It seems like there’s always a new social media platform to keep up with these days, and that can be overwhelming for the ever busy funeral director.
You may ask yourself, is Instagram really worth my precious time?
Considering that there are over 1 billion monthly active users, and more than 500 million of them use the platform every day, it’s definitely worth your while to connect with potential client families on this powerful platform.
What is Instagram anyway?
It’s a social media site similar to Facebook, but instead of sharing thoughts, you’re uniquely expressing yourself through photos from your smartphone. Want to show off the set-up of that beautiful celebration of life you just put together? Instagram is the place to do it.
It’s time to get on board with the 71% of businesses that are already taking advantage of this tool and get on Instagram with these 6 super easy steps:
1. Create an account with a memorable username
Creating an account on Instagram is incredibly easy. Once you’ve downloaded the app from your app store, go ahead and open it up to get started.
You’ll be prompted to sign up with your existing Facebook, or create a new account with your email address. If you already have a Facebook page for your business it’s a good idea to sign up through Facebook so you can link your accounts.
Either way, you’ll need to choose a username that reflects your business. Keep it simple, and try just using the name of your funeral home that people already know so client families can easily look you up! When sharing your username remember that it will be stylized with an @ symbol (like @funeralone – that’s us!)
Image Courtesy of Livewire.com
2. Decide what unique content to publish
Congratulations, you’re on Instagram (or “the gram” for short). Now what? It’s time to create some inspiring content to brighten your page and draw in followers. The key is to be unique – and like other social media platforms, authentic and transparent.
We suggest choosing 5 or so types of content you know you want to publish on your page, so that everyone at your funeral home can get in on the fun! If everyone knows your funeral home is really looking to shine through the remarkable personalization skills you have, or your brand new funeral home remodel, everyone can provide content for your page.
It’s nice to check out some solid examples of Instagram pages for inspiration. Here are a few we like:
3. Upload your first amazing photo
Now that you have content that makes your funeral home shine, it’s time to show the world.
You can take photos directly in the app, or upload them from your camera roll, we suggest the latter because the quality is usually much better, making your profile look much more professional.
What makes a good photo? Something dynamic, personal and colorful. People want to get a sense of what makes your business unique, so start by showing off a truly personalized service you held, or a photo of all your staff doing something that makes people want to join in.
Keep in mind that Instagram likes things to be squares – that’s their signature style. You can upload photos with other shapes, but squares really do look best! Consider the photos that are worthy of your website – these are the kinds you want to put on Instagram to start.
Here’s how to upload your first photo: When you open the app, push the plus sign button in the middle near the bottom of the screen to upload a photo. If you already have a photo ready to go ,click on library (see photo above), select your photo and hit next in the top right corner.
Now things get really fun! If you want to tweak or edit the photo at all you can select a filter to put on it. Don’t worry about this step if you already like the way your photo looks, but if you see a filter catches your fancy, have fun with them! Just remember, it’s best to use one to two filters max on your page for cohesiveness on your feed. Hit that next button one more time and you’re almost there!
Image Courtesy of Livewire.com
4. Welcome to the world of hashtags
It’s best to keep captions short and sweet on instagram, with a few hashtags at the end. Wait – what in the world is a freakin’ hashtag?!
Hashtags group your photos together so people can easily look up things that interest them like #dogsofinstagram or #brunch. Hashtags are so important, they’re one of the few ways potential fans can find you, other than simply looking up your funeral home name. If you’re on Twitter already, you’ve probably used a hashtag before, but if not, here’s a little brush up for you!
How to choose the right hashtags: The key to using hashtags successfully is to know which ones your ideal audience would be searching for. Try hashtags like: #funeralservice #memorialservice #mortuary #funeralhome #death #deathpositive #funeral #mortician #cremation or #deathcare to start.
If you want to take it to the next level you can even make a hashtag specifically for your funeral home so when guests post their own photos they can use your hashtag in their post!
You can use up to 30 hashtags per photo, and we suggest making a note on your phone with a list of all of them, so that you can easily add them to every photo and watch your following grow.
5. Follow and engage with others
Your Instagram is looking pretty, must be time to reel in some followers! The best way to gain them? Start following others! Follow other businesses you support, see who their followers are, and follow them too if they seem like someone your profile would resonate with.
You can find accounts to follow using the “explore” tab – that’s the cute magnifying glass second from the left on your home page. From here you can use the search bar up top to enter an account name you want to look up, or scroll through a curated feed of pictures Instagram thinks you might like. Have some fun!
How to engage with likes and comments: While you’re looking at other’s Instagram pages go ahead and like some photos! Just double tap the image or click the little heart in the bottom right corner to send them some love. You can even hit the talking bubble next to the heart to comment and strike up a conversation. The more you engage with other people the more people will want to visit your page, so go ahead and be friendly!
6. Share your first story
The final exciting feature to explore on your first Instagram excursion is “Stories.” Unlike the photos you post to your account (known as your “feed”) which last as long as you keep them up, stories disappear after 24 hours. You can create a story by clicking on your large account photo in the top left corner (see photo below) and then taking a picture or video with the large white button on the next screen. You can swipe through special effects on the very bottom of the screen. Get playful and see what you like, but don’t stress too much, simple works great too!
Image Courtesy of Livewire.com
People use stories as a fun way to share their day, make announcements, or to direct people back to their brand new post. The truth is that more people look at stories than they do their feed, so it can really help to share your new post in your story to let people know to check it out!
To share a post to your story: Simply go to your profile by clicking your account photo in the bottom right hand corner, click the photo you want to share, hit the arrow on the right of the comment button and then click “add post to your story.”
Click on the Aa symbol in the upper right hand corner to add some text like, “Check out this awesome event we’re hosting next week!” or “Don’t miss out on our informative new post” then click the “your story” button on the bottom left hand corner. Done. It’s really that simple!
Image Courtesy of Addictivetips.com
Our final words on “the gram”
As you can see, Instagram really can be fun and a great way to connect directly to your target audience. In just 6 easy steps you’ll be up and running, no sweat. After that, the sky’s the limit! Let your creativity and passion flow and you’ll be gaining followers left and right.If you’re ready to take off your training wheels and want to get more serious on your Gram endeavors, check out some of these links:
Have we convinced you yet how easy and awesome it is to be on Instagram? Take the plunge today and see how much a difference it makes for your funeral business. Comment with your @username, we’d love to follow you!