How O’Connor Mortuary Reinvented Their Business With Social MediaJune 5th, 2014
Is your company accurately represented on social media? Are you aware that Internet users evaluate your online presence and determine your relevancy and value based on the impression or “social proof” that sites like Facebook give?
Well, they do, and here’s the story of how our mortuary, O’Connor Mortuary, went from not knowing anything about social media to owning it AND reaping the rewards.
I got my start in the mortuary business as a part-time receptionist taking first calls and a couple odd hours processing paperwork during the week. After a year, the idea of answering the phones just to hear so many sad and hurting voices was too much. So, I cut my work down to just the odd hours filing paperwork.
Then the blog happened…
Our CEO, Neil O’Connor had a vision for an online presence that, at this point, was little more than 250 Facebook “likes” and a poorly tended blog with a mere 25 subscribers.
As the blog team took off and began to penetrate the deep abyss of the Internet with its mortuary light, I realized that I could make some changes to our online presence. I was already on Facebook and countless other social media sites, so why not manage the mortuary sites, too? Next thing I knew I was the blog editor and manager and a few months later, was named the “Social Media Expert” on our team.
Since the blog was launched two years ago, we have grown our readership to over 200 subscribers and a weekly reach that goes far beyond that. And recently, our Facebook page just hit the 2,000 “likes” mark (and these are ALL organic likes, not paid ones). For me, this was REAL social proof that we are making an impression and it’s amazing to be able to gauge our influence based off of something like a Facebook page.
So how did we transform our funeral home by using social media? It all started with focusing our time on the right websites. With that being said, here are some of the important social media sites O’Connor Mortuary uses in our social media strategy,and why I spend time on them.
#1 – Yelp
So many people use Yelp, and I know it might sound odd to focus on your mortuary’s Yelp page, but think about it. Most families don’t know how to find a reputable mortuary, so they’ll usually do a Google or Yelp search because it’s where they turn to find just about every other reputable product or service under the sun. When potential families search for funeral homes in our area, they’ll see that we have a 5-star rating and over 45 online reviews on Yelp alone.
Do you think they’ll consider our competitors who all have less than 5 stars and just a few mixed reviews? My guess is no. We recently had a family walk in and the first words out of their mouths were, “no wonder you had all 5-star reviews” and it felt truly amazing. It’s difficult to get people to walk into a mortuary, but when your review sites are full of bright, beautiful pictures, a great video, and lots of pleased families, I think they feel that they can trust you.
#2 – Google+
I know it’s not as huge as Facebook, but Google+ is a great social network because it features a section where families can leave business reviews as well. Being such a powerful search engine, we always make sure that our Google+ page is up-to-date, info rich and regularly posted to.
#3 – Pinterest
OK, this one is a little more self-indulgent than the rest, but I really do think Pinterest is and can be important to your funeral business. Pinterest is an amazing collection of quotes, images, blogs, and web content from every corner. I have an account for the mortuary and regularly go on and find mortuary or grief-relevant pins that I add to my boards and keep in mind for posts to my social media pages. It’s one of the best resources there is for content and it’s seriously addicting.
Finding the time to be social
Those are just a few of the social media sites that we have a presence on, but it doesn’t stop there. We’re also on Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Twitter. We invest the time into these social media sites because they’ve been proven to work for us. Now I know what you’re thinking – how do I maintain or post frequently enough to all of these sites? Well my friends, that’s where a little gem-of-a-website called HootSuite comes in.
This free site allows you to write up a post for social media and with the click of a button have it published to as many as 5 different social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. It’s awesome and it saves me so much time, which in funeral service, you know is the most valuable thing there is.\
Getting started with social media
There are so many social media sites that it can feel overwhelming at times. My advice: focus on two and see how it goes. Ask people to like or follow you – put social media icons on your marketing materials, or hold a raffle at an event where people can enter to win by signing up to follow your blog.
Most importantly, make this fun. Social Media is NOT a place to be sad or depressing all the time. Yes, we have a unique voice and opportunity to speak to grieving people and that needs to be a big focus. But, it’s also ok to make people laugh, to post inspiring quotes, and to share mortuary humor. After all, they are following you so they have to expect some.
I hope that this post inspires you to re-evaluate your view of social media or maybe just helps you improve on your already successful efforts. We need to wipe out the old stereotypes and be progressive, relevant and understanding of the world we live in and the people walking through our doors.
Is your funeral home using social media? Share your pages with me in the comments below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hello! I’m Molly and I run & manage the blog at O’Connor Mortuary. We have an awesome team of creative writers that I get to work with every week & be inspired by – my job is a blessing. I have a Master’s Degree in English from CSULB & have worked at the Mortuary for 3 years now. I started out as the weekend receptionist & never thought my degree would come into use here. I am happily wrong! O’Connor has brought together 2 of my deep passions, writing & grief ministry, and I am so grateful to be working somewhere where I feel value in what I do. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog and invite you to get involved by sending feedback, topic ideas, or guest blogger proposals to me here: firstname.lastname@example.org