Stevie-winner Eterneva, a funeral company that converts ashes into diamonds has discovered a way to use their active social media presence to engage with their clients and community.
To many, the funeral industry sounds ill-suited for social media marketing. It is typically considered a low-tech, high-touch line of work, and the belief is that people don’t want to be reminded of death on social media. Things are changing, though, as professionals in this industry find smarter, more socially acceptable ways to engage with their local communities and to target audiences.
According to a 2019 survey on the mobile technology trends in the funeral profession, about 73 percent of the 1,172 funeral professionals surveyed were using social media to market their services. Facebook was the most popular platform for these marketers, with 67 percent of respondents using it.
Marrying Life with Death
In an active social media managers group on Facebook, marketers are currently having a lively discussion on social media for funeral homes. One of the participants, Sam Barsanti, comments: “We are in the process of acquiring a new funeral home client. We aren’t extremely serious with them. We try to make their business seem as assistants to the celebration of life, rather than remorse for death.”
Many funeral home marketers now echo this sentiment. Early social media posts from funeral services were largely obituaries. They are not so morbid anymore as marketers look for more meaningful ways to engage and to drive brand recall.
Another factor driving a significant uptick in the industry’s social media usage is the emergence of “disruptive” funeral services, which are any services that move away from traditional burial. The practice of using toxic embalming fluids and burying tons of wood, metal, and concrete into the ground is rapidly giving way to more eco-friendly options.
Capsula Mundi, a start-up based in Milan, Italy, places the ashes or unembalmed bodies of the departed loved ones in biodegradable, egg-shaped pods. This pod is then buried as a seed, and a tree chosen by the deceased is planted on top. This serves as a living, environment-friendly memorial. This company is very active on social media and has over 47,000 Facebook followers with a lot of engagement.
Bios Urn, a start-up based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, also sells biodegradable urns, but theirs have seeds embedded inside. They have many environment-oriented stories and life celebration posts on their social media platforms and have a following of over 84,000 on Facebook.
Not all funeral start-ups are environmentally focused, though. AndVinyly, based in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England, presses ashes into vinyl records. The records contain music loved by the departed, as well as audio recordings from the deceased. Another outside-the-box funeral service, Heavenly Stars Fireworks, based in Stanway, Essex, England, creates pyrotechnic displays using the departed’s ashes.
Stevie-winner Eterneva, based in Austin, Texas, United States, converts ashes into diamonds in an eight-month process. They send pictures, videos, and updates to their customers every month, which is something positive for the bereaved to look forward to. Some customers even say this process helps them move beyond the grief. The company also maintains an active social media presence.
“Our mission is to #RememberRemarkably, so we leverage social media to pay tribute to remarkable people,” says Tracey Wallace, head of brand marketing at Eterneva. “For example, we do weekly inaugurations on Instagram Live, where our team welcomes each new loved one to the Eterneva family and shares his or her incredible story with our followers, which has evolved over time into a vibrant, highly engaged tribe.”
Eterneva won the Gold Stevie® Award in the Startup of the Year - Consumer Products Industries category at the 2019 Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Adelle Archer, an Eterneva co-founder, also bagged a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year - Consumer Products - 11 to 2,500 Employees category.
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