At the ICCFA Wide World of Sales conference in Las Vegas, we gave our most impactful and educational presentation yet!
We focused on how funeral homes can decode the Facebook Formula to grow their fan base and succeed on Facebook.
We were floored by the response to our talk, and decided to take the unprecedented step of adapting the entire presentation’s notes as a step by step tutorial below. So click the image below to see the slides and follow along with the written notes.
We’re confident every second you spend reviewing this information and strategy will be well worth your time!
Introduction to the Facebook Formula
The last couple years, I’ve come to the ICCFA conference preaching the importance of social media as part of your overall marketing strategy.
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 works
- how to maximize the impact
So in this presentation, you’re going to learn following:
- How Facebook determines who sees your posts
- How you can use that knowledge to get more people to see your content
- I’ll show you real world case studies of how your peers (some in this room) are succeeding on Facebook
- I’ll reveal a 7-step strategy for taking your Page from nothing to active, effective marketing channel
- I’ll show you how to measure your results and see if it’s all working
- I’ll reveal a HUGE new Facebook feature, revealed just this week, that will affect the future of your business
Importance of Facebook for Funeral Homes
Why is it so important that you are reading this material right now?
- Because consumer behavior is evolving & evolving quickly!
- Growth in your marketing is going to be online & in social media
- If you don’t go where your customers are, you risk falling behind those who do
In this presentation, we focus on Facebook as a marketing channel. But why should you focus on Facebook over everything out there? It’s simple: Facebook now has over 1 billion active users.
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 fans. It’s also about the friends and family of your fans.
Because even if you’re reaching a 25 year old just out of college, you are then exposing your message to her parents… or even her grandparents. If you’re sharing pre-planning education, wouldn’t you agree that those are important people to reach!?
Facebook for Funeral Homes 101
Before discussing strategy, let’s make sure you fully understand how Facebook Pages work.
Here’s one of our partners’ Facebook pages. When you look at it, what really stands out? It’s the big, beautiful cover photo – first thing your fans see, and often what they remember. Beneath that is the app listing, followed by the timeline of content and milestones.
You next want to set up admin roles if you will have multiple staff contribute to your page. That’s because you don’t want situation where a laid off or disgruntled employee from deleting page in retribution (trust me: we have seen this happen).
Once the page is created, how do people become fans? They can click “like” on the page itself, or you can even add the like button to your website.
Once someone is a fan, that’s when the magic happens! Because everything you post on your page is pushed to them. They see it in their news feed when they log in to FB. This builds an interactive & ongoing channel to your customers!
Introduction to Facebook EdgeRank
Now that you understand the basics of Facebook Pages, let’s start uncovering the mysteries.
Have you 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 = EdgeRank. That’s Facebook’s formula for determining who sees what, and how high in the newsfeed a post is shown. By 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 decay – I’ll explain each of them now.
1. Affinity – a measure of each fans’ interaction with your page
ex, suppose you have 2 fans: Bubbles & Giggles. Giggles interacts more with your content, by liking & commenting on your posts. What that does is increases affinity between your brand and Giggles and due to EdgeRank, Giggles is more likely to see your future posts than will Bubbles.
In 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? Craft your posts to be more engaging. For example, short posts get more engagement than longer ones, and photos/videos/questions get more engagement than simple statuses. Photo albums get the most engagement overall!
2. Weight – measure of how much effort involved in the engagement
Not all actions your fans take are created equal. If 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 page.
As a result of the example above, 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.
To increase the weight of your interactions, find balance in what you post. If you vary the content, you’ll vary the engagement.
To do so, you can practice the Rule of Thirds.
- 1/3 content should be related to your business: talk about your company, your services, your staff, your history, etc.
- 1/3 should be about your industry: grief tips, funeral resources, pre-planning education
- 1/3 should be you directly engaging your fans; talk to them, ask them questions, try adding polls
3. Time Decay – the freshness factor
The 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
Funeral Industry Case Studies
Let’s look at some real life examples of how your funeral industry peers are succeeding on Facebook, and what can you learn from them. Pay closest attention to how their techniques are maximizing those 3 EdgeRank factors.
They play a clever game: their fans try to guess the name the famous person who passed away on that day, based on clues they post to their page. Their fans submit guesses in the comments.
How does this increase their EdgeRank? They get high weight interactions through comments, and because they post often, there is always fresh content appearing in their fans’ feeds.
Last year they had a tragic fire. As they rebuild from this fire, they are involving their fans by posting images and updates on their Facebook Page showing their progress.
What makes these posts so effective? In addition to providing a human element to their brand, they are building affinity through engagement.
Peaceful Paws Pet Cremation post their Peaceful Paws Tour on their Facebook Page, which showcases different parts of their facilities and grounds. This increase their affinity and shows up their beautiful facilities.
This page provides a great example of speaking directly to fans. They post lots of questions directly to their fans, and as a result, they get increased weight of interactions.
Here they post obituaries in their community. But what makes this so clever? They post not just his own obituaries, but his competitors, essentially monopolizing the obituary market in Maquoketa!
Now that you understand FB Pages and EdgeRank, and you’ve got some ideas from your peers, let’s pull it together into an advanced end-to-end strategy, to take your FB Page from zero to hero.
1. Create Page & cover photo
The cover photo is an important first impression. If you’re not artistically inclined, use free a free tool such as this one from Pagemodo.
2. Invite all your friends and family
Can’t emphasize importance of this enough! So many funeral homes skip this step and wonder why they can’t grow their page. You need a base of fans to start engaging community & grow virally. Best way to get base is through family & friends. You can do this from your Facebook Page by clicking “Build Audience” and inviting them via email, Facebook or by sharing your page to your profile.
3. Post engaging content
You need to organically increase affinity & get viral growth. Engaging content will do this. Include content such as photo boards, inspirational quotes, pics of your facilities and grounds, events your funeral home is holding, etc.
We can help you post engaging content with our Facebook Copilot.
4. Ads & sponsored posts
You can run Facebook Ads and sponsored stories to help grow your fan base.
5. Pre-planning content and marketing messages
Advice: keep in mind that people come to Facebook to be entertained and engaged, not to be sold to. So the most effective way of promoting your pre-planning is to keep it interesting by posting education, case studies, testimonials and stories.
Also, be sure to make it easy to get started. We have a preplanning app embedded right within the Facebook Page!
6. Measure Your Results
Facebook Insights shows you what works and what doesn’t. That way you can do more of what works and less of the rest.
With Insights, you can see how each post performs and what works for your audience, because every fan base is different.
You can also measure your results using our Facebook Power Rankings, which is a free tool that we developed at Funeral Innovations. The Power Rankings analyze your effectiveness and show you how your page compares against others in the industry. Best of all, it’s free and takes under 10 seconds to run!
7. Repeat continually
An effective strategy requires patience because the process is ongoing. You need to keep engaging, using ads to enhance your reach, continue your marketing & constantlyl analyze your results. Each time, you refine the process and get a little bit better, as your Facebook Page grows large and larger.
If you stay patient and refine your strategy, your effort will pay dividends now by helping your firm grow, while positioning you to win for years into future!
If you found this information useful, be sure to follow our Funeral Innovations Facebook Page for more!
If you want to engage your Facebook fans effectively and easily, our Facebook Copilot can help!
Finally, if you have any questions, comments or want to chat more, please contact us.