Go back to being a young, broke high schooler for just one minute. You’ve just spent the last of your spare change filling up your tank, and you hear that your friends want to hang out at the local Tex-Mex joint. You don’t have the cash for a burrito, but you want to see your buds, so you decide you go, and you’ll just eat the free chips and salsa.
Stop wasting 95% of your marketing budget!!
If you’re investing your money in billboards, newspaper ads, and television/radio commercials, just stop. Now. There are two reasons these traditional methods aren’t working for you anymore:
- Billboards don’t build relationships
- You’re ignoring your target audience
Let’s face it: people don’t pick a funeral home based on an advertisement they see in the Sunday paper. They choose you because they understand what your organization is all about. Maybe they’ve worked with you before to plan a family member’s services, or they’ve attended a viewing at your facility. Either way, they’ve had the opportunity to meet your staff, take a look around your funeral home, and see how you do things. If they liked that experience, they’re probably planning to turn to you for their own needs.
So how do you let others — those who’ve never set foot in your facility — know what you’re really like? The answer is by telling your story. Share your “why” — why you’re the team who will truly care for them and their loved ones when the time comes. Win their trust by sharing your expertise and demonstrating your level of professionalism.
You can’t do this in a 30-second radio ad. But you CAN do this on Facebook. Create your own videos of your staff sharing their thoughts, beliefs, and advice. Post photos of your new chapel. Share a blog post about how cremation works. And keep doing it. Very few people are going to make an important decision like who will provide their funeral services based on a one-off encounter.
Now, 2020 wasn’t all bad and many people still accomplished great things in spite of what 2020 will forever be known as - the year of change. Just two months into the new decade, we all went through a lot of change. People started wearing masks, working from home, and taking lots of walks. Remember that? People who never went on walks spent like two weeks just strolling through the neighborhood; good for them. As our interactions in the “real world” were squelched, our online communication was sky-rocketing. For many, the past twelve months have been spent almost entirely on Netflix, Zoom, and social media. Being that DISRUPT Media is a social media based creative agency, we’re going to look at three ways that 2020 has forever changed social media for businesses.
1. Everything is expected to be on social media
No, I don’t mean that every business is expected to be on social media, that’s been an expectation for years now. EveryTHING is expected to be on social media. Do you live stream services? Then they need to be on your Facebook or at least a link to your streaming platform that is easy to find on your page. Do you have a grief expert on staff or that you partner with? People would love to see clips of them in their newsfeed as they’re doing their daily scrolling. Better yet, what if you created a private grief group where they gave monthly virtual presentations or help healing groups? Are you running a food drive to help people impacted by the crazy weather we’ve had lately? Promoting it and showing the progress through social media is essential to making it a success. These things have always been important, but now they’re essential, and here’s why:
Last March everything went virtual. There was almost nothing going on in person, as events adapted to the new medium, we got used to attending church, meetings, and concerts through Facebook Live and uploaded videos. Now, some of these events were terrible and should never be repeated, but some people found that they were satisfied with attending events from the comfort of their couch. Even as in-person events are coming back, people still want the option of experiencing as much as they can online.
2. People check businesses pages more
Let’s go back a year to last March when states were changing their business guidelines on a daily basis. So much confusion was going on and the only way local businesses (funeral homes and cemeteries) could get their messages out to the community was through social media. So, over the next few months, people created a habit of going to local business places online to see updates on their favorite local spots. Googling a business is convenient, but people are finding that visiting a Facebook page shows more real-time information than what you get through a search engine. People have that habit of checking in on their favorite businesses and brands they have maintained through the past twelve months, and it’s not going anywhere.
Think about it like this - Say you have a daughter, and she tells you (or you find out somehow) that she has a date coming up with a guy you don’t know. She tells you that he’s really cute and nice and that you have nothing to worry about. Sure… every guy tries to give off that persona at first, but to quote a great philosopher, Lizzo, “Why men great 'til they gotta be great?” Right? Now, because you care about your daughter and you want to protect her from the snakes, you get his name and do some research. Where do you search? You can try googling him, but nothing’s going to come up unless he’s a celebrity or a part of a news story. So, the logical place to check is Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. This is where you can see who their family/circle is and what they’re doing in their day-to-day lives. From there you can make your assumptions and draw your conclusions about this Prince Charming. This is called “stalking.” Everybody does it with everyone, and they’re doing it with your business too. Before people ever walk into your funeral home or cemetery, they’re checking it on social media to get their first impressions. REMEMBER THAT. A person’s first impression of you and your business is already made before they even see your building or property.
3. No more band-aids
If people are expecting everything to be on social media, and they’re checking it ALL THE TIME, you have to be on your A-game with it. The problem is, a lot of funeral homes and cemeteries have broken social media presences. For the past decade they’ve tried to fix it with little band-aids. These band-aids come in the form of free content, generic grief posts, and just posting once a year with your funeral Christmas photos. I mean sure it’s something, but it’s not the right thing. If a broken social media presence is the equivalent to a broken arm, then we don’t need band-aids, we need a cast and physical therapy, AKA deep work. So if we’re ripping off band-aids (which just like the real thing, isn’t always easy) then we need to replace it with something better. The only real solution is a thought-out, nitty-gritty social media strategy. Now, the full-blown product (like what DISRUPT Media clients have) goes into way more detail, but there are some things that anyone can start doing to begin replacing your band-aid solutions.
- Start creating posts featuring you and your staff
- Run contests that help your community and increase your brand awareness
- Respond to comments and messages left on your page
Social media is about real connections and building relationships. That's the entire reason social media exists - to build relationships, regardless of whether that is peer-to-peer or business-to-consumer (we like to call it people-to-people) the relationship principles remain. Your social media presence must be intentional and real. The automated band-aid fix is no longer a ‘;good enough’ solution.
2020 changed everything for most people, and if your social media hasn’t changed too, you might want to take a second look at it. “We’re still waiting and adapting with the pandemic and everything” was an acceptable statement in 2020; however, we’re not in 2020 anymore. Your community expects you to be adapted and able to communicate effectively with them in 2021. Believe me, you can do it, and if you can’t do it by yourself, hit up DISRUPT and we’ll get you going in the right direction.
Imagine this: you're walking down the stairs one morning, you trip and fall, bust your arm, and break your shoulder. Not fun, right? Well, after you get a ride to the hospital, and have the doctors check it out, they say, "Yeah, it's definitely busted, that bone’s split in two. Oh well, let’s just throw a band-aid on it and it should get better!" What? Throw a band-aid on a broken arm? That's insane! Sure, band-aids are great for minor cuts and little scratches, but some things require deeper work.
Ryan is BACK for DISRUPTu! 78 to discuss three very important topics for 2021! In this episode, we’re talking about persistence, likes, impact, and what all of those mean to you as a funeral-space professional. There are a lot of nuggets in here so get your appetite for knowledge ready and dive in!
1) You can’t just “try” social media- it’s a commitment
2) Likes on your Facebook page don’t really matter and they’re going away
3) Any single post you make can change a life and impact the world
Text Ryan: (740) 273-6627
The first step to success is establishing your goals! Then you just have to create a game plan and follow through.
Planning? What’s the point? In the last 60 days we have been asked that question a hundred times. Truthfully, it makes sense. At the beginning of 2020 there were so many articles written stating, “This is how you conquer marketing in 2020!!!!” Now, I would bet looking back that many of those pieces would be found to be a little off with the specifics considering the roller-coaster ride that was the start of the new decade. The truth is, you never know what life will throw at you, but there are still business/marketing principles and habits that if mastered, will be evergreen - regardless of the social climate.
It's episode 077, and we're bringing the same high level of energy and value we've been bringing since day 1 (maybe even a little more). Today Ryan answers three questions that are oh-so relevant today!