No doubt social media is a great way to help bring more attention to your adoptables, along with other activities and campaigns going on in your organization. Unfortunately, it’s also a very crowded platform, and you compete with zillions of other messages to grab potential supporters and adopters attention.
While posting charismatic adoptable bios and huggable images is a great start, newsfeeds are crowded, images are everywhere, and it’s very easy for that right adopter to miss the dog or cat they’ve been looking for.
The good news is social media is an ever-evolving field, so part of the secret for keeping your message in front of the right eyes is to always be open and exploring new strategies. This includes both opportunities you might not have taken advantage of yet, along with new ones that pop up.
Here are some opportunities you might be overlooking on three popular social networks.
TELL YOUR STORY ON LINKEDIN
A lot of animal organizations don’t take advantage of LinkedIn, and this is a big mistake. Not only is it a great place to connect with adopters, volunteers, and donors, it also provides a fantastic platform to tell your organization’s story (as well as those of your animals) to new audiences.
Some great ways to use LinkedIn include:
- Set up an organization page where you post pictures, blog posts, volunteer spotlights, and other animal advocacy related content (both yours and others) daily.
- Ask your staff, volunteers, adopters, and supporters to like your page and when appropriate add their connection to you as part of their bio.
- Take advantage of LinkedIn publishing platform and have key staff members and volunteers write engaging content. This could be lessons learned, tips and tricks, and other thoughtful pieces that either help educate others or share stories. These should not be self-promotional Anyone who works in animal rescue has powerful stories to share, here is a great place to do so and reach new audiences.
THE POWER OF THE PIN
Pinterest is a fantastic platform for animal organizations because it’s so highly visual and provides the ability to link your sharable images directly back to your website. Pinterest also offers longevity, something most other social networks can’t brag about. Versus Facebook or Twitter, which speed updates through a newsfeed and are lost to the social media abyss seconds, minutes, and if you are lucky hours after posted, Pinterest pins continue to be re-pinned months after originally pinned.
You need to make sure you use this to your advantage though by having pins that link directly back to your website. So think about pinning blogs (with cute images), adoptable, tips and tricks, or events to Pinterest linking directly back to your site.
You can also:
- Get your volunteers involved. Make one board a shared board that volunteers and supporters can pin to.
- Ask key volunteers and staff to pin to their own Pinterest, perhaps in a special album about your organization or animal rescue overall.
- Don’t only share your content, share others as well to make your Pinterest page a destination people come to for the latest and greatest info, education, and inspiration.
- Think about hosting a contest on Pinterest (we will go into more detail on the many ways you can use contests in a future blog).
- Pin daily to keep your boards active and engaging
Instagram is another highly visual channel and a great way for your staff and volunteers to tell a story about your organization and animals. You should think of Instagram as a visual storyboard. This is your chance, both through your organization’s page, and through that of your staff, volunteers, and supporters to tell the story of who you are, what you do, and the people and animals you help on a daily basis.
Take people into your world. Everyone in animal advocacy knows it has high points, and low points. Moments you feel like your heart might burst from happiness and those when you feel like it might burst from sadness. Help bring people into that story through images.
Some examples might include:
- Tell the story of an adoptable on your organization’s page and staff/volunteer’s pages by teaching fosters and volunteers to capture “day in the life” moments and post using a specific hashtag. So for example, say the animal in the spotlight is a dog named Roger, the hashtag could be #adoptRoger.
- Also use popular hashtags for your local area. So for example, I live in Portland Maine, so hashtags I’d include would be #portlandme and #portlandmaine, and even just #maine.
- Give volunteers and staff specific organization branded hashtags to use when they are posting pictures. Keep this simple and on brand, using your organization name.
- Feature a new adoptable each week and spend that week taking viewers through the adventures of that animal.
All of these things help tell stories that inspire connection and action among Instagram users.
These are just a few suggestions to get your brains pumping on ideas and ways you can use some of these tactics in your organization. As you are looking at your 2015 outreach strategies take a look at new ways you might be able to use common networks to stand out from the crowd.