Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms today. According to the Pew Research Center, Instagram’s userbase grew 7% between 2016 and 2018 – the largest growth of any social media platform during that time. It’s easy to brush off Instagram’s success, especially if your funeral home just recently started managing a Facebook page. However, you shouldn’t rule Instagram out as an important marketing tool.
As time marches on, the demographics that funeral homes are targeting are shifting. Around 61% of people ages 30 to 64 use Instagram. This age group is a funeral home’s prime target for consumers who may be considering prearranging a funeral for their parents or other elderly loved ones. Plus, 39% of all U.S. women are using Instagram. Why is that important, you ask? According to our Pre-need Motivators report, women are more likely to purchase pre-need policies and are often the decision makers for the entire household, which means they’re deciding if and when a pre-need policy is purchased for anyone in their family. Tapping into Instagram’s already established audience base will give you access to a new group of people you don’t currently connect with on Facebook.
If your funeral home is ready to dive in to the world of Instagram, here are answers to a few questions you may have.
How do I get started?
Setting up a new Instagram account is easier than setting up a Facebook Business Page since Instagram doesn’t require as much information. Once you download the Instagram app from the App Store or Google Play, you simply answer a few questions to set up your funeral home’s profile.
Next, you’ll want to navigate to your app’s settings and switch your profile over to a free Business Account. This will allow you to add your address and phone number, which consumers can easily find and utilize.
For more information on setting up an Instagram Business Account, click here.
What do I post?
One of the best ways to get content ideas on Instagram is to take cues from funeral homes already using Instagram or search for funeral service-related hashtags. A quick search for “#funeralservice” reveals posts about creative service ideas, merchandise, images and stories of funeral professionals and ideas for funeral flower arrangements.
As you create a content calendar, remember to strike a balance between promotional posts and informational posts. In a week’s time, you could post a quote about managing grief, an image of your team at a community event and a post about an upcoming lunch and learn you may be hosting.
How do I get followers?
Growing your audience base on Instagram, or any social media platform, takes time. Using hashtags is a great way to make sure your posts are discovered. Be aware that utilizing broad, generic hashtags can gain you additional followers, but they might not be followers in your target demographic. To attract people in your community, make sure you’re using locally based hashtags.
For example, it’s very common in my area for people to tag their Instagram photos #DesMoines or #DSM (a local abbreviation). People who live in and around Des Moines are more likely to follow that hashtag than people in other cities, which means the post is more likely to be seen by the target audience.
(That's me on the left.)
You can also promote your Instagram handle on marketing materials, link to it on your website and cross-promote it on your Facebook page to gain additional followers.
How do I turn followers into customers?
Taking the step from social media follower to customer is difficult, but not impossible. Unless you are using Instagram ads, the platform itself is not designed to collect leads. That being said, there are ways you can encourage potential customers to reach out for additional information. Running a contest or giveaway can encourage participation on a post. Once you’ve selected a winner and connected with them via direct message (also known as a DM), they’ll provide you with their information and become a lead.
Another way to generate leads from Instagram is to post content that directs people to your website or to call or email you for additional information. Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t allow URLs to be posted within image captions, however, your profile page can host one hyperlinked URL. We recommend you use that for your funeral home’s website.
Linking and replying to comments on your Instagram feed is also an important way to build trust and generate leads. If you encounter a customer with a question or problem, reply to their comment asking if they’ll direct message you so you can help them solve the issue.
Instagram is the next up-and-coming social media platform for brands. Facebook may be a more obvious fit for brand marketing, but Instagram has several advantages that Facebook doesn’t. It’s simple and streamlined, which means each image posted gets its own space to shine. For inspiration, make sure to follow Homesteaders (@homesteaderslifecompany) on Instagram.