How Facebook’s Change Could Hurt Your Call Volume

It’s fairly common practice today for funeral homes to leverage social media to help families spread the news about the loss of a loved one and the service information.

The most common scenario is for the funeral director to share the obituary from the funeral home website out to their business Facebook page. Families then share it from the funeral home’s Facebook page to their personal page.

Some obituaries go “viral” and will have thousands of shares, creating lots of traffic back to the funeral home’s website.

For many of my clients, Facebook has become the #1 source of traffic to their website.

In today’s internet-driven world, website traffic equals top of mind awareness which equals more at-need and pre-need calls.

On January 11, 2018 Facebook made a major announcement regarding their algorithm and it will directly impact your website traffic and potentially your call volume.

Here’s the high-level overview….

There are 3 types of posts that show up on anyone’s Facebook page.

1. Posts by friends
2. Posts by Facebook Business Pages that you’ve liked – organic reach
3. Facebook Ads from Businesses – paid reach

Facebook wants more of #1… so either #2 or #3 will be reduced.

Do you think Facebook will cut their advertising revenue (#3) to give you free organic reach (#2)?

Not likely….

So.. going forward we’ll see less of #2, making #1 and #3 more important.

Here’s what I believe that means for your Facebook strategy and website traffic….

People will rarely see your posts, even if they’ve liked your page, unless you pay to boost them.

That means posting your obits to your Facebook page won’t really matter because people won’t see the obit in their feed.

If you do post the obit to your Facebook page, and someone shares it to their personal page, there’s a good chance that it will never go viral because it originated at a business page.

Knowing this was going to be a problem for our clients we developed a work around. Here it is….

Provide every family with written instructions on how to share the obit from your website out to their personal page.

That way, the first occurrence of the obit on Facebook is at a personal page instead of a business page.

Facebook likes personal content (#1 from above) and will be more inclined to share it with their friends.

Your still get your website traffic and you may even get more traffic than before.

With this new change, I’m far less concerned about getting your obits onto the funeral home Facebook page. It’s still a good idea but not mandatory anymore.

Instead make sure that the Funeral Directors are specifically asking families to share the obit from the website to their personal page.

Why should you give them written instructions?

Two reasons…

#1 – most funeral home websites don’t make it obvious or easy

#2 – the family is experiencing trauma. Even someone who is an experienced Facebook user may have a hard time sharing the obit.

Facebook is still an extremely important marketing tool for your funeral home. If you’re not using it properly….you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build relationships with families in your community.

If you’re not 100% positive that you’re using Facebook correctly, book a strategy session with me and we’ll look at it together.

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