Apparently, lots of people. According to a recent interview with the folks at FuneralNet, one of their funeral home clients received more than 8,000 visits via Facebook in the past year. Think about it. Someone’s best friend passes away. They post a tribute to them on Facebook with a link to your funeral home. Their friends comment and might re-post. Chances are, many of these people live in your town. Even if they don’t like your page, they’ll likely remember your name. This activity fits with Facebook’s mission of giving people the power to share and making the world more open and connected.
So, what should you do?
1. Post obituaries daily. If you have an obituary program built into your website that feeds your Facebook page, that is even better!
2. Include photos whenever possible.
3. Post a brief obituary on your Facebook page with a link to the full obituary on your website. Google loves links!
4. Share the link with your families. Some may not have a Facebook account or understand what it is exactly, but if you share the link, others might appreciate it.
When measuring Facebook, you don’t want to necessarily look at the number of Likes you have. People may be hesitant to Like your page. Don’t feel bad.
Facebook director of security, Max Kelly wrote about Facebook’s feature that allows loved ones to report people as deceased so that the profile can stay on a site as a living memorial. Kelly said that the discussion of what to do with profiles postmortem came up after his best friend, a fellow Facebook employee, passed away four years ago.
“When someone leaves us, they don’t leave our memories or our social network,” he wrote. “To reflect that reality, we created the idea of ‘memorialized’ profiles as a place where people can save and share their memories of those who’ve passed.”
The wall remains, as do photos, but Facebook removes other sensitive information and also ensures that the profile does not show up in the “suggestions” section of the news feed. It’s just a small form, and it’s somewhat hidden on the site, but could make the world of difference to someone wanting to memorialize a dear friend or family member. Please make sure your families know.
(Originally posted in October 2012; updated July 2017)