How some funeral home owners are wasting money on Facebook

If you have hired an agency to manage your Facebook page, there’s a good chance that you are wasting your money. This post will explain why…

First, I should emphasize that Facebook is an incredible way to reach your local community. If you use it correctly, you can be a great resource to families, build relationships, and generate a lot of preneed leads.

This week I had a meeting with a new client. They had ordered my Initial Marketing Assessment, and I was delivering the results of my analysis.

To give you a sense of the situation, they are one of four traditional funeral homes in a city. One of the firms had hired a “professional” social media management agency, and my client felt a need to respond somehow.

When it came the subject of Facebook in my assessment, I told them that they didn’t need to worry about their competitor because they are wasting their money.

The reason they are wasting their money is that very few people see the posts.

Even though their competitor had almost 1,000 likes of their Facebook page, I knew that very few of the people who liked their page are going to see the content the agency is posting.

It’s kind of like running television advertisements on a station that no one watches. Your media sales rep loves the commission, but it’s not helping your business.

It wasn’t too long ago that Facebook could be thought of as a cable TV station, and “likes” were your subscribers. If you posted content, and someone who liked your page checked Facebook, there was a good chance they would see your content.

That is no longer the case.

Today, there is a HUGE barrier between your Facebook post and your followers. That barrier is the Facebook Artificial Intelligence algorithm.

You can think of it as a censor who looks at all of your posts and decides whether or not they will let your followers see it. If that sounds like a big brother sort of thing…you’re right.

I knew, from looking at the type of content the agency is posting on the competing page, that it was not going to pass the censor, and very few people would see it. Therefore, we didn’t need to worry about it.

I wasn’t guessing; I knew this for a fact. Here’s how…

A few months ago, we had taken over a Facebook page for another client who had previously used the same agency.

This gave us access to all of the historical data. I asked Andy Tallent, my social media expert, to dig into the data and compare the before and after results.

Here’s what he found.

The page has almost 1,700 likes, which is pretty good for a funeral home. But I don’t care about likes as much as I care about getting past the Facebook censor.

In the 3 months before us taking over the page, posts were seen by an average of 81 people. Plus, when they put out a post that was nothing more than an obvious preneed ad, it would be seen by only 10 people.

In the 3 months after we took over the page, posts were seen by an average of 245 people, three times more than before we started.

When we put out a preneed post, it was seen by an average of 181 people instead of the 10 people who used to see them.

So, what’s the secret?

I may be helping a competitor here, but I’ll go ahead and give you the answer. (Click here if you want to learn about our FB service)

The secret is in the balance of posts that are created versus curated.

When you create a brand-new post, Facebook’s censor doesn’t know if people are going to like seeing it, so they test it.

They’ll show it to a tiny segment of your followers, and if no one engages with the post, they stop showing it.

Curating posts is the process of finding fresh content on the internet that is already popular and sharing that to your page.

Facebook has already seen the content, knows people like it, and will allow more of your followers to see the post.

It’s the difference between joining a conversation versus talking about yourself. Facebook wants you to join the conversation, and if you do that, they will sometimes allow you to talk about yourself.

When Facebook’s AI censor doesn’t let people see your content, it’s their way of saying “you’re being rude.”

Of course, Facebook gives you a way around this. It’s called…paying them! If you are willing to pay the price, they will show your post to anyone you want.

Now you know why politicians love Facebook. Every time they want to be rude, they just send more money to Mark Zuckerberg, and he turns off the censor. But I digress…

Any social media agency worth a darn knows about the create vs curate issue. But they churn out original posts that are nothing more than an image with the client’s logo embedded on it.

Why do they do this?

Because creating a new post is easy. It’s also a task the agency can outsource to someone in the Philippines, making $1/hour.

Curating content requires a very different skillset. It takes someone who can identify the conversations already going on in your community and finding new ways to contribute to the conversation.

Curating is harder work but far more effective at getting past the Facebook censor.

If you are paying someone to manage your Facebook page, take a look at it and see if they are creating new posts or curating popular content. If it is filled with newly created posts, no one is seeing them, so you are wasting your money.

You can learn more about our approach to Facebook on this page.

Remember, join the conversation and don’t be rude. It’s funny how those lessons we learn in kindergarten still apply today.

Until next time


PS:  I’m ok with my client’s competitor using a different social media company. It’s not hurting my client and the person in the Philippines probably needs the work.

PPS: You might also want to consider whether the person running your social media reflects your target demographics. What one generation thinks is ok, might be very rude to another.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *