On Tuesday, we talked about how important it is to be sure your funeral home isn’t stuck in the past. In fact, one of the easiest ways to do this is by setting up Facebook and Twitter accounts for your business. Social media marketing allows you to demonstrate how tech-savvy you are, while also connecting directly with your customers and your community at large.
But that said, there’s a big difference between setting up your social media accounts and actually doing it well!
Just because you have a Twitter account doesn’t mean you’re getting the biggest possible benefit from social media marketing. Here are a few easy tweaks to make to your campaign in order to get your funeral home back on the right track.
Mistake #1 – Using a private account
When you first create your Twitter account, you have the option of setting your profile to public or private. As a public profile, all Twitter users will be able to see your tweets and follow your business. If you select the private option, you’ll need to approve all follower requests to allow these users to access the same information.
As a public business, there’s no reason whatsoever for your funeral home to use the private option.
The goal of your social media marketing campaign should be to connect with people on a personal level. If you make them jump through hoops in order to do so, you’re already starting the relationship out on the wrong foot.
Mistake #2 – Having no bio at all
Some of the most important characters on Twitter are the 160 you’re given for your bio. Your bio is one of the first things your future followers will see about your business, so it’s important that it clearly convey your funeral home’s purpose in an engaging way.
As an example, take a look at the following Twitter bio from Brown Forward, Inc. in Shaker Heights, OH:
This bio uses the available characters to clearly state both its purpose and its key factors of differentiation. Customers of all financial means should feel immediately put at ease by the company’s longevity and dedication to providing great service. That’s a pretty big difference over businesses that don’t fill out this key area at all!
Mistake #3 – Not identifying your business in your bio
Because Twitter usernames are limited in length, most funeral homes won’t be able to fit their entire business names into their handles. Instead, most will be forced to use abbreviations like “fh” or to leave off the words “funeral home” entirely.
As a result, it’s critically important that you use your bio to identify what it is that you do. Take the example above. In this case, the handle “@brownforward” isn’t obviously indicative of a funeral home. It’s the first three words in the company’s bio that let potential followers know what to expect.
Mistake #4 – Setting your address as your bio
One common mistake that I’ve seen several funeral homes make is to list the physical addresses of their buildings in their bios.
Why is this a problem? Well, remember the point we just made about how Twitter usernames aren’t always long enough to fit your full business name? If you have an abbreviated handle and a physical address as your bio, future followers aren’t going to have a clue what it is you do!
Minimize confusion by always including a descriptive text bio. If Brown Forward, Inc. had used an address in the bio field, community members might have no idea that they’re viewing the Twitter profile of a funeral home!
Mistake #5 – Packing your bio full of links or hashtags
Essentially, the same thing applies to sticking a bunch of links or hashtags into your Twitter bio. First of all, Twitter gives you the opportunity to include your business’s URL in a separate area. There are really very few legitimate reasons to use more than this single link on your Twitter profile, so avoid clogging up characters that could be better spent describing your business with excess links.
Excessive hashtagging in your bio should be avoided as well. In the past, people used hashtags to search for related content and profiles on the given subject of the hashtag. However, over the past few years, hashtag behavior has evolved significantly. Instead of being a signal that content is related to a particular topic, they’re now more commonly used to add conversational commentary to a message.
For best results, keep extra links and hashtags out of your bio and use this limited space to make a more compelling argument about why people should follow your profile.
Mistake #6 – Bragging in your bio
One of the reasons writing your bio can be challenging is that, while you want to showcase your business’s strengths, you have to walk a fine line between sharing your advantages and bragging too much. Given the negative public perception that many people have of funeral homes as opportunistic, profit-driven companies that take advantage of people at their weakest moments, boasting too much about your success could be taken poorly by followers.
Saying that your business is committed to serving its community is one thing. Saying that you’re growing quickly or always expanding is another – and it’s one that won’t be received well. Keep it neutral and save any bragging you want to do for more private conversations.
Mistake #7 – Too many self-promotional tweets
Finally, don’t look at Twitter as a platform that exists solely to advertise your business. Social media users set up profiles because they want to kick back, relax and connect with others – not because they’re anxious to hear about how great your business is!
To keep from coming across as too self-promotional, stick to the “4-1-1” rule. Four out of every six of your tweets should be original content that you develop based on your followers’ demonstrated interests (for example, links to interesting news articles or healthy grieving tips). One post should be a re-tweet of something your followers will find interesting and your remaining post can talk about your business’s activities or promotions.
By maintaining the proper balance of engaging tweets to self-promotional messages – in addition to avoiding the account set-up mistakes described above – you’ll be able to better engage your followers and make the most out of this social platform.
Is your funeral home on Twitter? If so, share your user name in the comments section below!