13 Huge Mistakes Your Funeral Home Is Making On Social Media

Funeral Marketing Social Media

The other day, I dove into some research for a blog I was putting together titled “X Firms Who Are Rocking Funeral Social Media.”

During my research, I saw the good, the bad and the (really) ugly. Unfortunately, I saw so much of the “ugly” that I decided to change the entire topic of my blog post. And that’s where this post comes in.

So, whether your funeral home is just getting started with social media or if you’re just not sure why it isn’t working out like you expected, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s take a look at 13 common funeral social media mistakes, and how to fix them.

1. Assuming your community is not on social media.

We hear it all the time at  trade shows – we’ll talk to our clients about the importance of using social media, and they’ll simply say “sorry, but I’m from a small town and no one here uses social media, plus everyone already knows who we are!” I can assure you that both of those statements are far from the truth.

As of March 2013, there are 1.1 billion active Facebook users. That’s one out of every seven people in the world! With that said,  there’s a pretty  good chance that your community is on Facebook. And if that doesn’t motivate you, think about the fact that 43% of funeral firms are using Facebook. That means your community AND your competitors are ten steps ahead of you if you’re not using social media.

How to fix this: This one’s pretty obvious. Do yourself, your business, and your families a favor and get on social media already!

2. Banning your employees from using social media.

Sure, social media has the potential to offer a lot of distractions to your employees. But I know you’ve heard the saying “if you can’t beat em’, join em!”

How to fix this: Tap into the time your funeral home employees are already spending on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks and allow them to use social media in a professional way. By including your employees in your social strategy, you’ll create a truly humanized brand with a unique voice in your community.

3. Using social media the same way you would use traditional media.

Traditional media – brochures, business cards, commercials, etc. – have one thing in common: they’re all a one-way message that doesn’t allow people to respond to or take part in. Social media is all about having a two-way conversation with your audience, so don’t treat it the same way you do traditional media.

In the example below, this funeral home decided to use their Facebook account as a portal to post all of their traditional media… which is probably the worst thing you can do when it comes to social strategy. As you can tell by the absence of likes or comments on this post, their audience really didn’t appreciate it either.

How to fix this: Don’t ruin your social presence by turning it into a one-way conversation… embrace the two-way communication by asking questions and posting quotes, pictures and articles that truly interest your audience.

4. Not creating a funeral social media strategy.

Not incorporating strategy into your social media is like deciding to build a house without a blueprint. If you don’t know what you want to achieve on social media, it will be hard to figure out if you are achieving it, right? That’s where social strategy comes in.

How to fix this: First, define your goals for your social strategy. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Generate leads? Promote your content? Answer common questions? Once you’ve defined your goals, delegate a person at your funeral home to manage your social media. Then, decide what types of content you want to post and create a social media plan or schedule that will help you stay on track. Once you’ve done all that, you will be well on your way to a successful social media marketing campaign!

5. Using social media to just post obituaries.

Want to get members of your local community involved on your Facebook page? Then stop posting just obituaries. Unless your fans happen to know the person, they will not be encouraged to engage with your updates. As you can see in the example below, a Twitter or Facebook page that’s just oozing with obituaries is not only dull and depressing, but also makes your social strategy seem automated and non-human.

funeral marketing social media

How to fix this: Instead of posting obituaries, post things like memorials to lost loved ones, articles about how to deal with grief, and other valuable content. These are the kinds of things that move people and illicit a response.

6. Expecting social media to generate a lot of direct leads.

The easiest way to fail with your social media efforts is to create a Facebook page and expect business to come flying in. Although 67% of businesses say they have acquired a customer through Facebook, social media is more of a big “piece of the puzzle” for your funeral home’s marketing efforts.

How to fix this: Don’t rely on social to generate leads alone. Instead, combine it with other content marketing tactics such as a blog, newsletter, and your website. For example, if you were to post a blog on coping with grief on your Facebook page, someone could click on it and subscribe to your blog.

That person might then forward your blog to a friend who just experienced a loss, and before you know it, that person is calling your funeral home for their service needs. Just remember, when it comes to social media, word-of-mouth is your number one lead generation tool!

7. Leaving spam unmoderated.

If you do a quick search for funeral homes on Facebook, you’ll find a lot of them are hit pretty hard with spam. The problem with leaving that spam unmonitored creates a sense of mistrust with your audience, but it also makes your funeral home look very unprofessional.

funeral marketing social media

How to fix this: Set up email notifications for your social accounts so every time you receive a message or comment, you’ll get notified immediately. That will help you monitor and remove spam messages as they happen. Just like you would clean your funeral home’s lawn if vandals came in overnight to make a mess of things, you should clean your blog and Facebook comments as well.

8. Posting too many times a day, or not enough.

Don’t you just hate when you follow a company on Facebook or Twitter and they post a new status update a bajillion times a day? Not only is it annoying, but it also makes you want to quickly “unlike” or “unfollow” that company so you’re not pestered with their posts anymore. On the opposite side of the spectrum is visiting a company’s page and seeing that they haven’t updated it since 2011. In either of these situations, the outcome isn’t good.

How to fix this: There is a sweet spot for posting frequency, and this varies based on the network and the community you have built on that network. Use a social media monitoring tool such as Sprout Social or Hootsuite that can provide you with data on what days and times your funeral home can get the most engagement with your posts.

9. Automating all of your posts.

As previously mentioned, funeral social media is all about interaction. It is not a “set it and forget it” marketing strategy. Recent studies have found that status updates that are automatically posted receive an average of 70% fewer Likes and comments on their posts per fan.

It’s not just in the numbers… it’s just common sense. If you look below at this funeral home’s Facebook page, do you see anything engaging about their automatically generated messages welcoming every family they serve? Not at all, right? Avoid scaring your families away with robotic messages and think of social media as a conversation instead!

funeral marketing social media

How to fix this: Sure, you can use social media management tools to schedule some of your updates, but be sure that your social profiles also have live interaction and engagement with your community. Not only will you see more engagement, but you’ll also be able to truly connect with your audience.

10. Using unprofessional photos.

The funeral profession is one of the few profession’s that requires extra attention to our families emotional needs. That means you have to be especially careful when posting photos on your Facebook page.

For example, it’s usually not a good idea to allow your funeral home employees to post pictures of their bar hopping escapades. What if one of your families lost their  loved one to a drunk driver? Any social media account you are using for business, even if it is personal, should be maintained at a professional level.

How to fix this: Don’t waste your time building out a social media policy that no one will read. Instead, hold a quick 15 minute meeting with all of your funeral home employees and set standards as to what you see as appropriate and not appropriate to post on your personal and company social profiles. Let them know that you’re putting your trust in them to use good judgement, and that their social media activity ultimately affects your funeral home’s reputation.

11. Disabling comments in fear of negative feedback.

This is a common mistake that many businesses make. They are so afraid of receiving negative feedback, so they shut off as many feedback receptacles as possible, including their blog comments and Facebook wall posts. The reality is that if someone wants to leave bad feedback about your funeral home and you keep them from doing it, they will find a way to do it elsewhere.

How to fix this: People who really want a resolution to their problem will likely come to your website, blog, or social media accounts first. Make it easy for them to submit that feedback and give them a polite, public response. This shows that your goal is satisfaction, and that will impress many more families than not. In fact, 18% of people who left a negative review about a company and received a response became a loyal customer as a result!

12. Forgetting the spell checker.

Even though we said social media is not traditional media, there is one thing that should be applied to both mediums, and that is a spell checker. If you’re careless in your marketing, potential families may equate that to being careless in other areas of your funeral home as well.

funeral social media mistakes

Not only could this misspelling offend the family, but it makes your funeral home appear unprofessional as well.

How to fix this: Before your key “social media manager” posts social updates, have one member of your funeral home double check the updates before they go live. As you can see below, a second set of eyes is never a bad thing!

13. Forgetting about social media for customer service.

Did you know: 56% of customer tweets to companies are completely ignored? That’s pretty bad, since nearly half of social media users expect to receive some sort of customer service through a company’s social channels.

While the most ideal goal for your social media efforts would be to generate leads, you can’t lose sight on the main focus: your families’ experience. Sure, you might not offer the typical customer service other industries offer, but you can still answer questions your families have through social channels.

How to fix this: Use your social accounts to tell families about your newest offerings, funeral home renovations, community events, etc. Below, Moloney Funeral Home used their Facebook page to let their community know they’re doing some work on their exterior, and as you can see by their likes and comments, their fans appreciated it.

funeral social media mistakes

Are you making any of these mistakes?

In order to truly understand how your community views your funeral home’s social presence, ask a friend to look at your page for a few minutes. Did they find anything inappropriate? Did they think you seemed too impersonal? Did they find any of your updates interesting or of value? If not, what content would they find valuable? Sometimes, hearing an outsider’s point-of-view is exactly what you need to get jump started on the right social strategy!

What other mistakes have you seen funeral homes making on social media? Please share in the comments below!



Joe Joachim is the CEO and Founder of funeralOne, the first global solutions firm leading a movement of change for the funeral profession. For the past 11 years, he’s developed game-changing solutions that help funeral professionals increase the value of their service offerings, connect with the families of today, and become more profitable. funeralOne’s solutions include: website design, aftercare, funeral eCommerce, and personalization software.

Joe Joachim


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  8. Helene

    I got one: omitting a sibling in funeral documents when someone dies.
    Families don’t always get along. In my case, my brother’s death was not known to me until 2 1/2 weeks after his death, and when I looked for his obituary, I decided to call the funeral home to as about his autopsy, and was told I’d have to call my siblings, all of whom will not answer me, who hid his death from me and omitted my name as his sister, on his file. I have as much right to his information as they do. I will not allow my son to deal with a funeral home due to 2 similar situations. Not respecting all relatives creates very bad blood. Playing with people emotions is dangerous.


    Hello Joe,

    I just finished reading your blog about how Funeral Homes should be aware of their 13 marketing mistakes. I am wondering if you have any insight into how a flower shop could market to Funeral Homes. I specialize in funeral work and have launched a business in the Charleston, SC area. How should I approach these funeral homes?

    Thank you in advance.