Livestreaming Has Opened a Giant Golden Door for Funeral Homes
Social Networks and how we interact with them evolve rapidly and the newest trends are perfect for the death care industry. The driving force behind these developing opportunities is the normalization and wide-spread acceptance of online voyeurism. Sounds creepy right? Not for digital natives. This new era is the child of Reality TV… except live and unedited – So way more exciting.
The acceptance of voyeuristic tendencies has been incubating for years on social media platforms. It’s related to curiosity (as in curious about other people’s lives) and we “research” them by viewing status updates, images and videos. We are continuously developing technology to quench social curiosity and the latest trend may have crossed the line to a light form of voyeurism.
Voyeur : a prying observer who is usually seeking the sordid or the scandalous
Live broadcasting services and time-limit video services like Facebook Live, Snapchat, Periscope, and Instagram Live, are a combination of what is like to watch reality television and view the live security footage behind the counter at your local hardware store. Both are incredibly captivating activities. Live-streaming apps allow you to look into the live lives of people and businesses. This allows viewers to compare the lives of others to their own life. And more importantly, the viewing experience gives them something compelling to tell their friends about.
What does the normalization of voyeurism mean for death care companies?
Currently, the general American outlook on the subject of death is that it’s “weird” to publicly express interest in it and things surrounding it. But privately… it’s endlessly fascinating.
Active Supporting versus Passive Supporting
One reason that gaining traction on social media is challenging for the funeral industry is the question: “How do we get people to publicly show interest in an industry that is a social taboo to be interested in?” Disrupt Media continues to shift with online trends, working with homes to successfully build local awareness online in the face of this challenge. The rise of livestreaming is going to skyrocket potential reach for death care companies on social media because it has created a unique situation.
Traditionally, to get someone to see your content these networks require the user to take a physical action including liking, sharing, or commenting and in doing so they are publicly showing support for said content. The main reason people take an action on social media is to build their personal brand online (to show their friends what they like). And, NEWSFLASH, most people don’t want a funeral home in their personal online identity – It’s fragile and carefully crafted and, as we mentioned before, if you like death publicly you are weird. This is where the new trend in livestreaming can be a goldmine for Funeral Homes…
Why Livestreaming is good for Funeral Homes
In order to continue to socially spread content while livestreaming, many social networks have implemented a type of secondary notification. This is when you see a notification like: “Your friend Ryan likes Pepsi. Like Pepsi’s Facebook Page.” Or Your friend Bill is watching Busch Funeral Home’s livestream. Tune in before it ends!.” These are public notifications that trigger in the background when a person actually feels like they are taking a private action. Additionally, taking actions inside the livestream feels more private… it’s a micro-community of immediate live-steamers with a common experience within the larger Facebook empire. That comradery invites interaction (likes and comments) and although it feels private, the action notifications are also pushed out onto your Facebook friend’s feeds.
This combination of a facade of privacy paired with automated passive notifications makes livestreaming a powerful audience-building tool for funeral homes. Because if your ultra-cool friend Bill is brave enough (or ignorant enough) to let Facebook publicly announce that he is watching a livestream by a funeral home, then suddenly it’s okay, or even cool, for you to do it too.
And let’s face it – The funeral profession is fascinating. What could they possibly be live streaming? Are there dead bodies? Is it a funeral? Who died? Do I know them? Is it an in-process cremation? Probably not, but it could be a look at the room bodies are stored in, an interesting memorial product you carry, or an explanation of embalming tools and processes, or even just digging a grave. Anything that is ethical to share and is typically hidden from the public is amazing content just waiting to quench the curiosity of your local audience.
Justin Crowe is the creator of Lifeware – ceramics glazed with ashes. Click here to request free product samples mailed to your Funeral Home.