How To Handle #FuneralSelfies (And Other Modern Funeral Marvels)June 25th, 2015
Social media has taken over… well, everything. Forget the days of email, or heaven forbid, snail mail. Now when you want to share something, you tweet it out to the world, put it on Facebook, post a picture on Instagram, or upload it to your Snapchat feed.
After all, as the 2015 online mantra goes, “pics or it didn’t happen.” (The idea that, if you didn’t take a photo of something, it didn’t actually occur.) So people share photos of themselves on family vacation, buying a new car, out to dinner with friends… and at grandma’s funeral? That’s right. Funeral selfies are here, among many other modern, yet baffling funeral traditions, and it looks like they’re here to stay.
Luckily, there are many ways in which these social funeral trends can actually benefit the funeral profession, while also enhancing your families’ funeral experience at the same time. Here are a few positive ways you can spin these new modern funeral trends:
If you haven’t noticed, we live in a world riddled with FOMO, or “Fear Of Missing Out.” The new concern that, by not staying updated or checking in online, you’re missing out on important news and updates. So people live on their social profiles, check their friend’s feeds like it’s an addiction, and do whatever it takes to join online groups and movements so they can feel like they are a part of something that’s bigger than themselves.
Hashtags are a perfect example of people grouping together under one united movement, be it an event, a belief or an interest. (Think of the hashtags that are used at funeral conventions, like #NFDA2015.) You simply share your thoughts with others using the hashtag, and all of these single thoughts become united in one focused conversation
Funerals are actually a perfect event for unique hashtags that encourage remembrance and sharing personal stories. For instance, your families could create a hashtag that they use throughout the visitation, funeral service and beyond (such as #RememberingGrandmaSmith), where they encourage all family members and friends to share their favorite stories, quotes and photos of Grandma. People at the funeral will be able to follow along with the memories being shared wherever the hashtag is used (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all very hashtag-friendly), and it will encourage everyone to become part of the celebration.
Selfies (the art of taking a photo of yourself, for those unfamiliar) are already a hotly debated topic, as many people view them as self-obsessed or silly. Add the idea of funeral selfies into the mix (for instance, a person taking a photo of themselves in front of a casket or with the deceased), and it becomes downright controversial. In a profession filled with tradition and respect, it’s no surprise that many funeral directors are baffled that this is even a thing. However, selfies are just one way that the younger generation celebrates and participates in events, and for them, it’s not about getting a self-photo as much as it is belonging to the moment.
Caleb Wilde put it best when he said, “Emerging culture cares more about belonging than decorum.” And that’s exactly what selfies are – a way for a person to belong to a moment that is happening around them. A way to make themselves a part of the event and show that they were there, that they felt the feelings, and that they shared powerful emotions with people that are important to them.
“Social media is how many of us relate to the world … And the funeral selfie is how we say, ‘This part of my community has died and I just wanted to let you know,’” Caleb writes. Just make sure that all funeral guests know to ask permission before taking any photos at the service if they are not the immediate family. Just because selfies may be a cultural norm to some, it is not a widely accepted tradition.
Checking In Online
If you have a Facebook Business page, you may have seen that several people have “checked in” to your funeral home online. What exactly does this mean? Simply that someone has shared the fact that they were at your place of business with their Facebook friends. And while you may not be complaining that people are spreadinggrieving process to share their location with friends and family.
It all goes back to a new generation’s need to share details about the important moments in their life. And when it comes to a beloved family member passing away, your funeral home is the setting that hosts this particularly significant life moment, so naturally people want to share and remember you!
Most people that check in to a business on Facebook also leave a comment alongside their check-in, such as “Such a special day to remember Grandma” or “So thankful for XYZ Funeral Home for such a beautiful service.” So now, this simple act of checking in through his helpful (and free) tool, has turned in a way for families to memorialize their day online. And not only will it be a useful outlet for your families to share memories, but it can also be an invaluable tool that brings new families to your funeral home.
Social Memorial Pages
While the above modern day funeral marvels are just starting to emerge as a new way to remember and celebrate socially, there is one online aspect to funerals that is a must have for your families right now – social memorial pages. If you are only providing your families with the age-old, boring obituary that simply gives a fill-in-the-blank overview of their loved one’s life, you are missing out on a huge opportunity – and you are ignoring what your families want.
As you can see from the points we’ve mentioned above, people have already begun to build their life story online… sharing photos on Facebook, keeping their family and friends updated on their lives, and collecting photos to build a complete picture of a person’s life. So when it comes time to share memories of their loved one and begin the healing process, a social website that houses all of the details of the funeral service and their loved one’s life story is the solution your families want. If you’re not utilizing social memorial pages, you’re simply encouraging families to go somewhere else that is.
To learn more about how important social memorial pages can be to increasing your business and helping your families through the healing process, click here. You can’t afford to wait.
What other modern funeral marvels have you seen emerging at your funeral home? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!