What is an unofficial Facebook page? We answered this question in an earlier blog but to review; an unofficial page is a Facebook business page that is created when someone “checks in” to your business with their smart phone. It’s so common for people to check in that, more often than not, your business has a Facebook page – one that you didn’t create and one about which you may be totally unaware. Think of it as a billboard for your funeral home that you didn't create and you don't know what it is on it and your entire community is viewing it and talking about it.
Of course, if you have an active Facebook page that you or someone you’ve appointed is managing, then it’s not an issue…unless you simply aren’t paying attention to your page. If that’s the case, the concerns expressed in this article may apply to you. Disclaimer: you should always be searching Facebook for your business to make sure a user has not created an unofficial page.
An unofficial or unmanaged page can easily be found by any Facebook viewer simply by searching for your business name. This means people are probably navigating to your page, they are viewing what’s there (or not there), and they may be leaving comments or reviews that are wide open for others to read. Are you concerned yet? You should be!
When a reader does find a business page that is virtually blank, this tells them you are still functioning like it’s 1969. They may wonder whether you are keeping up to date in other aspects of your business. The use of social media is so prolific in today’s economy, viewers will form opinions about you based on the lack of any active Facebook presence. In 2016, social first impressions are like a first kiss, if it's terrible you run.
Before writing this article, I did some random Facebook searches to find actual unofficial and unattended funeral home and cemetery pages so I could post examples of what I’m talking about. Here is a current Facebook page for a funeral home that is completely unattended and blank (in this article, all identifying names, numbers, and locations have been grayed out - just so you know I wanted to put everyone of these companies on blast but my team has a heart and talked me out of it):
Further down the page, the business address, a map of the location, and their telephone number is listed. Even though this unofficial, unattended page is totally blank, you can see that anyone could leave a review of the funeral home if they chose to do so. In this case, no one has given them a review. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Viewers can give the funeral home a 1 to 5 star rating, and they can leave comments with the reviews. It is a lost opportunity to ignore any review offered by a patron of your business. You can thank them for a positive review, and negative reviews offer the opportunity for you to show your concern and to try to rectify the problem. No comment at all shows readers that either you don’t care or you are clueless as to what others are saying about you. Note these star reviews I found on another unofficial page. The funeral home has an average rating of 2.3 out of 5 stars:
Below is another funeral home’s unofficial page I found that had 2 ratings, and a short comment by Gene that their services are overpriced. The commenter’s friend named Barb liked (agreed) with the comment (this is social proof and it can be your business' best friend or biggest nightmare - how you play the game will determine which one):
The comment below left on a cemetery’s unofficial page begs for a reply:
Another thing that frequently happens is that visitors to the unattended page start having fun at the expense of the funeral business. On one funeral home’s unofficial page I found, a number of people began posting silly looking selfies, and they commented on how bad each other looked. On the page below, some friends began commenting on a comical meme posted by another one of their friends. Remember, this conversation is taking place on the only Facebook page associated with this cemetery:
You may think it is not right that Facebook enables or allows this kind of thing to take place, and you’d have a right to argue your point. But it’s the way things are, and you had better drop what you are doing to rectify the situation if your funeral business has an unofficial or unattended Facebook page. Obviously, the best option is to take over the page and manage it well. If this would be too time consuming or difficult for you to consider, you can turn to the experts at DISRUPT Media. We will manage and optimize your Facebook business page to garner the positive attention your funeral home deserves. We can craft a Facebook strategy tailored to your business using our exclusive four part FUNERAL Social Design Process. Our process is what enables DISRUPT Media to claim that we are the funeral profession’s only full-service social media management firm. Our clients who are a part of our FUNERAL Social Design Process are seeing an increase in post reach and engagement of over 300%.
Ryan Thogmartin is a death care entrepreneur and the CEO of DISRUPT Media and creator of ConnectingDirectors.com. | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles
DISRUPT Media is a social media first marketing company that focuses on social storytelling for funeral companies. DISRUPT uses insights gained through analytics to build creative campaigns that achieve actual business goals.