Five Tips for Using Social Media Ads to Promote Adoptable Horses
Historically, horse adoption has not been as common as it is for smaller companion animals. To this day, many people are not aware that adopting horses is even an option. This is why social media advertising plays such an important role in promoting adoptable horses and spreading awareness of horses in need. Whether you are trying to find homes for an off-the-track Thoroughbred or a long-stay equine, social media is an effective tool for reaching a wider audience. Here are five tips for promoting adoptable horses through social media advertising.
1. Facebook and Instagram still have the most users.
We can all agree that everyone enjoys pictures of animals, and Facebook and Instagram remain the most popular social media platforms where users can connect with content from your organization. While there has been massive growth in platforms like TikTok, if you are investing in social media ads for the first time, then we encourage you to start the Facebook/Instagram advertising tool (which has the same ad tool since they are both owned by Meta).
Encourage your staff and volunteers to take photos of their favorite horses for fun behind-the-scenes content, and make sure each of your horses has a set of quality photographs and videos. Although it’s great to find professional photographers, it is not required to obtain dynamic pictures of your animals. Make sure that each photo professionally represents your organization and showcases each adoptable horse's unique personality. When posting on Facebook, make sure to follow a schedule based on when your audience is most active (e.g., lunch hour breaks, after-work hours, etc.).
2. Boost your posts on Facebook.
When you post on your organization’s page, you’ll see the boost button or receive a notice from Facebook suggesting you boost your top-performing posts. There’s an important reason why: Boosting just a few posts each month increases the reach of all organic posts and content. You can also schedule and create ads in Facebook Ads Manager. However, boosting existing posts can be a simpler and equally effective way to get your message to a wider audience. To get started boosting,select posts on Facebook that are performing well 24-48 hours after posting. A small boost can go a long way – spending as little as $50 can significantly increase post views.
3. Tailor your posts to your intended audience.
When boosting, you’ll find the process to be intuitive and enjoyable. One of the most powerful aspects is the option to target your post toward specified audiences. For adoptable horses, this can be a great way to customize your ad to better reach potential homes. You can target people in specific counties and states, and try to connect with people who have specific interests that may indicate they’re a fit for your adoptable horse. For example, if you have a companion horse, you can try targeting your post towards people who have an interest in hobby farming, small acreage, and horse grooming. Hopefully, you’ll start to connect with a few people who love horses and have the room to open their hearts and home to a new friend! Likewise, if you have the perfect trail horse looking for an adventurous adopter, you can target people who have an interest in trail riding.
The content that audiences are interested in is constantly changing, so this is an opportunity to creatively get into the mindset of your adopters. Think about what they like, where they live, and how they’re interacting with content on social media.
In the same way that all horses are different, adopters are also different. Before building promotional posts for your adoptable horses, consider who your intended audiences are. Then, use language and imagery that’ll best engage your target adopter. For example, consider the difference between people looking for a recently retired racehorse versus someone looking for a companion horse. In many cases, these two types of horses will have adopters with very different horse-human relationships and goals. Your posts and ads should reflect these differences.
Take a look at the examples shown here and below and notice the differences in the photos and language used in each. Example A used a photo of someone riding the advertised horse, which is paired with a caption acknowledging that these adopters are likely looking at adopting a Thoroughbred because they’d like to compete or hit the trails. Meanwhile, example B shows a staff member interacting with a horse on an emotional level and shares a short message to motivate adopters to make a difference in the lives of horses since many companion horse adopters are driven emotionally and prioritize bonding with their future horse. The key is to understand your audience and help them imagine a life with the horse you’re promoting.
4. Test a variety of creative content to see what resonates most with your audience.
Social media is all about trial and error, so try out different language, imagery, and formats for your posts. For example, create posts both with people and horses, or just horses. If you notice a difference in engagement, pivot your content in that direction.
To evaluate how your content is performing, we recommend collecting monthly social media metrics to evaluate what is resonating most with your audience. Typically, you’ll want to track the reach and engagement on each posts Reach indicates how many people were exposed to your post. Engagement indicates how many people interacted with your post by liking, sharing, or commenting. If you’re running a paid ad or have boosted a post, you’ll want to add metrics that measure your ad’s performance. For example, if you run an advertisement intended to drive people to an adoptable horse’s profile (a traffic-intended ad), you’ll want to pay attention to how many clicks your post generated to that profile.
You can also test your posts by running a paid ad with a/b testing. When creating an ad, you can select this option and then create two nearly-identical versions of the same ad. By changing just one variable (like the image, for example), Meta will run a test and let you know which version performed best.
Social media is constantly changing. Just because something works today doesn’t mean it’ll still work in a few months. Continue to test different ideas and formats even when you’ve found something that works.
5. Gather user feedback whenever possible.
One of the most valuable tools available to you is user feedback! Every time you receive an adoption application or inquiry, use that as an opportunity to better understand your audience and gauge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Make it a routine part of your adoption conversations to ask about how they found your organization and why they chose to take the next step and contact you. You can also make this an automated part of your online form.
Although horse adoption is not as publicized as dog and cat adoption, social media is a driving force to change this, and advertising on social media elevates the reach of your adoption content. In addition to creating compelling content, make sure to update your social media channels as frequently as possible.
You can start leveraging social media ads as early as today. So, grab your cameras and get ready to help your horses find their homes!