Welcome to our tips for cat rescues who want to use social media to boost their profile and, hopefully, their adoption rates.
In 2018 even the smallest rescued realises that they need basic social media skills to help maximise adoptions. What would you, as a social media savvy volunteer, suggest to help them save more lives. Here’s what we hope will help” [Originally published 2013 – extensively revised May 2018]
- What is Social Media?
- Does my Rescue need Social Media?
- Your Media options
- Tips for Rescue Social Media
- Next steps
What is Social Media?
It’s easy to become stressed with what is known as ‘social media’ Oh no, yet another communication tool, another technological development. Take a breath, don’t stress! Be positive, this is another pet adoption marketing idea to add to your armoury and get more cats into forever homes.
If you can’t understand social media, get volunteers on board for your cause who do know. A daughter, nephew or other family member can provide a lot of help, without emptying a litter tray, so get them to teach you basic techniques. As you become familiar with how things work, you will realise how valuable social media can be for you.
- When you feel pressured, just remember, ‘knowledge is power’ and this knowledge is for you to use to benefit animals, and rescues, wherever you are. Anyone CAN learn to use social media. Pick the ones that speak to your heart.
Small Cat Rescues Do Need Social Media!
Even a one tiny woman rescue organisation needs more pet adoption marketing ideas. If she wants to reach her target audience for her cat shelter and save rescue lives. We are all lifelong learners, so let’s enjoy this social media ride whether there is one of us, or a room full of volunteers.
Social Media Options Available
If your rescue is not online at all but you think it should be. Start by introducing those who head your rescue to main players like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Put forward a case for a basic presence on each one, or one at a time. Describe simply and clearly the potential to encourage adoptions and spread news through, say, a Facebook page or Twitter shares.
A basic blog would also shows the cats waiting for adoption, but remember rescues often have a limited budget, so you may be asked to see what you can do for ‘free’. A platform like Blogger is free and can be amazing so don’t dismiss it out of hand – can it work for you?
You main challenge will be finding a dedicated team for maintenance work
How you handle updates is critical. Have two or more volunteers willing to train to maintain a web presence (blog/FB) and your social media (Instagram/Twitter/Tumblr). The tasks will not be hard work if several volunteers work a single day with one general ‘admin’ to keep an overall eye on postings.
Top Tips for Cat Rescues
Recruit a social media savvy person to your rescue
it could be the silver surfer flaunting her iPad, or a junior member, texting like crazy between emptying litter trays; or even your rescue rabbit expert. Use their knowledge to help you set up a page on Facebook, or a blog page, and make sure the Rescue provides pictures. Do some homework in ‘how a page is set up‘ then Knuckle Down and DO IT!
Encourage every single member who visits Facebook to share your rescue’s posts
Post each day if you can. Update on adoptions, introduce new arrivals, or report the progress of an appeal; get members talking and emotionally engaged. Share posting duties with two or three regular members so no-one feels overburdened.
Balance your output too – be honest, rescues have good and bad times. You can also use your social media to share tips on important subjects like :
- living with a cat for the first time
- bringing a new kitten home to another cat
- telling a first time cat owner what to buy
- or moving cats to a new home
- or helping a worried owner when a cat is not eating and hiding under a bed
- bringing home a foster cat
Cat care and welfare engagement can encourage people to make sure their cat gets proper vet care and a cat isn’t dumped after adoption. This happens and it is wrong so being approachable though your social media might form a bridge to a desperate owner can get in touch about coping (or not) with a cat issue.
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As you gain in confidence expand your social media skills
Open a Twitter account for the rescue. The key with Twitter is INTERACTION. Introduce yourself, respond to a greeting, update on adoptions and any dramas that happen. Ensure you meet, greet and circulate with the ‘anipal community’; search for rescue hashtags like #RehomeHour to meet animal focused tweeters and bloggers.
- TOP TIP: Don’t just push in and ask for shares, take time to see how people attending a Twitter party or event behave. You can follow friendly folk and they may share later on.
So, don’t be scared, get out there, get your rescue into the sunshine of success and Blog, Tweet and Pin your way out into the world! Good luck and may the Rescue Force with with you!