Living and breathing social media marketing is a major blessing and a deadly curse. For us, it means always being ahead of the game. Leading a profession into the current state of marketing is a big responsibility.
On one hand, there's always something new to learn and try. However, not everything makes sense when it comes to marketing death care companies. We've watched many funeral organizations lose focus on strategy due to the bright and shiny nature of the new tactics that pop up. Tactics come in all shapes, sizes and value levels. Some are new features that are useful and others can be 'shortcuts' that ultimately lead us in the wrong direction (ex: automation of generic content, $2/day Facebook success!).
Recent conversations got us thinking, so we wanted to talk about some social media marketing mistakes we see deathcare companies make, and how they can fix them.
1. No Content Strategy
Whenever we work with a new client, one of the first things they want to know is what we're going to be posting. We explain that we first need to create a strategy to determine what we are going to post. There is a HUGE difference in posting content matched to a strategy and just posting content for the sake of posting content.
The difference between the two is simple - a strategy is comprised of content pieces (we call these stories) meant to help achieve a certain goal related to the greater plan, while posting is publishing content just to have something in the feed for that day.
Never post for the sake of posting. Ever. There are many so called 'social media programs' from companies in the funeral profession that just want to sell you generic content (grief and inspiration images, Preneed sales images, bible verses, special holiday images, etc).
We recommend creating a content calendar that houses content directly related to the themes and goals you created in your strategy plan. Consider your content strategy a living entity that's strict, yet also very flexible and can change with real world events, like COVID-19 restrictions (see below):
A proper content strategy is key to every successful social media strategy. There are no shortcuts.
2. Poor Visuals and No Video
With the rise of cinemagraphs, GIFs and videos, your social media visuals need to be high quality (on point) to be noticed. Every post needs to be a show stopper, like Wendy Peffercorn in The Sandlot.
Not every funeral home has the budget to invest in hi-res photos and video shoots and you really don't need to because there are resources out there like Pexels and Death to Stock Photo that provide high quality graphics for free (14 Free Stock Photo Sites). You can create some awesome content using free stock photos and doctoring them up in a platform like Canva.
What about video, you ask?? A big concern funeral homes have is they can’t afford to hire someone to shoot video for them. Well, guess what. YOU DON’T NEED TO. Smartphones have become lifelines. You can video chat family, order from Amazon and watch all your favorite shows. Heck, I can practically run DISRUPT Media and ConnectingDirectors.com from my iPhone and never touch a computer! The evolution of the smartphone allows for content to be created anytime and anywhere.
At the end of the day, your content speaks about your brand and your brand is what the consumer perceives you to be, not what YOU say you are. Don’t rely on content that isn't visually appealing. Take the extra time and make sure you're giving the peeps something that looks so great it's finger stopping (you know, they stop scrolling...with their finger...on their smartphone)!!
3. No Measuring
We firmly believe in providing as much data as possible to our clients. We call them 'Buzz Reports" and they get deep! Every eyeball and click is measured.
Typically, we start with the “meat and potatoes” or the basics like community growth, impressions, engagements and basic demographics. With this base data, we can then do a deep dive and start looking at website demographics related to social followers and start understanding Facebook buying signals to better understand the interests of the exact users our clients want to engage and who are most likely to preplan or call our clients in an atneed situation. We can use this data to create content that is more likely to push a Facebook fan down the sales funnel and ultimately into a Preneed lead.
Unfortunately, when we partner with funeral homes or death care companies we find that they aren't measuring results and if they are, they are measuring irrelevant data.
When you aren't measuring results, you don’t have a clear picture on how your social media efforts are impacting your business. And if you don't have a content plan and strategy with goals, how do you know what to measure? See the problem, you gotta have number 1 to get to number 3.
4. No Facebook Ads
A few years ago, you could use Facebook to reach thousands of people and drive solid website traffic without the need to boost content or buy ads. In 2017 having no advertising budget for social media can drastically suffocate your results. Regardless, Facebook is the most cost effective way on the planet to reach a targeted audience. Funeral homes who take advantage now will be getting in when Facebook advertising is massively underpriced and traditional marketing methods are grossly overpriced. Just look at the chart below that shows the CPM (or Cost to Reach a 1,000 people) of current marketing methods. Facebook is much more cost effective.
But you don’t need to break the bank. As a social media agency, we've worked with funeral homes that have allocated as little as $200 per month in Facebook Advertising spend and have been able to generate positive ROI. Not having advertising dollars isn’t a deal breaker, however you need to set your own expectations that it’s going to be a long hard road to positive return on investment without it.
On an average spend of $500 a month we have clients who bring in between $10,000 and $15,000 a month in sales from preneed leads generated through Facebook ads. I have said it before and will say it again, if you are not driving leads through Facebook, you are doing it wrong!
If you're reading this and feel like these points resonate with you, it’s time to get serious. You must treat Facebook marketing the same as any other marketing channel if you're going to see true business value. Facebook marketing is massively underpriced and it's not just good will marketing. You should absolutely be driving leads through social media.
Schedule a live demo with DISRUPT Media: https://www.disruptmedia.co/demo/
Ryan Thogmartin is a death care entrepreneur and the CEO of DISRUPT Media and creator of ConnectingDirectors.com. | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles
Watch FUNERAL Hustle: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkzmzds-VgOy_lT4ekLspCdQrxXqTxlEu
DISRUPT Media is a full-service creative agency built for the now. We partner with death care companies to drive deep rooted brand loyalty and measurable leads through social media..