How Funeral Directors Can Leverage LinkedIn to Foster Better Relationships
Posted August 26, 2020
11 min read
Contrary to popular belief, LinkedIn is a social media platform that goes far beyond looking for a new job or a new career path.
Yes, LinkedIn is effective at helping people find new roles, but there are 15 times as many impressions in the feed for content as there are for job postings alone (1).
So why are people using LinkedIn, beyond job searching? That’s a great question, because there are so many reasons people are using LinkedIn today!
Here are a few of the most common reasons:
- To share thought leadership
- To learn from other leaders/experts in the profession
- To stay engaged with and connected with others in their profession
- To connect and network with others in the working world, in general
- For resource and opportunity finding/fit
- To articulate your purpose and/or brand
- To advance your career
With this list highlighting many of the benefits and reasons to be active on LinkedIn, let’s look at 5 powerful tips that can help you on LinkedIn right now as a funeral professional:
- Identify why you’re on LinkedIn to begin with.
- Complete your LinkedIn profile.
- Share articles and resources that provide value to others.
- Give attention and show engagement with others.
- Make sure you have the right mindset.
Let’s take a closer look at what we mean by each of these tips that can help you foster more genuine relationships on LinkedIn:
1. Identify why you’re on LinkedIn to begin with.
Be strategic about why you’re using LinkedIn. Some reasons might include:
- You’re looking to build community for your firm
- You want to continue to learn from content that’s being shared on LinkedIn
- You want to ensure you have a digital presence yourself, and/or for your firm
- You want to build new relationships, partnerships, clients, or prospective client families
- You are looking to inform people about the death care space and profession
- You want to drive people towards service offerings you have
- You want to find more ways, in the digital space, to get your name (or your firm’s name) visible
- You want to strengthen the relationship you have with current and past families and others in the profession
- You want to build your brand as a funeral home to continue to reach new potential staff members
Some of the reasons above may cross-over, but you’re also going to have different goals for your personal profile on LinkedIn versus your company page. This article mostly focuses on your personal LinkedIn profile, but again, there can be some overlap between the two (1, 2).
2. Complete your LinkedIn profile.
When you’re logged into LinkedIn, a “strength meter” shows whether you have a complete profile or not. It will also show you quick ways you can have a more “complete” profile.
If you have that badge, telling you your profile is in fact “complete,” you are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities including job offers, new clients, new markets, new connections to centers of influence, and more (2). So that goes to show just how important it is for you to have a complete profile on LinkedIn.
Since you can think of your LinkedIn profile as a sort of “digital billboard” for yourself, be sure to complete the following:
- Profile photo. People want to see the real you, and they do like to see a smile. Avoid hats and sunglasses.
- Cover image, also called a cover photo. LinkedIn allows everyone to have a cover photo now. The dimensions are 1584 x 396 pixels. Use this space to visually show more about yourself.
- About section. It used to feel very formal, but now this is your chance to show your personality, who you are, what you offer, and how people can get in touch with you.
- Work experience. This is an effective place to be sure you connect to your funeral home’s LinkedIn page; if the two are connected, people can click right through and be directed right to the firm’s LinkedIn. Be sure to update your work experience as needed, and if desired, add volunteer experience, too, which shows more about who you are. LinkedIn also allows you to add media to this section to make it more visual now.
- Skills. Aim to include at least 5 skills you have. You can also re-order these to feature the 3 skills you want.
- Connections. Make sure you’ve connected to at least 50 people.
- Education. Your education is another way people will relate and connect to you, so adding your education is a great way to share more about yourself with others (1, 2).
3. Share articles and resources that provide value to others.
For most people reading this, LinkedIn isn’t going to be a tool that’s focused on self-promotion. Rather, LinkedIn is about providing valuable resources to peers. That, in turn, is how we develop relationships and start to build trust with those people over time.
So what might that kind of content look like?
Stop and think about the kind of content you enjoy when scrolling through LinkedIn. That high quality content will likely do one of these things:
- Inform (think: infographics to news articles with must-read stats or information)
- Educate (think: an article shared by an industry leader that helps you do your job)
- Inspire (think: pictures or infographics or visuals that touch us deeply)
- Entertain (think: maybe it’s compelling videos, commentary on something you can relate to, or lessons learned)
Here’s an example of how Frank Lewis shares content that helps to inform and educate others.
The idea is that every piece of content you share is likely going to be doing one of those things—informing, educating, inspiring, or entertaining someone.
When it comes to sharing these kinds of articles or posts, don’t think that you have to write or come up with all the content yourself.
In other words, it’s great to show your thought leadership by creating original content. But also know that you can share other peoples’ content, too.
If you need a few ideas for what kind of content you can start to post, take the time to browse your LinkedIn feed. (You can see why just browsing through your feed is an effective way to start to learn more about LinkedIn with this new perspective.)
What is most valuable to you? Are there any articles others are sharing that you know your peers would also want to read? Those are the types of articles you can share, and add your insights and commentary to when you do so.
Here’s an example of how Petra Lina Orloff uses her content to help educate others.
Other ideas for content include:
- Personal stories that are going to either inform, educate, inspire, or entertain your professional peers
- News about your team or firm, like a new hire or a milestone for a staff member
- “Lessons learned” posts or thoughts
- “How to” articles
- Event-related posts (before, while you are there, or even a recap)
- Newsworthy information
- Trending stories
- Pictures or posts that show history or now/then (past and today)
- “Behind the scenes” look at your firm or something you’re doing
- Client experiences or client stories you can share
Here’s an example of how Lacy Robinson shares content that is extremely relevant to her connections.
4. Give attention and show engagement with others.
Part of LinkedIn is about what we just described: creating and/or sharing articles and resources (infographics to blogs to industry publications to news articles) that you believe will benefit your peers. By sharing that knowledge and those reflections, over time, you start to build stronger relationships with your connections on LinkedIn.
But another key part of this relationship-building process isn’t just what you post or publish, it’s also about how you give your attention.
A couple of ways you can authentically “show interest” on LinkedIn includes:
- Sharing other peoples’ posts. Sharing other peoples’ content helps their post(s) to get seen by more people in your network. Since you’ll be sharing something that’s hopefully considered valuable to your connections, it’s a win-win for both of you because the post will get seen by more people. The great part about sharing someone else’s post is that they’ll often share your posts in the future, too.
- Commenting on other peoples’ posts. Comments are a great part of LinkedIn. After all, some of the most valuable parts of LinkedIn are the heathy conversations that take place there. So don’t just ask questions yourself, but be sure to comment and be engaged with other peoples’ posts, too. If they ask a question or seem to be inviting conversation, it’s the ideal time to comment. And they’ll notice and reciprocate on your posts!
- Like or react to the post. Maybe you don’t have a comment necessarily to add to a post, but you can react to other peoples’ posts. It’s another way to show genuine interest and engagement and to help build a rapport with that person over time. At the time this article is being published, LinkedIn lets you like, celebrate, love, or show that a post was insightful or curious. These options give you the ability to show how a message/post/picture is evoking your emotion, so take advantage!
5. Make sure you have the right mindset.
When it comes to building a digital presence on LinkedIn, whether you’re thinking for your business or for you personally, a couple of mindset shifts can help you find success:
- False mindset: “I don’t have the time.” Instead of thinking you don’t have the time, try to dedicate at least 15-30 minutes per week to start and see how many relationships grow because of that minimal time investment.
- False mindset: “I can’t keep up with these tools.” Instead of thinking you haven’t mastered LinkedIn, so you can’t use it to learn, grow and connect with others, reconsider that idea. Continue reading resources and subscribing to blogs/publications or even podcasts that help you stay on top of LinkedIn, and other social media tools. Remember you don’t have to be a master or “expert” at the tools to use them to build relationships.
- False mindset: “I’m not comfortable with selling on social media.” The reality is that social media doesn’t have to be about selling, and when done right, it doesn’t need to be about over-the-top self promotion at all. In fact, we’d argue social media is best when it’s not about selling. Social media is a great way to build relationships, foster genuine trust over time, and to show your value to others. Some may call this “social selling” but it’s really about the opportunity of showing your value, and humanizing yourself or your firm.
All in all, these are common misconceptions that people have about social media, and LinkedIn in particular. With the right mindset shift—including what’s mentioned above—these false beliefs don’t have to stop you from forging rewarding relationships on LinkedIn.
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