An interesting outbreak has emerged, which should probably come as no surprise considering the explosion of social media. After reading the latest tweet from Katy Perry, or following the Twilight saga on Facebook, it seems that everyone wants to jump-in. All those Facebook “likes” sure are tempting, right?
Social media gurus are stressing the importance for business of all sizes to launch a social media strategy. And of course, you must hire them because they have the know-how. One article by a self-appointed “guru” I ran across recently said:
“Social media is like teen sex. Everybody wants to do it, but nobody knows how. When it’s over you are surprised it’s not better.”
Naturally, he was pounding the table on why you should hire him. Unfortunately, there are a million other guys like him who have turned their attention to the funeral industry. But is it right for the funeral profession? Andreas Svensson contributed his thoughts to Clearly Too Much Info, with When Social Media is Not Right for You. He says:
“When you’re the local funeral home, for example, how many people are going to “like” you? Not too many people are that excited about death.
Take the example of a funeral home. Most people don’t enjoy funeral homes. They don’t look forward to visiting them; some people think they’re creepy and morbid. A funeral home is synonymous with death and sadness. Even though one funeral home can be much nicer than another, most people aren’t going to go out of their way to “like” or interact with this type of business online. It’s not something they want to share with their friends or a page they want to visit more than once. Also, everyone will need a funeral home one day or another. A Facebook page won’t necessarily increase the appeal or necessity of that type of business.”
And what about these social media gurus?
Gary Vaynerchuk, author of The Thank You Economy told Techcrunch:
”99.5 percent of the people that walk around and say they are a social media expert or guru are clowns,” he says, continuing with “we are going to live through a devastating social media bubble.”
I also liked the definition given by Milo Yiannopoulos in The Telegraph:
“A rag-tag crew of blood-sucking hucksters who are infesting companies of all sizes, on both sides of the Atlantic, blagging their way into consultancy roles and siphoning off valuable recession-era marketing spend to feed their comic book addictions. They claim to be able to improve your relationships with your customers by “executing 360 degree reignition programs”
He went on to say:
“These people are genuinely beyond parody. If you were to conduct an archaeological dig into a social media guru, you’d probably uncover layers of life coaches, yoga teachers, acupuncturists and feng shui consultants. That’s the level of business insight and mission-critical expertise we’re talking about here.
The poisonous cult of the social media guru – or, get this, “swami” – is disastrous for pretty much every kind of business: it’s wasteful for large companies and potentially fatal for start-ups. Social media consulting amounts to little more than mastering the art of the bleeding obvious and no company, no matter what its size, should even consider hiring external social media consultants. Internally, the most you need is a couple of interns with laptops.”
If anything, social media has allowed funeral directors to gain more access to available products and services, therefore benefiting the product vendors. However, in terms of funeral homes gaining customers through social media, I think the gurus are leading you down a dangerous, costly and useless path.