Shelter Cat Seeks Employment on LinkedIn
In my line of work (stalking, er, following you guys on social media and sharing what you’re doing with other shelters), seeing the above post from Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation on Monday was my equivalent of the first man on the moon.
The first use of the the professional network LinkedIn as a marketing tool to get an animal adopted?! Whoa!! It’s like when SPCA of Wake County ran an adoption promotion on Groupon last June and, more recently, when the Humane Society of Greater Dayton teamed up with local business on Pinterest to raise funds and get animals adopted. What really blows my mind is that these communications tools, including and especially Facebook, were not designed with animal shelters in mind—so it requires out-of-the-box thinking and innovative connection-making to put them to work for you.
Kinda like 7-year-old Pierre, the “Experienced Office Cat” who lists “four-paw typing” and “paperweight” as his marketable skills, seeking employment. Check out his full profile here.
The tuxedo cat came to the Walnut Creek, CA, agency weighing 40 pounds, after being overfed in his previous home. “He could barely walk, and was too large to play,” says ARF’s marketing manager, Sara Kersey. “He’s gradually lost over 13 pounds. He is exercised daily by staff and volunteers, and he’s on a special diet. He’s still quite a big boy, so he has some special needs, including a carpeted place to live, a larger-than-usual litter box, and an adopter willing to be a part of his epic weight-loss journey.”
At the recent monthly meeting during which staff discusses longer-term animals and how to get them adopted, Pierre took center stage. “Sometimes these animals’ needs are best met by our animal care or behavior staff, but oftentimes it’s just a matter of getting them seen, and that’s why I attend,” says Kersey. “We talked abut how Pierre’s personality and needs would make him a great office cat. He’s independent and likes to be where the action is, but he isn’t particularly cuddly. He was even fostered by one of our volunteers in her workplace, so they knew the environment would suit him nicely.”
They took the idea and ran with it, creating a resume/flyer and business cards for Pierre. “Staff brought him out to meet-and-greet during an onsite event and handed out cards to his visitors,” says Kersey. “We blew up his resume and posted it on his adoption condo, and did a fun photo shoot of him with some office supplies to post on Facebook.”
“We had so much fun acting as Pierre’s ‘recruiters’ that one of our marketing coordinators suggested creating a LinkedIn profile. I loved the idea and thought it would be a great way to take the concept over the top and get him some attention and exposure online.”
Since his profile was posted, Pierre has gotten news coverage and, as of this writing, made 66 LinkedIn connections. “I’m envisioning professionals outside of the animal welfare industry seeing the name ‘Pierre Cat’ or his face among the professional human headshots up on their screen and not being able to resist clicking on his profile to read about him!” says Kersey. “It’s just unusual enough to get some attention. Of course, my colleagues at ARF and Pierre’s volunteer fan base immediately linked in with him and suggested him to all of their connections. I’m hoping the right person will stumble upon his profile in this unexpected place and come in for a face-to-face ‘interview,’ whether they want to bring him to their office or home.”
As we wait for the results of Pierre’s job search (you know he’s got a good answer for “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”), please share how you’ve used social media in an out-of-the-box way to raise awareness of your work.