Archive for the ‘Social Media Marketing’ Category

Getting Through the Holidays

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

The holiday season is a warmly anticipated time for many of us, but after a profound loss, it can be extremely difficult. We asked members of our Facebook page (facebook.com/mygriefsupport) “How hard are the upcoming holidays on you? Do you do anything in memory of your lost loved one?”

Susannah started a new tradition. “We hang a new, special ornament, on our tree for our daughter,” she said. “This will be our fourth Christmas without her. The first year was unbearable, but each year got a bit softer.”

Debbie recalled that first tough year. “I had decided not to put up a tree for the first time in my life the first Christmas after losing my daughter and grandson six years ago,” she said. “But I was in the parking lot of a shopping center, and they were giving away free trees. My friend encouraged me to take one, and I did. It was the best thing I could have done because my home looked like it had always done during the season. I realized, too, how important it was for my surviving child, my son, who was also grieving and suffering deeply, to be able to feel that we were going to continue our family traditions. We have lovely ornaments dedicated to them, and I always take out the cards I received from them throughout the years, which makes me feel they are still connecting. The season will never be the same without them, but we are now able to enjoy and create new memories, especially with my two-year-old granddaughter, who is a precious gift to us all.”

Rachel said, “[M]y son’s death day is right around Thanksgiving (next year it will fall on Thanksgiving Day), and his birthday is two days after Christmas. His dad, sister and I always have a place at the holiday tables for him, and we always will remember him.”

Other suggestions for surviving the holidays include volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, traveling, and adopting new traditions. Would you like to add your own thoughts or reflections into this conversation? If so, please visit our Grieving.com forums and Facebook.com/mygriefsupport.

Content – Treat It Like Royalty

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Yawn—content is so boring, right? Why should we care about content? Throw a few words up on the page, call it good, and move on. Hold on! Not so fast. Content is the star player in any online marketing program. Key functions of content are:

  1. Search Engine Optimization Placement: Content plays a major role in how/where your website is placed on Google. In February 2011, Google made a change to its algorithm, emphasizing high-quality content as a key search engine optimization requirement. This change was called Panda. Bottom line—template content is out and original content http://www.beyondfunerals.com/blog/2012/10/content-–-trea…t-like-royaltyis now “in.”
  2. Education: As consumers, we know about cars, food products, cleaning products, and beer because of the amount of advertising we have seen on these subjects. However, we know minuscule amounts of information about funeral homes and their services and why we should pay for it. We just know as a family member that we “sorta need it.” The job of content is to educate people about what the service is, the benefits of the services, and, frankly, why people should pay to have that service conducted.
  3. Engagement: If the content on your Internet marketing platforms is stale, boring, flat, and so on, then why should the consumer read it? The content needs to be written correctly in the proper style for the platform (website, Facebook, blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, eNewsletter, YouTube, newsletters, and so on) where it is placed, and it needs to ENGAGE the reader. If the content is not compelling, why should the consumer read it and, more importantly, why should they come back?

Placement for Engagement

Multiple times I have been asked: “Can I write the content once and copy and paste it across all my platforms?” No. Resist this urge to write material once, check the box, and just plaster it out there willy-nilly. You will lose your audience. Each platform has its own style and guidelines for the way content should be displayed, the length, and the tone of how it is delivered. Sure, the message across all the platforms can and should be the same, but the exact content in each place needs to be avoided. General guidelines are as follows:

  1. Online Review Areas: Everywhere people can leave you reviews online must be managed and monitored. The content on these pages needs to be accurate and updated on a regular basis. Once a review is left, then a thank you note needs to be given for positive reviews and an educational note placed for a crabby review. Each thank you/educational note needs to be unique to the post and should not be a standard reply.
  2. Website: Most funeral directors websites I see fall down on the job when explaining the services they offer and why people should use them. Website content needs to be 400 to 500 words per page, needs to educate the family member on what the facility does and why they provide those services, and it needs to be optimized (coded) to be found in Google. The content style needs to be informative and educational in nature. Because protocols do not change every week in the funeral home, do not expect to change content about what services you provide on a constant basis. Instead, a blog should be used for weekly educational updates. 
  3. Blog: Confusion reigns over what in the heck a blog is. Think of it as an online magazine that is educational in nature. Resist putting cute updates about the office pet on a blog (those type of updates go on Facebook/social media). Focus on short paragraphs, bullet points, and easy to understand educational topics that are timely. For example, during the holidays would be a post about reaching out to loved ones especially the elderly.
  4. Social Media Platforms: A good framework for the tone and style of social media is a coffee shop. Conversations on social media areas are fun, chit chatty, ongoing conversations with a hint of education thrown in for flavor. Numerous times I have heard funeral directors say they wrote a beautiful article that is educational in nature and are disappointment nobody thought it was useful on Facebook. However, the picture of the office cat doing something cute went viral. The educational piece is great but needs to be placed on a blog. Correct placement is everything with content.

Monitor Its Success

Marketing needs to be monitored to make sure it is generating the results that are desired. Are people engaging with the content? Are they reading it? Is the post/page/tweet being passed to other people? To find out, monitor the statistics. Each platform mentioned above has its own statistics program that is included or can be added to determine the success of the created content. Monitoring, adjusting, and changing the content based on results is an ongoing process—but a necessary one.

“Old” People Aren’t on the Internet, Are They?

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

How often have you heard or thought “old” people are not on the Internet? “Old” for this conversation is being defined as someone over the age of 40. Of course “old people” are still using the Yellow Pages, right? Therefore, you don’t need to be marketing on the Internet because your clients don’t use it. However, in reality, people of all ages are on the Internet. Consider these statistics:

  • G.I. Generation (Age74+) — 30% are online
  • Silent Generation (Ages 65–73) — 58% are online
  • Older Boomers (Ages 56–64) — 75% are online
  • Younger Boomers (Ages 46–55) — 81% are online
  • Gen X (Ages 34–45) — 86% are online
  • Millennials (Ages 18–33) — 95% are online

Source: (http://www.sitejabber.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/sjgen.png)

Instead of asking if “old” people are on the Internet, the appropriate question to ask would be: What device and what platform are they using to access the Internet? “Device” can be defined as how one accesses the Internet. This could be through a standalone computer, a laptop, a tablet/device, or a smart phone. Once a person has a device, they have multiple choices, or platforms, of where to search for their information. Think of a Google search, online review sites, websites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, eNewsletter, blogs, and so on as various platforms. As a searcher, a person has the luxury of selecting a platform of choice to do all his or her searching. However, a business needs to be found on most, if not all, of the platforms because this is where people are looking for your services.

Another way to look at it is your business needs to be found where people are searching. Your business information needs to be educational in nature and your website needs to be built so it can be viewed on the most popular devices and seen on the current platforms. Questions to ask when reviewing how your business is viewed on devices and platforms are:

Device Check:

  1. Pick up a mobile phone. Do a search for your website. Can it be seen easily or do you have to scroll left and right or top to bottom to find the information you are seeking? Your website needs to be mobile friendly — meaning it can be viewed on a mobile device.
  2. Hold an iPad. Can you see your website on an iPad or are parts of it missing? An iPad/iPhone does not support Flash. Many people are surprised to find out what is missing on their websites when they are viewed on an iPad.

Platform Check:

  1. When doing a search on Google for veterinarians in your city and state (for example, Maple Grove MN veterinarians), is your website found on the first page? If it is, is there a link to your website or does it go to maps.google.com? If maps.google.com is listed instead of your website, how do people then get to your website? What is your score? Is it less then 25? Be aware that Google just changed, and your score is going to determine whether people will click on your Google listing to view your website.
  2. Check your website on IE 7 and above, Safari, and Firefox to see if your website can be viewed and looks the same on every platform. Many times, I have seen beautiful websites built to only one type of browser that look like a train wreck in a different browser.
  3. If you have a Facebook business page, do not count on it being found in the Facebook search, which is rather dismal. Instead, is there a way to go to your Facebook page from ANY page on your website?
  4. If a searcher were looking for your business on YouTube (second largest search engine), Twitter, Pinterest, a blog, or an eNewsletter, would you be found?

Why is this important? Because older people ARE on the Internet — but they just might use it differently than you. My 90-year-old grandmother is on the Internet, but she just chooses to use a standalone computer, and her platform of choice is email. Whereas, my 71-year-old mother uses multiple devices (standalone, laptop, iPad, and iPhone) depending on where she is and what she wants to search. Many of us are this way. We search where we want to search on the platform and device of our choice. So instead of asking the AGE of your audience, ask about what device they are using and where (platform) they are looking when searching for your business or services. Because if you don’t know where people are looking for your business or how, you are literally barking up the wrong tree.

Facebook Timeline for Business Pages: What does it mean for your brand?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Facebook is making a major change to brand pages with the introduction of Timeline for Pages. The new layout is available immediately to all businesses with Pages on Facebook, but there is no need to rush in just yet. You have some time to preview and make edits to your Timeline to make sure you get it looking just right before you publish. Then on March 30, all brand pages will automatically be published as Timelines.

On its surface, Timeline is a new, more image-centered look. But one of the best features is that it allows you to backfill your Timeline with earlier events, so you can easily tell the story of your business online. It’s like a virtual online scrapbook for your business.

Five changes to look for:

  1. Your page will look very different. Your cover image will be front and center, like a billboard for your business. It’s a great place for promotions, or to tie in your website. If you don’t add one, you’ll just have a blank space, so take advantage of this new opportunity.
  2. Profile pictures dimensions will change to be smaller and perfectly square. Make sure yours looks great.
  3. You can “pin” a post to the top of the timeline which allows you to highlight a special event, a coupon or a contest.
  4. Custom landing pages will disappear and everyone will be directed to your wall. This may change the way you market your page.
  5. Your fans can contact you directly. Now people can contact you privately using messages rather than having to post on your wall. Notifications about new messages will appear right in your admin panel.

Join Beyond Indigo’s Social Media Specialist, Melanie Burger, for our customer-only webinar on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. You will learn the ins and outs of the new Timeline layout including all of these new features and many more. The transition to Timeline doesn’t have to be painful. Let us help you through it.

No time for your Timeline?

Let us do the work for you! For only $299, we’ll make sure your Timeline looks great. We’ll adjust your logos, create a great cover photo and make sure all of your tabs and custom features are in place for the switch. Already a customer? Bonus! We’ll do yours for $199. Contact Melissa Neff at melissa@beyondindigo.com or 877-244-9322 x 100 for more information.

Five ways to engage your clients through Social Media

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

If you’re thinking about using social media networks like Facebook or Twitter to reach our to your clients, but haven’t known where to start, here are 5 easy ways to start building your presence:

  1. Decide to start

    For your social media efforts to have a real impact on your business, you need to be committed to them. Simply setting up a Facebook page and then forgetting about it will not help you to develop a better relationship with your clients. You need to commit to being present and engaging with your followers. This is what will keep them coming back, and telling their friends.

  2. Build your network with people you already know first

    It can be daunting to think about how to gain new “likes” on a page that currently doesn’t have any. The best way to start is by reaching out to people you already know. If you have past clients or colleagues who you know are on Facebook, send them an invitation to like your page.If you can’t find anyone online, ask them in person. Marketing your Facebook page outside of Facebook is a great way to get people interested. It’s okay to promote yourself!

  3. Be real

    Don’t be afraid to let your Facebook page have a personality. Talk to your followers the way you would talk to your friends (while still keeping it professional, obviously).  People follow brands on Facebook because they want to interact with the people behind the brand. They want to make a connection with you. If you make your page too sterile, they’ll stop coming back. Answer client questions, share pictures and videos, give advice, inform clients of local events. But most important, don’t be afraid to be yourself!

  4. Recognize and reward

    People love recognition. When your followers start participating on your wall, be sure to reward them for their activity. It can be as simple as replying to a post, or you can take it as far as offering them a gift certificate to a local business to thank them for their activity, depending on the level of participation involved.

  5. Monitor

    Facebook offers “Insights” to help you keep an eye on how your page is growing. You should be monitoring this once a week or so to get information such as the average age of your followers, the ratio of men to woman, and, most importantly, the reach and virality of your page posts. This metric will help you understand which of your posts are the most popular with your followers, so you can adjust future posting habits to include more of that post type.

These are the basics for building a solid social media foundation on Facebook. Keep in mind, there are other social media channels to explore, such as YouTube, Twitter, and Google+. While you don’t need to be on all of these networks all the time, it’s important to know that they exist, and do provide additional opportunities for you to reach people.

If you’d like help in setting up or managing your Social Media presence, please contact Melissa Neff at 877-244-9322 ext 100 or melissa@beyondindigo.com.

Funeral Directors vs. Grievers: How each views the world

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Older couple with laptopAfter speaking to hundreds of funeral directors in 2011, our Founder/CEO Kelly Baltzell, MA pinpointed several differences between funeral professionals and members of grieving families.

Funeral directors tend to be check-the-box, face-to-face people. They like to cross out items on checklists and be “done.” Even though they may have a website, they don’t take it one step deeper to see who’s visiting it or what kind of results they’re getting. Many funeral home owners also still advertise in the Yellow Pages, even though only 5-10% of them actually use the Yellow Pages to find information.

Grieving individuals, on the other hand, seek online obituaries/memorials, grief support information, and message boards. They have smart phones, make constant online searches, and use social media. Sites like our very own Grieving.com and Facebook.com/mygriefsupport bring them a significant amount of comfort and healing.

Many funeral professionals think that their clients aren’t online and that people over the age of 40 don’t use the Internet. They also use social media sparingly and haven’t warmed up to the concept of Facebook. This data sheet from the Pew Research Center shows for certain that people of all ages use the Internet.

Families and grieving individuals love Facebook because they find great healing from connecting with family members, friends, coworkers, and businesses.

Funeral professionals must make the most of their online presences if they want to form meaningful connections with families. What does your Internet presence say about your business? Time to find out and take action in 2012. Contact Kelly at 877-244-9322, ext. 1 or kelly@beyondindigo.com for a free consultation.

Connect With Us

Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/beyondindigofunerals and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/beyondfunerals.

3 Simple Rules for Internet Marketing

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

The old saying goes that if you build it, they will come. We’ve found that saying doesn’t apply to online marketing. When it comes to the Internet, not only do you have to build it, you have to be sure it is built correctly. What’s more, you have to market it!

Here are a few simple rules that will help you on your way to online marketing success:

1. Content is King.

This phrase has been said so often that it’s become cliché, but that’s only because it’s so true! Just like you can count on your dog to actually sniff that fire hydrant, you can count on users to visit websites that have good and interesting content. Nowadays we are swimming in data; the key is to make sure the data your offering to your users is more interesting and compelling than that of your competitors. This is what will keep them coming back.

2. Consistency = Comfort.

We already know that your content needs to be compelling. Another key in online marketing is making sure your content is consistent. Think of McDonald’s. Whether or not you eat there, you know exactly what they offer and what you can expect from them as a brand. This is the type of consistency we as consumers have been trained to respond to. We trust brands that offer us consistency, and we’re more likely to buy from the brands that we trust.

3. Multiple Platforms Reach Multiple People.

Your clients are spending their time in a lot of different places these days, so it no longer makes sense to place a yellow page ad and think that they’ll come to find you. You need to go and find them in the places where they already are, namely: Facebook. We know it can be a little daunting if you’re not familiar with social media, but when you consider that 93% of adult Americans are on Facebook, it becomes a no-brainer. Your customers are there, and they expect you to be too. Don’t let fear of the unknown prevent your business from reaching potential new clients.

We are here to help you succeed! Call our Sales and Marketing Manager, Melissa Neff at 877.244.9322 x100, or send her an email.