In speaking with funeral directors, OGR has discovered that many are unsure if their funeral home should be on Facebook (read 4 Lies About a Funeral Home Facebook Page). Amidst the pros and cons of such a decision lies the ultimate question. What is your purpose for being on Facebook? Identifying your social media mission can help with determining whether your firm should have a presence online.
It’s generally easier to come up with reasons not to do something than to come up with reasons to take action. While this blog isn’t meant to be a comprehensive look at having an online presence, it does briefly touch on pros and cons for being online.
Below are a few reasons why a Facebook page won’t work for your business, but also a few reasons for why it might …
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If you are going to use Facebook to sell products, then social media is probably not the right platform.
Facebook is more about community outreach, brand building, and customer interaction than advertising. Facebook is meant for subtle marketing tactics. The same way you woo customers in person is similar to the way you should woo them online. You don’t shove products in families’ faces the minute they walk into your funeral home, do you? No! You care about the families you serve. You do your best to make them feel comfortable upon first contact and work to forge a relationship with them. People are more likely to be turned off by your presence if it you’re all about business whether in person or on Facebook.
However, if you use social media as a means of connecting with families, it could lead to more consumer interest and raise awareness about your business. There are several funeral homes that have been able to establish a strong online presence by employing different content on their pages (McQueen & Anderson, O’Connor Mortuary, Brunswick Memorial). Many share inspirational quotes, helpful grief related articles and community service related events. This gives funeral home owners a chance to show that their industry is not about money; it’s about people.
If people generally dislike what you do, then FB isn’t right for your business
If you work in an industry that people generally dislike then you won’t benefit from a Facebook presence. For example, chances are that no one is going to like a debt collectors’ page or an animal testing facility.
You may be thinking that the funeral service industry fits into the “generally dislike” column of social media, but, in all actuality, this isn’t true. Most people generally dislike the idea of death, but funeral service is not just about the dead but the living. In fact, it has been the inspiration to some unexpected but noteworthy Facebook pages such as One Fit Widow and Confessions of a Funeral Director. Each has used his/her experiences with death to create something positive and beneficial for the public. For your funeral home, Facebook gives you the opportunity to be seen as more than just a necessary evil. As someone who daily deals with death, you are better equipped than most to inform the public of death care related topics. Social media gives you a platform to reach out to people and engage them consistently and conveniently.
If you don’t have the resources, then forget about it
A good social media presence requires attention and a minimal understanding of technology. If you don’t have the time or equipment to maintain your social media page, then don’t bother. If people see that you are not consistent in your updating, they will lose interest or worse yet, they’ll think you don’t care. Also, if you aren’t checking your Facebook often enough, you won’t be able to monitor any crises that occur. (Click here for tips on responding to online reviews)
With that said, a Facebook page is more manageable than many people believe. First, figure out what the goal for your Facebook page is. If it is simply to maintain a quality presence and offer occasional relatable content, then you have nothing to stress out about. Maintaining the page requires some staff time but not as much as you may assume. Updating your page with a post and checking notifications a few times a week works well for most small businesses.
If you have limited time to look for content to post, then simply check out the OGR Facebook page Golden Rule Funeral Homes where we post death care related content on a frequent basis that is easy to share. OGR has found success in posting articles on grief, positive comments from families, and general information about funeral service. For instance, the meme below would be easy enough for your funeral home to “share” on its page (click here to share).
I challenge you:
Get together with your staff and make a game plan because whether you choose to address it now or later, you will have to deal with your social media presence eventually. Funeral homes and other funeral related businesses are already employing techniques to make their social media page benefit their businesses. Ask yourself: how far behind these changes do you want your business to be?
By Denise Rodriguez,
Publications & Family