Checking In, While Checking Out: Social Media and…Funeral Homes?

by Ken Mueller on June 16, 2010 · 11 comments

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As someone who works in Social Media, I often challenge people to show me a business that can’t benefit from some sort of Social Media campaign, or at least would be difficult. I’ve even spent time thinking about what kinds of businesses might NOT work well with Social Media. I haven’t thought of many, but here’s one: Funeral Homes.

Now I’m not saying they can’t utilize Social Media well, but it makes me chuckle to think of the possibilities, so I did a little research:

A Facebook page – The first challenge is content. What do you post? One local Funeral Home posts inspirational quotes, as well as the occasional sales pitch message, (“Call our hotline for a recording of 5 things you must know before choosing a funeral home”) as well as messages touting their services (they are the only local funeral home with an on-site crematorium).

One funeral home had no posts at all, except one from a “friend” wishing them a “prosperous spring.” Really? Think about the connotations of that.

Another listed that day’s funeral services. People would comment about the person who was being interred, speaking about how wonderful they were. One even included a comment along the lines of, “Gosh, I didn’t know. I need to tell mom!” And on days when there was no funeral, their status was “No services are scheduled for today,” which was accompanied by the occasional “like”.

And I even found one Facebook page where people “liked” the announcements of someone’s funeral. Who does that??

And of course some pages were used to report news regarding the employees at the funeral home, or promote charitable events in which they were involved, as well as offer tips on estate planning.

Twitter – I found a handful of Twitter accounts for funeral homes. Most of them were underused and many had very cheesy Twitter page backgrounds. Most of the Twitter accounts that I found were either tweeting inspirational quotes and/or general community news. Very few actually tweeted about funerals or promoted their own company.

But what if someone uses Foursquare….

Do you check in at Fred’s Funeral Home? And is it appropriate to become the “Mayor” of a funeral home?

I’m certainly not saying that Funeral Homes shouldn’t be using Social Media. I think there are some great ways that it can be utilized in this industry.

My point is that we need to think things through carefully. Every business category and industry is different. What’s right for one business might not be right for another.

And we especially need to think about how others will perceive what we are doing. What we say might sound right when we put it out on our various Social Media platforms, but it might be received in a very different way!

Don’t just jump into Social Media. Have a plan. Think it through. And then execute that plan carefully.

And I’d love for you to help me with two things.

First, comment below and let me know if there are any other business categories that you think might be difficult fits for Social Media. And second, if you know of a particular funeral home that is utilizing Social Media well, let me know.

 Checking In, While Checking Out: Social Media and...Funeral Homes?
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8 comments
mariodiazy
mariodiazy

How about making a Facebook fanpage and use it as obituary. Picture of the deceased (when he was alive) and a quote, so people who knew him could say something nice about him/her? I don't know, it might work.

John Panico
John Panico

Ken,

We did land the account and we are digging in. I will keep you posted.

Ken
Ken

John, as I say in this post, I'm not against Funeral homes using Social Media. I think it can be done right, but there are a lot of things inherent in Social Media that can make it problematic.

I agree, it's no different. You need to be in tune with your own industry and your audience.

And I"m all ears. Let me know!

John Panico
John Panico

Not sure I totally agree with you on funeral homes. But you do make a good point of listening and having an objective before just diving in and offering discounts/coupons.

The questions I have for you Ken is that it isn't any different for the funeral industry than it is for ANY industry! You have to be willing to listen, understand what your objective is and then implement a plan that will achieve that objective.

Contact me tomorrow and I will tell you one huge one that is about to :)

Jill Kring Carter
Jill Kring Carter

Corrections Facilities...........prisons.............but do we classify them as businesses? Probably not now that I think about it. People don't elect/pre-plan their prisons should they be found guilty of a crime.................oh wait, I might be on to something here! hahaha.

MAC
MAC

Ken, you made the point I was making yesterday. It has to be thought through carefully. I asked some of these questions when I went to the website of the funeral home my mother had chosen so I could get the address for GPS. They had a Facebook page listed, and my couriosity went into overdrive. Yes, I "liked" it on Facebook, mainly because my mother had a tremendous respect for the owner. However, when I got to the page, Colleen (the funeral director) seems to not quite know what kind of content to publish yet. I kind of like the idea of listing services on the Facebook page. Most funeral homes list obituaries on their website now so, why not?

As for Foursquare, for the days of my mother's viewing/funeral, I put down the Foursquare. There was no way I wanted that mayorship nor the cemetary where she is laid to rest. She could appreciate the humor of it, though, as she was a mortician herself (our family name should be Addams ; ) ). She used to get me to look up stuff on my phone just because it amazed her.

However, I did take mayorship of the hospital just to annoy my cousin. We had to keep a sense of humor during such a rough time.

kmueller62
kmueller62

Hmmm. Though I don't know, Diane. I think in some of those cases you could really make use of a sense of humor and have fun with it! Oh, man...there are a lot of possibilities there...

Diane {Hershey, PA Senior Photography}
Diane {Hershey, PA Senior Photography}

I would think that maybe plumbers and septic service providers might have a tricky time using social media, as well as those who supply/service portable toilets.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ken Mueller, Brenda Boitson. Brenda Boitson said: RT @kmueller62: New Post: Checking In, While Checking Out: Social Media and…Funeral Homes? – http://bit.ly/9cYbbC #IMU [...]

  2. [...] – We check in everywhere, but wouldn’t it be nice to let others know when we check out? A simple chip implanted in your skin, and you’ll automatically let everyone know when you…pass [...]

  3. [...] It might seem a bit classless if you’re checking in to Uncle Andy’s funeral. Even more so if you’ve checked in enough to be Mayor of the place. Of course, if you’ve checked in that frequently, it probably means your at the age where more of your friends are dead than alive. And of course there’s also that final check-in, the one where you don’t check-out. [...]

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