The Facebook Formula for Funeral Homes and Cemeteries - ICCFA University


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Learn how your funeral home or cemetery can go viral using Facebook!

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  • While this industry is notoriously slow to change, the good news is that I've seen a shift in thinking, as many of you have recognized the impact of social media, and have started embracing it in your business.But, there's still a lot of mystery about Facebook. Most of you see the value, but you're still not sure:How it all worksHow to maximize its impactSo I'm going to expose the secrets of Facebook.
  • Live in beautiful Boulder, CO, in the foothills of the rockies. Want to give a quick background of how I went from being simply a tech geek within big tech company to still being a tech geek, but running my own company in the funeral industry?
  • How did a Midwesterner like myself up creating software for the funeral & pet loss industries?Let me tell you a story… U of MN – CS + MathInternship at MSIImmediately at IBMIBM ResearchRose quickly100+ patents & Master Inventor
  • Facebook caught my eye & inspired me,I wanted to do something bigger & more importantI wanted to change an industry
  • So I left IBM to start my own company, Funeral Innovations, with my co-founder and fellow IBMer, Greg YoungFocus on web-based solutions to help progressive funeral homes grow online
  • We've just released a really amazing new line products, called the FI Copilotssoftware that acts just like a Copilot on a plane, because it helps automate and run your funeral business, including:FB presenceEmail marketingMonument businessReputation
  • Why is it so important that you are in this session right now?Because consumer behavior is evolving & evolving quicklyGrowth in your marketing is going to be online & in social mediaIf you don't go where your customers are, you risk falling behind those who doBut why should you focus on Facebook over everything out there?
  • It's simple: Facebook now has over 1 billion active users. That's billion with a "B”That's 100 million more users than when I stood on this stage last yearEach one of those people is a potential opportunity for you to grow your business
  • And while you may only hope to get a small fraction of those users as fans of your Page, It's not just about reaching those who are direct fansIt's also about the friends and family of your fansBecause even if you're reaching a 25 yo just out of college, you are then exposing your message to her parents… or even grandparentsIf you're sharing pre-planning education, wouldn't you agree that those are important people to reach!?
  • New feature currently being releasedGraph SearchLike a social version of Google or YelpExamples:Funeral homes that people in Madison WI likeFuneral homes that my friends likeIf you’ve built up your fan base and engage people in your community, guess who will show up on top of those queries?This will provide a huge advantage to funeral homes who take my advice, build their fan base and engage their fans
  • Before talking strategy, let's make sure you fully understand how Facebook Pages work
  • Here's one of our customers' FB pagesWhen you look at this, what really stands out?Big, beautiful cover photo - first thing they see, and often what they rememberBelow that is the App listingThen the Timeline of content & milestones
  • Set up rolesGood if having multiple staff contributeDon't want situation where a laid off or disgruntled employee from deleting page in retribution (trust me: we have seen this happen)
  • How to become a fan?* One way = Click “like” on page
  • Add like button to websiteBecome a fan w/o leaving pageTake it a step further by adding a Fan Box.Why do you suppose this is so important?Because it provides social validation. Subconscious tells them: If those people like the page, it must be pretty good!
  • Once a fan, that's when the magic happenseverything you post on your page is pushed to themThey see it in their news feed when they log in to FBThis builds an interactive & ongoing channel to your customersYou can reach them at-will, anytime you want, even multiple times per day
  • Ever noticed when you visit FB, you see the posts of some people and brands more often than others?And did you know that when you post something to Facebook Page, if you have 1000 fans, only a fraction of them will see it?Why is that?
  • Answer = EdgeRankFacebook's formula for determining who sees what, and how high in the newsfeed a post is shownBy understanding this formula, you can gain an advantage, and ensure more people see each of your posts!EdgeRank is comprised of 3 main factors: affinity, weight, and time decayI'll explain each of them nowAnd give you tips to improve each factor and maximize your EdgeRank
  • Affinity - a measure of each fans' interaction with your pageex, 2 fans: bubbles & gigglesgiggles interacts more with your content, by liking & commenting on your postswhat that does is increases affinity between your brand and Giggles and due to edge rank, Giggles is more likely to see your future posts than will BubblessIn other words, the more a fan interacts with your content, the more likely it is they'll see your future posts
  • How do you use that information?Advice: Tips to craft more engaging posts
  • Weight - measure of how much effort involved in the engagementNot all actions your fans take are created equalIf bubbles comments or re-shares a post from your page, that carries more weight than a simple "like"Let me repeat: actions by your fans that take more effort are more valuable to your pageAs a result, Bubbles will see more of your stuff in the future, and it'll give that post a bump up in the rankings for all your other fans
  • Advice: Balance!
  • Rule of Thirds1/3 content should be related to your business1/3 should be about your industry: grief tips, funeral resources, pre-planning educationfinal 1/3 should be you directly engaging your fans; talk to them, ask them questions, try adding polls
  • Time Decay - the freshness factorThe older a post is, the less likely to be seen, or will be shown lower in the feed
  • Advice: Post frequently. because of the Time Decay, you need to post often to make you have fresh content that will show up high in the feed
  • Now you’ve learned how FB ranks the posts in people’s feed.As a funeral home, when you brainstorm the types of content you post, you should consider what your goals are and how Facebook posts can help achieve them.Let’s talk about a few primary goals
  • If you’re in a new city and want coffee, what’s the first coffee shop that comes to mind?Great thing about Facebook is to build towards the same brand recognition. When someone has a need for a funeral home, you want them to think of you FIRSTAny type of content that paints you in a positive, informing, comforting light:Repetition and consistencyMotivational QuotesGrief tipsPhoto boardsFuneral related news
  • Facebook offers a great platform to inform and educate your community, which is often one of the biggest challenges when marketing a FHPre-planning education Grief tips and lessons for managing grief- Day in the Life style blog posts
  • One of the big benefits of Facebook is it allows you a way to reach targeted people within your community. Social media itself is great for creating a community and feeling part of one. Funeral homes are a natural community hub. They’ve been around a long time usually, are trusted to help and heal, and are pillars in their community.How can you create posts to turn your funeral home into an online pillar of your community? Events you’re holding Local News Cross promoting local businessesReshare posts from community business pages
  • Online, your reputation is reality! How many of you read reviews of products and services online before deciding? Almost everyone does this! Social validation among peers is a hugely important criteria when choosing a business. Show your community how trusted and valued you are, and you’ll get new business as a result! Post testimonials Post 5 star reviews! Let people know when good things are said about you!
  • Soft sellStart with education and awarenessDrip marketing – lots of opportunities for your message. Don’t jump the gun!
  • Be different! Have a voice and brand “opinion”. Maybe even a little quirky! Keep people guessing. Creative, positive messages- Being active on Facebook at all helps you stand out as a FH, especially among younger demographic!
  • Let's look at some real life examples of how your peers are succeeding on FB, and what can you learn from them. Pay closest attention to how their techniques are maximizing those 3 EdgeRank factors.
  • Toland-Herzig Funeral Homes & CrematoryClever game: guess the name the famous person who passed away on that day, based on cluesTheir fans submit guesses in the comments.How does this increase their EdgeRank?Higher Weight due to the commentsBecause they post daily or more, there is always fresh content appearing in their fans' feeds
  • Williams Funeral Home – run by Lauren Blevins & amazingly successfulLast year tragic fireAs they rebuild from this fire, they are involving their fans by posting imagesWhat makes these posts so effective?In addition to providing a human element to their brandBuilding High affinity - look at all the interactions!Remember how photo albums got the best engagement? Here is proof!
  • Krause– uses our social media Copilot to post quotes, articles and photo boards.Tons of engagement, which increases reach dramaticallyA lot of re-shares – high weight, and exposes it virally not just to their fans, but to their fans’ network as well
  • Horan & McConatyExample of speaking directly to fansIncrease weight of interactions
  • Maquoketa Area Obituaries - run by Don Carson of Carson & Son Funeral HomesSeparate from their funeral home's pagePost obituaries in their communityWorks best in small townsBut what makes this so clever?Post not just his own obituaries, but his competitors!Essentially monopolizing the obituary market. Why follow his competitors' Facebook Page for obituary notifications, if you get them ALL right here!That way, he controls the information and has access to all the fans in the community - well over 1,000 fans in a very small town
  • InsightsSee what works/doesn't. Do more of what works and less of the restSee how each post performs and what works for your audience, because every fan base is different
  • Power RankingsFree tool for analyzing your effectiveness and see how your page compares against others in the industryTakes under 10 secondsUpdated monthly, so you can see how you perform over time
  • Ads & sponsored posts to grow further2 Kinds of ads: traditional sidebar ad units and sponsored storiesMost effective ad for growth is sponsored story, by farShows to friends/family of your fansWe've optimized these to as low as $0.40/new fan
  • InsightsSee what works/doesn't. Do more of what works and less of the restSee how each post performs and what works for your audience, because every fan base is different
  • If you want to chat more offline, contact at: zack@funeralinnovations.comGet all the notes and more tips on our FB PageLearn about our social media software at:
  • The Facebook Formula for Funeral Homes and Cemeteries - ICCFA University

    1. 1. The Facebook Formula Secrets for taking your funeral business viral on Facebook Zachary Garbow Co-founder, Funeral Innovations
    2. 2. ~ Baby ~ About Facebook ~ Goals on Facebook ~ Getting engagement ~ Analytics & Rankings ~ Ads ~ Workshop ~ Free tool for success! ~ Questions Lesson Plan
    3. 3. Boulder, CO
    4. 4. 100+ United States Patents
    5. 5. Web Solutions to Grow Your Funeral Home
    6. 6. new! FI Copilots 1. Social Media Copilot 2. Reputation Copilot 3. Monuments Copilot
    7. 7. Evolve Your Marketing
    8. 8. 600 million 700 million 900 million 1 Billion
    9. 9. Viral sales & education
    10. 10. Getting Comfortable with Facebook Pages
    11. 11. Admin Roles
    12. 12. Becoming a Fan (from Facebook)
    13. 13. Viral Distribution
    14. 14. Answer =EdgeRank
    15. 15. 1. EdgeRank - Affinity
    16. 16. Enhance Your Engagement
    17. 17. 2. EdgeRank - Weight
    18. 18. Find Balance
    19. 19. Your Business Your Industry Your Fans Rule of Thirds
    20. 20. 3. EdgeRank – Time Decay Time RecencyScore
    21. 21. Post Often
    22. 22. Your Content Goals
    23. 23. Brand Awareness
    24. 24. Education Education
    25. 25. Community Outreach
    26. 26. Reputation Management
    27. 27. Lead Generation
    28. 28. Market Differentiation
    29. 29. Funeral Facebook Case Studies
    30. 30. Responding to Negative Feedback 1. Act Fast 2. Apologize 3. Don’t Delete 4. Take it Private 5. Be Appreciative
    31. 31. Analyze Your Results
    32. 32. Facebook Insights
    33. 33. Facebook Power Rankings FREE!
    34. 34. Sponsored Stories & Ads
    35. 35. Content Workshop
    36. 36. Social Elite Study Group
    37. 37. 1.Why Facebook? 2.How Facebook Pages Work 3.EdgeRank Formula 4.Maximize EdgeRank 5.New Graph Search 6.Negative Feedback 7.Analytics 8.Finding Great Content
    38. 38. Questions & Answers