If you are a funeral home and do not have a Twitter presence, you could be missing out on the best, free, broadcast media ever. That might sound like a bunch of hype but for the little effort and no expense to use it, don’t over look it.
The three main reasons why I love Twitter is that it is: Direct, Instant and Uncensored. Direct in that you can connect with people directly. Instant in that information is shared in real time – no time delays. Uncensored in that messages aren’t filtered or edited, just raw information from the horse’s mouth.
Note: Although I recommend that every funeral home should have a Twitter presence, it is not a “game changer” or “drop everything and jump on the bandwagon” strategy. Having a good, easy to edit, website is paramount, followed by a LinkedIn profile next, and then a Facebook profile (personal) followed by a Facebook page – then comes Twitter.
How can Twitter be important if it only has 10% of the population using it? Because unlike other social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, traditional media like television are always promoting Twitter by saying “Join the conversation or Twitter” or “use the hashtag #HeppIsCool” to share your thoughts. Since Twitter is “open” and doesn’t require mutual consent to connect, everyone on Twitter is just one handshake away from each other. Because of this openness, conversations can be subject-based or location-based and not just based on connections.
EdisonResearch.com recently shared survey results in their article “Why Twitter is Bigger Than You Think” where they state, “89% of Americans 12+ are familiar with Twitter, while 10% use the service.” They also note that 44% hear about Twitter almost every day.
So how does this apply to a Funeral Home?
You can connect directly with local media, politicians, local movers and shakers, other business owners – and most important, the general public. You can get their attention and they can get yours – all with just 140 characters.
So how can Funeral Homes use Twitter?
I suggest having two accounts to start but it is best to have three. One for your Obits Stream, one for your Company Brand and then the third optional one for just personal use.
With the Obit Twitter account there are some real advantages for exposure; especially for some of you who are near the Canadian/US border where there are tough winters and a lot of the people may snowbird and spend their winters down in Florida, California or Arizona. They may come to your website off and on to see who died over the winter and now the hip people can say, “I can follow the funeral home obituaries on Twitter? Awesome!”
You may think that you would rather have them visiting your website but really you want to communicate with them the way they want to be communicated with. Don’t force them to do anything, instead make it easier for them because you are going to be driving people back to your website in that way.
Step by Step instructions
- First of all you want to claim you handle or your @. You want to make sure that you reserve your funeral home. You may also want to claim your towns name and obits.
- Go to Twitter.com and sign up for your 2 accounts
- You have to use 2 different email addresses
- Once you sign up you are going to Claim your Twitter handle: @YourFuneralHome & @[YourTown]Obits
- Remember that it must be no more than 15 characters
- Customize your settings
- Seek & follow local community members with the “Find People” feature in Twitter itself.
All the media people will be there like reporters. You now have a direct link with them so you want to follow those people and then they might be following you back again. Do the same with other business and other people in your network. It shows that you are up with the times.
More people will probably follow the funeral home account than the obituary account but it is just another way to convey that information out to your community.
There is also website called Twellow.com. You can go there and sign up for a free account. Login using your Twitter account and you can find people in your hobbies and your geographical area. It is just a little easier to use than Twitter.
With your personal account too, you can follow all of your favorite people too and just be a user of Twitter and getting the three benefits that I mentioned in the beginning.
Now I am not trying to create more work for you with Twitter because it can easily be integrated into most websites so that as soon as you upload a new obit, blog post or article, it will automatically tweet the link to your Twitter account. It can also be set up so that when post something on your Funeral Home Facebook page, it will be automatically tweeted to your Twitter account.
Also, to make your Twitter experience even easier, you can manage these accounts with services like HootSuite. This tools save you time by allowing you to send messages to any of your social media profiles across the web, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and many more. It also automatically shorten URLs for easier posting to Twitter because for Twitter you are allowed only 140 characters.
Overall, with its vast reach beyond its 10% saturation, with its ability to put you in direct connection with the movers and shakers of your community and the ability to automate it in many ways, Twitter should definitely be one of the arrows in your online marketing quiver.