you want to go further you can pay to promote your posts and, of course, you can add rich media such as videos – this feature along with live streaming and canvas is driving high-level engagement.
There are many helpful free tips and guides which are easily accessible out there, as well as agencies who can do all of this for you of course. Even if you are happy to manage or continue to manage your own social media, it’s worth asking an agency to do an audit on how well you are doing and if they can give you any suggestions and tips for improvements. We used Genesis PR who also work with SAIF.
Finally, you can measure your success on social media. All of the platforms provide page insights for you to see what was most popular, or didn’t get downloaded much, so you can see what works for your audience and adapt.
I feel that whatever you do, be consistent, genuine and respond well. If someone contacts you on social media because a person has passed away, it’s just as important that you are able to respond quickly – as you would to a phone call or to someone walking into your branch.
Ensure you have a couple of reliable and trustworthy admin users who can access and respond to messages appropriate to your brand values. If you feel you are unable to do this yourself then do invest in a reputable agency or freelancer to do this for you.
The digital world is growing and changing at an incredible pace – the next 10 years will see as much technological progress as the previous 200. Having nearly completed my Digital Marketing Diploma, I feel it’s crucial to keep up with how people use digital tools to communicate and how we can ensure the funeral profession is making the most of this to help the bereaved.Tags: communications, digiral, Facebook, Hannah Leverton, Leverton, Leverton and Sons, marketing, social media