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.