It seems like Funeral Directors are going “Facebook Crazy” – every day I am receiving friend requests from Funeral Directors and seeing Funeral Homes creating profiles, pages, and groups.

The problem is that I see a ton of mistakes being made – most inadvertently because there is not a lot of direction and guidance available on HOW to use Facebook properly for the Funeral Industry.

There is no Best Practices for Funeral Homes and Facebook (not yet anyway) but I have been really digging deep into what IS the best way for funeral directors to harness the power of Facebook from a Relationship & Loyalty Building (Marketing) strategy without crossing the line of doing business in a social community.

You have heard me say it before – and this won’t be the last time – the funeral industry is a “relationship business” where people serve people and buildings, cars, and merchandise are secondary.  When my Great-Grandfather started the undertaking business, and my Grandfather took it over – they built it on building relationships within their community. They did this by being involved in various networks of the day – Church, Lodge,  Rotary, Town Council, etc.  Fast forward 75 years and networks within communities are still very important – they may be the same networks as they used to be or may be different ones.

Even though Facebook is a virtual community, it is growing faster than any other network of

people in your community.  Let’s take a look at some of the numbers (Source as of May 18, 2009 – pretty current eh!):

Global Audience: 192,406,840

  1. United States 60,989,380
  2. United Kingdom 17,839,940
  3. Canada 11,443,520
  4. Turkey 9,531,440
  5. France 9,510,400
  6. Italy 9,424,120
  7. Australia 5,599,000
  8. Colombia 4,568,280
  9. Chile 4,504,560
  10. Spain 4,478,380

United States Age Distribution:

  • 18 – 24: 30.6% (18,338,140)
  • 25 – 34: 27.6% (16,535,280)
  • 35 – 44: 17.7% (10,592,180)
  • 14 – 17: 10.2% (6,089,780)
  • 45 – 54: 8.4% (5,023,380)
  • 55 – 65: 3.6% (2,164,420)
  • 65+: 1.4% (861,340)
  • 0 – 13: 0.6% (348,340)

The 55 and over crowd have over 3 million members in the US. For perspective if this group of 55+ Facebook users were a city – it would be the 3rd largest between LA and Chicago.

One last thing before I get into the 7 Mistakes Funeral Directors make with Facebook is that there are more females on Facebook than men:

  • Females: 57.4% (34,657,940)
  • Males: 42.6% (25,677,840)

We know women make more buying decisions than men and we have also been told that women regard relationships as very important (hopefully us guys have figured that out by now).

7 Mistakes Funeral Directors Make with Facebook

  1. Not On Facebook Yet:Please see the stats above – if you’re not on Facebook yet, I included those stats for you – don’t worry, it’s not too late, sign up today.  When you do sign up, please add me as a friend
  2. Non-Passionate Status Updates: “Monday again, Hump Day, TGIF, Work Sucks” plus others that I can’t repeat  
    • I know that it’s not all about work, but as funeral professionals we are always in the public eye – even online; keep the venting to private conversations – you never know if a family member can see your status even when your privacy settings are set
  3. Not Showing Families How to Add Obits to their Profile:  Let family members promote your online obits to their Facebook community.
    • Whether you have a Facebook profile or not you can harness the power of Facebook to drive traffic to your online obituaries by teaching families how to add their loved one’s obit into their profile so that all of their friends can see it, and then go to your site to leave a condolence
    • When I look at my clients’ Google Analytics (website stats) I am amazed that Facebook is usually in the Top 5 Referrers category
    • Sample from Add An Obituary To Facebook
  4. Creating a PROFILE for the Funeral Home instead of  a PAGE: Profiles are for People and Pages are for Businesses If you have your Profile as your Funeral Home and not you personally, here’s what you do:
    • Create a Profile under your Personal name and once you have built up your profile, then invite all of the Friends from the first profile to your new one
    • Create a Page under the Funeral Home name and copy all of the pertinent information over – then once it is established you can start to invite people to become a “Fan”
  5. Not “Claiming” your Memorable Web Address for your Profile and Business Page: Do not let your competitor “Claim Your Name”
  6. Having A “Profile” Picture that is Too STIFF: Is your profile picture with you in your “Stripes” or other Funeral Attire?
    • You want to connect with your “Community” – the more they can relate to you (as a parent, spouse, soccer coach, etc.) the better – could you change your picture so that you could be “more like them?”
    • NOTE: “But Hepp, your profile picture is you in a suit!” Exactly – see the previous bullet point – … connect with ‘your’ community
  7. Do Not Actively Build Your Friend List: The more people that you can connect with in your community, the better – it will not hurt you to have too many friends on Facebook – well, until you hit the maximum of 5,000  
    • Here are 3 ways to grow your “Friends” list
      • Upload your “Contacts” from your Outlook or Outlook Express
      • View the Friends of the Most Popular people in your community and “Add as Friend” if you think that it is appropriate to do so
      • Search Groups and Fan Pages for Local Organizations like Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Church Groups, etc.

NOTE: Just a little bit of advice – create Lists to segment your Friends such as Family, School Friends, Funeral Peers, [Your Town’s Name] Connections, etc.  You will thank me later.

Source by Robin