Just creating a Facebook page and calling it a day won’t cut it — social media is about being social.
But maintaining a healthy online presence doesn’t have to be a lot of work either. A little effort can go a long way when it comes to establishing a relationship with the families in your community.
Here are some reasons why you should grow your social media presence, and tips to help you do so:
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Reach Your Unique Families
In the past, your funeral home was likely to reach families through traditional ways. Advertising through the church bulletin or community newspaper might still reach some families, but it won’t reach them all.
Church participation is down. A Hartford Institute of Religion Research study found that while 40% of Americans say they attend church weekly, only about 20% actually do so. As for newspapers, readership is falling too.
Social media is a free way to bridge that gap and connect with families who otherwise might not attend church or subscribe to the local paper.
There are a number of reasons you want to put your funeral home on display. Families might be sick or homebound, living out of state, or possibly intimidated. Take a video or put up pictures to display the ins-and-outs of your funeral home. Families that can visualize your funeral home will be more open to trusting you in the future.
Google offers businesses a simple way to display the inside of their building through their Street View technology. It allows for a complete 360-degree virtual tour.
Through a survey, Google found that:
- A virtual tour can double the interest a person will have in your business, as compared to simply having a basic business listing online.
- 67% of people want a virtual tour.
- Google is the leading search engine when it comes to local business searches.
To learn more about setting up a virtual tour through Google, click here.
Lead the Conversation
When it comes to funerals, there are a lot of misconceptions. Simply talking about death can be difficult, and sometimes downright scary for families. Social media can be a great forum to reach out to families who might have questions like:
- What are the benefits of preplanning?
- Are there any hidden costs associated with cremation?
- Why do we need a funeral service at all?
Social media allows you to interact with your families in real time, but don’t wait around for them to ask — start the conversation yourself. Try hosting a monthly Q&A session with your community.
Set aside a time, invite your area families to participate, and answer their questions via Facebook or Twitter. For some ideas on starting your own Q&A, check out this article.
Sponsor, Host, or Attend Events
One thing that’s made social media so pervasive is that it connects us to the real world. And as a funeral home, it’s important to take advantage of that aspect to build upon your old traditions.
Maybe your funeral home has always thrown an annual community potluck dinner or hosted a Memorial Day remembrance service. Now social media can help you reach more members of the community when planning events, as well as make event planning simpler.
You can use social media features, such as Facebook events, to easily organize the event and bring everyone together. When the event is over, you also can share pictures and stories, and encourage your families to do the same.
Share Your Story
Your funeral home has a story to tell. Each member of your staff is unique, and their stories should be shared with your families. Use social media to post links to your funeral home biography or “about us” section. Share updates on new staff milestones, such as birthdays and anniversaries. Make your funeral home personable.
Mourning a death is a deeply personal experience. Families will be more comfortable working with funeral homes they feel they can emotionally connect with.
Not everyone has a knack for social media. Recognizing that it might not be for you personally doesn’t mean your funeral home can’t enjoy the benefits.
Don’t be afraid to delegate the task to someone else on the team. Look for outside sources too, such as interns from the community college or a local marketing agency.