Social media: funeral directors either love it or hate it. But they can’t afford to ignore it, because it allows them to directly engage with both current and prospective customers, build a solid brand presence, and – in the end – make more sales.
But there’s another reason to put time and energy into social media: social platforms like Facebook can be a big help in customizing your firm’s social media strategy.
“Social media pages are gathering places for loyal customers”, wrote the authors of “What is the Value of a ‘Like’?” “They can offer brands a unique source of customer intelligence and feedback from a crucial cohort. Armed with this knowledge, marketers can build new, more successful social media strategies.”
But there’s a problem with social media: it takes time, energy, creativity, consistency of effort, organization and automation to make it work. That’s right; automation.
Funeral directors are busy people; they need to make social media marketing as effortless as possible.
Andy Eliason, in “The Real Value of Social Media for Your Business” said it best. “The real value in social media comes when your social media is growing your business. Not when your business is working really hard to grow your social media.” With so many around, how can you know which social media tool is best for your funeral home?
3 Social Media Management Tools
Google “social media management tools,” and you’ll quickly find there are about a dozen to choose from. In a very informal survey of funeral directors and small business owners, we learned Hootsuite, Buffer and Sprout Social were the three most popular social media tools, so that’s where we’ll put our attention.
Michael Jenkins, in “The 17 Best Social Media Management Tools” declared Hootsuiteto be the #1 social media management tool; Jennifer Gerhard, author of the 2015 Capterra blog post, “Hootsuite Competitors: 9 Other Social Media Management Alternatives to Consider” agreed with that assessment. “As one of the leaders in social media marketing software, Hootsuite allows its customers the ability to promote their brand through social channels, generate quality leads, and increase social traffic to their websites, all within one easy-to-use platform.”
“Buffer is a great tool to schedule social media posts from links you share across the web”, says Jenkins. “You can share posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.” Reviewers at Finances Online wrote of Buffer’s organized layout which makes it easy to keep your social accounts updated. It has an automated feature for timing social media posts. Its user interface has a sophisticated appearance with options available for adding social media networks — most notably Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.”
If you aren’t already following digital marketing expert Neil Patel of Quick Sprout and Sprout Social, start doing so, so you’ll never miss an opportunity to learn from him and his crack team of content developers and social media strategists. What do experts say about Sprout Social? “Sprout Social not only helps you draft, schedule, queue, and post messages in the social realm,” wrote Jennifer Gerhard in 2015, “but it also allows you to assign and manage tasks among team members and track and measure your social performance.”
A year later, in the 2016 PC Magazine review of Sprout Social, the authors wrote, “Sprout Social offers the best variety of social source monitoring, great built-in publishing and curation, and an expanding arsenal of reports across social networks, cleverly integrated with Google Analytics in a stunning interface that’s easy to learn.”
Social Media Isn’t a Cake Walk (for Most of Us!)
Perhaps the understatement of the decade about social media marketing comes from Jennifer Gerhard, when she said, “Social media can be pretty overwhelming sometimes.” This is especially true for funeral directors. How can you handle your case load, tend to the needs of grieving families, manage the day-to-day activities of a funeral home – and create content of interest to your audience and worthy of publication? Social media management tools like Hootsuite, Buffer and Sprout Social can only do so much; it’s the content you promote that works the magic.
When you realize almost everybody you want to reach is on Facebook (the platform has over 1.71 billion active users each month), and they’re very responsive to social influence (68% of people look to Facebook reviews when purchasing products), it simplifies things. All you have to do is stay focused on Facebook and add other social platforms as you go along. Read our post, Using Facebook to Reach Clients, for more on social media marketing with Facebook. You should also check our our list of Important Social Media Tips.