Facebook marketing for Funeral Homes is definitely one area of marketing that is being adopted more and more each and every day in our profession. While many Funeral Homes struggle to see the value in social media marketing, others are quickly realizing what a great tool social media has become for their business.
I spend many, probably too many, hours each week watching funeral homes on Facebook and I will tell you one thing that I see them doing all wrong: they are posting their obituaries to Facebook and only obituaries to Facebook. Don’t get me wrong – posting obituaries to Facebook is absolutely huge for getting more exposure, more revenue and staying top of mind with consumers, but every marketing strategy needs just that: a strategy, and just posting obituaries completely misses the boat on what Facebook is used for.
Social media, particularly Facebook holds value for businesses. It allows a business to build relationships with consumers, show instead of tell their story and run very targeted ads – something they just cannot do anywhere else. Try running the same budget for Google AdWords and you will quickly see that from a financial standpoint it is nearly impossible to match it, and targeting exactly the audience you want is very tough. But with Facebook, it is a marketing platform just waiting for Funeral Homes to use…properly.
Let’s focus on the obituaries for the purpose of this post. At a time when newspaper circulation is down and online companies taking your obituaries and making them their own AND taking your website traffic at an all-time high, there has never been a more important time to get your obituaries from your website out to consumers.
It all starts in the arrangement office and social media will play a very important role in this. Here is what you need to do:
- Make a presentation to the family on their loved ones online obituary page.
When you can bring the family into the planning of the online memorial or obit page, they feel a sense of control. Don’t be afraid to include them on choosing the theme to this online page as it is something they will have forever. This is not something that just get’s them more engaged in the arrangement process but it acts as a touchpoint with that family long after they walk out of the arrangement room.
- Ask the family to share their loved ones obituary page onto their Facebook page.
You simply must do this. At a time where newspaper circulation is down, and more and more consumers are spending their time on social networks, doing it vs. not doing it is the difference between your website’s obituary page going viral and being shared with your community and the companies that have stolen your obituary information and theirs going viral. When the family shares their loved ones obituary page (and your funeral home’s website) while sitting in the arrangement room, you can almost guarantee that your exposure will increase.
- Share the Obituary page to your company’s Facebook and social media pages.
With permission of course, you must share this page and start spreading the word in the community and to those who may not longer live in the community, that someone has passed. As a funeral home, it is your responsibility to make this information available, and the only way to ensure people who might wish to attend a service, send a condolence message, send flowers or maybe even reach out to the family personally is if the information is found on your website. You wouldn’t believe some of the horror stories I have seen with the online world and obituaries.
With these three simple steps completed, you’ve:
1. Achieved Higher search engine rankings if the deceased’s obituary is searched. This is the most important point when we talk about taking back control over your online obituaries. When people are searching for a specific obituary online, you want your website to be the first link that people see. Naturally, if you are hosting these obituaries on your website as well as your Facebook page, your chances of having it be seen are increased.
2. Increased visibility of the obituary to those who knew the deceased or the family of the deceased. To get the most out of this, you need to be following the step of asking families to share the obituary. This way, even if people don’t follow you on Facebook, they will at least see the obituary when a family member of the deceased shares it. Shares are huge on Facebook as they make your posts visible to a whole new group of people. Beyond this, you are also doing your community a service by adding another channel on which they can be informed.
3. Increased traffic to your website. As soon as someone clicks on a Facebook obituary pushed from your FrontRunner system, it takes them directly to the Book of Memories page on your website. Therefore, your Facebook obituaries are yet another channel which can be used to drive visitors to your site and increase that top of mind awareness. If used to its fullest ability, your web traffic increase can be incredible.
4. Taken control of your online presence and not left it up to another company to notify your community. Online data and clicks are invaluable and there are some third parties out there who know this. It is vital that you take control of the obituaries that you have created with the families you serve. When a large third party company is posting your obituaries and not leading people back to your website, they are stealing potential business. It’s simple as that. By posting them to Facebook, you are taking control over the clicks and views of your community at the same time you’re informing them.
It’s clear to see that social media has become an important part of not only your marketing strategy but also your communications strategy. But, you need to make sure that obituaries are not the only thing that people see when they visit your Funeral Home Facebook page. Your Facebook page needs to be more than a page all about death, or services you offer, or your current services. It needs to be a complete strategy to let your consumers know exactly who you are as people and as a brand – you being a funeral director offering funeral services is just one tiny little piece of your overall picture.
Take a look at Conner & Koch Funeral Home on Facebook:
You will quickly see just how they post their obituaries with so many other things to make it a wonderful social media marketing strategy:
Sample Obituary Posts:
A great social media strategy for funeral homes will include obituaries. As I’ve talked about above, it’s a great way to make others aware that a community member has passed and get those people to where they should be: your website. But, always remember that it takes much more than just obituaries. We will save the big picture strategy for a combination of many more posts to come this year, but let’s make sure each of you know how to get those obituaries up on your Facebook page as soon as possible. Every minute you wait after that arrangement conference is the potential for another company to reign on your online parade and rank higher than you, simply because they did it first.
Facebook recently made a very large update to their API, which is the piece of code that allows us to connect to the Facebook platform. As such, we have had to re-write how the connection works. It does require you to re-activate the connection.
To re-activate the connection, follow these 5 simple steps:
1. Click the Main tab in your system
2. Click the Book of Memories tab on the left
3. Click Facebook page management in the secondary column on the left
4. Unlink your Facebook Account. (Steps shown below in red.)
5. Re-activate the account by clicking “Manage your Facebook Pages”, which will walk you through re-setting up the connection (shown below in green).
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