Facebook reports that there are more than 200 million active users. More than a million of them log in to Facebook daily. Such a powerful (and FREE!) tool is a great way to market your animals to a potentially huge audience.
Here are three things you can do to get your animals some PR on the most popular social network:
- Promote your adoptable animals on your Facebook profile page.
- Log on to your shelter's Facebook page, and post either a link to an animal's profile on your website or to a photo or video of that animal. (You can do this by clicking the icons next to the "Attach" feature under the status box.)
- Add a fun message in the text box to "sell" the animal. Sky's the limit: you can list his likes and dislikes, describe what he's looking for in a pet parent, or even declare his relationship status. If an animal has special needs, consider mentioning them.
- Click the "Share" button to publish your post.
Haven't got the time? Turn to your volunteers. Uploading photos of adoptable animals to Facebook is a great activity for younger volunteers, as well as those who must volunteer from home or aren't yet adequately trained to do hands-on work with animals.
- Get others to spread the word.
Now it's time to ask your supporters to feature your animals on their Facebook profiles.
Sample instructions to share with your supporters:
- Post instructions on your own Facebook page (you can use our sample instructions, below)
- Include a message to your community on your website or blog with instructions
- Send a note to your community through your e-newsletter
- Ask your staff to share their favorite animals on their personal Facebook pages.
How to post photos of our shelter animals to your profile:
- See the "Share" button? It's on the bottom right of the photo with the plus sign next to it. This button appears under both wall photos and album photos. Now click it!
- When a small box pops up, click the "Share" button again to post the photo to your profile. If you like, add a message, e.g. "Spread the word! This cat is up for adoption at the (insert name of your shelter here)."
- You can share a single photo, or you can post an entire album to your profile. Way to spruce up your wall! Thanks for giving our animals much-needed PR.
- Ask your Facebook fans to donate their status to one of your animals.
- Post a photo of the animal
- Say that you are donating your status to this animal today
- Include a link to the animal's profile on your website
- Provide a brief one-liner about the animal
Example: "We found Tiger emaciated by the highway, but now he's fattened up and waiting for that welcome-home feast -- with you!"
- Ask your fans to copy and paste your message onto their own page
See the example below from the ASPCA's fan page, which donates its status to a shelter animal weekly.
If you continue to donate your status to an animal every week, eventually your fans will catch on and spread the word about your animals.
P.S. We know of at least one animal who found a home with the help of Facebook. Read Tulip's tale here.