How Viral Content Translates Directly To Funeral SuccessDecember 3rd, 2016
In the world of internet success, there is no level higher than “going viral.” Whether it’s a blog post that’s been read by millions, a YouTube video that was shared around to everyone in your office, or even a picture on Facebook that earns hundreds of likes… going viral is the ultimate trophy when it comes to measuring how successful your online content is.
“But who cares about being popular on the internet,” you ask. Well, lots of people… and not because they look at website likes and shares as a way of bragging or as a popularity contest. Creating and sharing content that “goes viral” can actually have a profound and proven effect on your business’s success, and can drive hundreds (even thousands) of new customers to your funeral home website.
But, before we get ahead of ourselves, what exactly does it mean to “go viral” and why is it something that funeral professionals should even care about? Well, we’re glad you asked…
What is Viral Content?
When people talk about something “going viral,” they are essentially talking about a piece of content that is viewed by a lot of people in a very short amount of time. As icky as it may seem, think of how a contagious cold or virus spreads — the term “viral” actually originates from this idea.
Every person who comes in contact with a viral cold is not only exposed to it, but they also carry it on to every person they meet from that point forward. In the case of viral content on the internet, the “infection” that is spread is the experience of viewing the content and the urge to share it with everyone you know. Why does this desire happen? Typically because something you viewed or clicked on sparked a powerful emotion, like happiness, sadness, humor or the desire to take action.
Think about it — the last thing that you posted on your Facebook wall or Twitter feed wasn’t something that you didn’t care about… you only pass along the articles or images that spark something inside of you and make you want to spread it to the world. That’s how content goes viral.
But one thing that’s important to know (and it’s one of the biggest misconceptions people make about viral content) is that something doesn’t have to reach hundreds of millions of people in order for it to be considered viral. It just needs to reach a larger number of people than your typical audience size. So, if you think about it, whether or not a piece of content goes viral is all relative to the person who shares it. For example, if the pictures you post to Facebook typically get 2 or 3 likes per post, and then all of a sudden you upload a picture that gets a hundred likes, that could be considered a viral photo.
Why Should Funeral Homes Want To Go Viral?
Now, I know what you’re thinking… maybe going viral is a good strategy for traditional businesses, but I’m in the funeral profession. What about death and grief would I possibly want to go viral? Well, to answer that question, you first have to understand the benefits that come with a piece of viral content (other than all of the Facebook likes).
First, let’s imagine that you post the following photo and caption on your funeral home’s Facebook page:
Every time one of your Facebook followers shares this photo or tags a friend in the comments, not only is the photo exposed to someone new, but so is your funeral home name, your funeral home’s Facebook page, and the message about your pre-planning services. Essentially, everyone who sees this post will become aware of your business and what you offer… and this awareness stays with people long after they scroll past a photo.
For example, the next time someone thinks about pre-planning, they will recall from your post that you offer these services. Or if someone experiences a loss in their family and they’re searching for a local funeral home, they’ll recall the comfort they felt when they read the moving words that you shared. These are just a few of the ways in which there is the potential for a lifelong awareness or association to be formed every time you share a post on social media.
Next, let’s multiply that awareness by the potential reach that comes from a viral post. Even if just 25 of your Facebook followers tag one friend in this photo or share it on their own Facebook page, you’ve now doubled the exposure of this post… and then the reach extends even further when you think of all of the friends and followers who will see it appear on their own Facebook timelines. Before you know it, that one Facebook image has gotten in front of the eyes of hundreds of people… all who now have a better understanding and awareness of your funeral business. (And you didn’t even have to spend a dollar… how’s that for a great return on investment?)
Most people assume that the only types of content that go viral are pretty pictures, funny cat videos or toddlers singing along to Frozen, but that’s just not true. Educational content campaigns are actually some of the most successful out there, namely because of their ability to educate and share information with a lot of people all at once.
Just think back to all of the Ice Bucket Challenge videos you surely saw pop up on Facebook a couple of years ago. Believe it or not, this viral campaign was actually created as a way to bring awareness and education to ALS — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
But you don’t need to start dumping buckets of water on your funeral director’s heads to educate your community about the value of your funeral services. (Although, we would totally watch that!) You simply need to learn how to educate your audience in a visual, interesting or unusual way.
For example, we put together a simple, illustrated infographic that walks families through what they should do after a loved one passes away, and shared it for free with our funeralOne blog followers. This is a great resource for your funeral home to share on your own blog or Facebook page, as it will educate your audience about the valuable resources you provide, and will help people associate your funeral home with the at-need services mentioned in the infographic.
Last, but not least, one of the best things a piece of viral content can do for your business is spark conversation and open doors for better, more personal communication between your funeral home and your audience. Why is this such a benefit? Because it allows you to connect with your families on a casual, light-hearted level that you don’t often get to experience when they enter your funeral home under distressing circumstances.
One easy way to spark a conversation from your viral content is to pose a question in your post. For example, when funeralOne shared an article on Facebook that talked about our top funeral songs of all time, we asked our audience to leave comments with their own favorite funeral tunes. We received 18 comments and 42 shares, all from people wanting to take part in the conversation and make sure their opinion was heard.
Giving your audience funeral-related content to share with their own friends and family is also a great way to encourage important conversations surrounding death and funerals. After all, many people find it difficult to bring up the topic of pre-planning or what their wishes are for their own funeral with their family members. For example, you could share the 11 Modern Funeral Songs That Help To Celebrate Life article above and ask your audience to leave a comment with what song they would like played at their own funeral. This is a great door-opener for the larger conversation of pre-planning, and may even be a resource that your followers take to their own family as a way to begin the conversation about their end of life wishes.
Next Step… Going Viral!
Now that you know all about what it means to go viral and you’ve learned how viral content can bring your funeral home success, all that’s left to do is start creating content!
Lucky for you, we’ve created a six step guide to making your funeral home content ultra shareable. → How 4 Funeral Home Websites Went Viral (& You Can Too!)
Have you had success creating viral content for your funeral home? Let us know in the comments below!