There are no foolproof instructions when it comes to marketing and even less when it comes to managing a social media profile, and that unbridled creativity can be intimidating. One small misstep can lead to a surprising amount of backlash that many brands and businesses are not prepared to handle.
That being said, social media isn’t as scary as it seems. When used properly, a strong funeral home social media presence can help bolster your brand and attract new customers. Discover how you can avoid these common mistakes that businesses make on social media.
Mistake 1: Firms Quit Social Media Too Soon
It’s great when funeral professionals take the time to set up social media profiles for their businesses. Social media is an integral part of any marketing strategy. However, the act of just creating a profile will not benefit your firm. Like accounting and other business-related tasks, social media requires daily, one-on-one attention from you.
How to Fix It
There are two ways your firm can keep up with the attention a social media platform requires:
- Identify the person (or people) on staff who will be responsible for actively running your social media activities and measuring their effectiveness. Encourage them to schedule about 15 minutes every morning to update something on your firm’s social platforms. However, make sure that you have one leader who will approve all posts before they are scheduled. This “point person” should know what’s happening online at all times to avoid double posting or over-posting.
- Partner with an agency that will manage all of your social media needs on your behalf. In this case, it’s important to find a vendor that is knowledgeable about funeral service and won’t convolute your firm’s message.
Mistake 2: Firms Try to Manage Multiple Platforms
There are probably more social media sites around the world than anyone could take the time to count. Funeral homes and other small businesses often make the mistake of trying to join all of the popular social media sites thinking that being everywhere will boost their visibility. The issue here brings us back to the prior point: social media requires daily attention. Unless you have a dedicated, full-time communications employee, most people don’t have time to manage more than one or two platforms.
How to Fix It
Pick the social media site that will deliver the best results for your firm, and stick with it. Not sure what each platform is used for? Take a look at the top common social media marketing platforms for funeral homes:
Facebook is best for storytelling, sharing images and videos, as well as linking to content, like blogs, on your funeral home’s website. This is the most recommended platform for funeral home businesses, and also the most effective first step into social media. Funeral professionals have found success in sharing content like obituaries and end-of-life resources, as well as information for caregivers and news from professional associations.
Twitter is best for newsworthy and time-sensitive information. The platform is less image-oriented than Facebook, but still very video-driven. It can be used to link to content on your site that is timely. Twitter is also great for connecting with local businesses and organizations by using its tagging feature. Plus, funeral professionals can join appropriate conversations using trending hashtags (#) in their Tweets.
Instagram is best for creatively sharing visual content like images and videos. This platform is better for brands that have merchandise they are selling or creating, or those who are willing to share behind-the-scenes information. Practical uses of Instagram for funeral professionals are photos and videos of staff, the funeral home’s grounds, and community and organizational events.
Pinterest is best for sharing projects, experiences, skills, how-tos and lifestyle-oriented information. Unlike other social platforms, Pinterest is primarily used to store images with associated links to specific online resources. If your website has great content, like blogs on different types of services you offer, specific products you sell (e.g., caskets, urns, etc.) and tips on planning a funeral, you can share all of that content on Pinterest.
YouTube is best for sharing videos of any length. This platform also gives you the ability to include links in your description to guide people back to your website. Plus, you can repurpose videos from other platforms on YouTube or vice versa.
Mistake 3: firms Post One Message on all platforms
If you do happen to have more than one social media profile, resist the urge to use third-party software that posts the same content on multiple sites. Yes, it seems like the less time-consuming option, but it will negatively affect engagement with your posts.
For example, a great long-form-content post on Facebook with an image and an embedded link leading to your website will get wonderful engagement, but only on Facebook. If you use third-party software that pushes that post to Twitter, you will more than likely see lower engagement. Why? Because Twitter has a much shorter character count and attention span than Facebook. Since your original post had more than 280 characters (Twitter’s max character count), some third-party platforms will cut the post off mid-sentence, completely ruining the point you were attempting to make.
How to Fix It
If you are so pressed for time that you need to resort to automated software to help you, you are using too many social media platforms. Scale back and focus your attention on a platform that will benefit you the most, like Facebook.
Mistake 4: Firms Don’t Respond to Complaints
Internet culture has created a world where customers are no longer afraid of lodging complaints when they can hide behind their device’s screen. A member of a client family who had a bad experience with their loved one’s service, whether it was your fault or not, can easily jump on your Facebook page and leave an angry post or comment. Everyone on the Internet can see their complaint, and these negative interactions can have an impact on your funeral home's brand.
How to Fix It
According to a recent blog post from MarTech, there are several steps you can take to calm a negative social media storm. First, be human. If someone has posted on your Facebook page that they are upset with a service you provided, reply and ask them to privately message, email or call you so you can address their concerns directly and reach a satisfactory resolution. Not only will you be able to help them, but you will also indicate to your followers that you are responsive to their concerns.
In some cases, however, people can become so wrapped up in their anger that their true goal is to make your business look bad. In instances like that, you may feel inclined to use Facebook’s “Hide Comment” feature but proceed with caution. Negative comments can turn into opportunities to demonstrate customer service and willingness to ensure satisfaction. It’s tempting to use the “hide” feature, but consumers value transparency in the companies they do business with (plus, there are plenty of other places they can post negative comments you can’t hide). Instead, use your response to show you take feedback seriously.
Social media gives funeral professionals a huge opportunity to increase their marketing power in a simple, yet effective, way. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can help your firm stay in the clear of any issues and use social media to its fullest potential. For more tips on improving your funeral home's social media strategy, download our free social media guide.