Funeral Homes Using Facebook and Twitter to Connect WIth Community

June 9, 2010
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I will be speaking this Friday at the Independent Funeral Directors of Florida convention on “Social Media in the Funeral Industry“. This is a great article that confirms what I will be trying to get funeral directors in Florida to open up to.

SAGINAW, MI? Facebook and Twitter aren?t just for keeping up with friends. Funeral homes such as Wakeman Funeral Home Inc. in Saginaw are using the social networking sites for marketing and to let people know who has passed away.

Wakeman, located at 1218 N. Michigan, began using Facebook and Twitter in the fall. So far, reaction is positive.

?We have received a number of comments from friends thanking us for information,? said Rodney Wakeman, co-owner and funeral home director. ?People are very open and receiving… I?ve never heard any one individual saying, ?Why are we on Facebook?? or ?Why are we on Twitter??

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Wakeman said the Internet sites allow the funeral home to let friends and followers know about deaths, obituaries and funeral arrangements. Wakeman wants to be where people are looking, he said, and that?s on the computer.

?It?s just a sign of the times ? people appreciate that they are receiving the information,? he said.

While young people use social media more than older people, Wakeman said there are older people who understand it and are on the media platforms as well.

Additionally, Wakeman uses the sites for public relations and letting readers know what the funeral home is doing. He said it is having a big impact.

The funeral home began upgrading both the interior and exteriors of its building, and Wakeman said he began posting photos of the process.

?We received a great number of positive comments from our friends on Facebook. That continued throughout the entire project,? he said. ?It would go to a point where I would see people out at a church, the grocery store, and they would comment on the Facebook page and ask how the project was going.?

Wakeman Funeral Home is one of several local funeral homes using social media to spread information.

Martin Funeral Home in Mount Morris, Vassar and Fairgrove uses Twitter to announce deaths and visitation times and Facebook to let fans know what the funeral home is doing in the community. O?Guinn Family Funeral Home in Birch Run, Clio and Montrose uses Facebook to connect with the community.

?It helps us reach a broader base of client?s families and keeps us connected a little better,? said President and Owner Don O?Guinn. ?We keep people posted on civic activities that we do.?

O?Guinn said he also is using the Internet to network and increase the funeral home?s advertising.

Adam Martin, president of Martin Funeral Home, uses Facebook in a similar way. He posts events the funeral home is involved with, such as attending the Michigan Funeral Directors Convention and planting flowers in Vassar.

?We use it so people see we are active in the community, which is important,? he said.

Wakeman uses Facebook primarily for public relations and death notices, and Twitter for death notices with links to the home?s website.

To get friends and followers, the funeral homes use different ways of letting people know about social media.

Wakeman Funeral Home has a TV in its lounge that scrolls information, and that includes details about social media and encourages people to sign up as friends and contacts.

To alert people about the Martin Funeral Home, Martin said they use the Facebook logo in newspaper advertisements and display it on their website.

?As time passes, more and more people will be accustomed to it,? he said.

Source: MLive.com

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