When Guilford County Animal Services found itself with a number of dogs who needed some extra marketing attention, they turned to live streaming on social media to put them in the spotlight and pique the community’s interest in virtual pet adoptions. Heidi Mitchell, Virtual Adoption Counselor at Guilford County, shared that they tried two different live showcases of their pets back in April.
“Our adoption showcases have been received VERY well and we’ve had such a success that we are planning to have one a month going forward to showcase our long stay pets,” Heidi noted. In fact, in early June Guilford County Animal Services also did an adoption fair for senior pets, long-timers, heartworm positive dogs, and FIV/FELV cats that resulted in over 20 pets adopted!
The power of the live stream has shown up in other ways too, she said. “We have had a lot of success with live streaming over the last year in general. We often will go live to share our ‘Snacks to Relax’ sessions on Tuesdays, where we walk through the kennels giving the animals a treat. We have a lot of positive feedback, questions, and have had several adoptions stem from it as well.”
Be sure to know the dogs you’re filming and play to their strengths. In the first session, there were toys out in the yard when a toy-possessive dog came in. We were able to talk about it, but painted her in the best light we could. In the second session, we were sure to have toys up and while we mentioned her toy possession, we were able to show much more of her personality.
Have someone to organize your volunteers / dog presenters. Both times we had a person directing people and dogs in terms of when to come on, when to go, and generally making sure things went smoothly behind the scenes. It was great and made it run like butter!
Be sure to get fosters involved! Both times we had our wonderful fosters bring their pets for extra exposure.
Engage and talk to your viewers! We get SO much information out there during our snacks to relax walkthroughs and our audience ends up learning a ton.
Don’t forget that even though you’re showcasing the dogs and cats on film… you’re really showcasing adoptions and your facility in general. During our first session, someone called about a dog she saw on camera that had just been adopted, but we talked, and the family ended up adopting a dog with a similar personality that had been here even longer! We also had someone call in about a dog named Snookie in our first session, but she was not a good fit when they met her in person with their dog. Instead, they ended up adopting a dog that wasn’t featured on the live stream but got along well with their dog. So really we could say that 5 dogs were adopted from the first session as a direct result of our live showcase, because of these other pets who found homes with viewers.
Adoption Promotions for Harder-to-Place Dogs and Cats | ASPCA Pro
Long Term Stay Marketing Strategy | Sploot! Marketing
7 Tips for Going Live During Shelter & Rescue Emergencies | Maddie’s Fund
Live, Authentic, Imperfect: The Power of Livestreaming