I've been working with dog rescues for several years now, mostly helping with adoptions and fostering some fantastic puppies and dogs throughout the years. I've seen rescues struggle with everything from fundraising to getting their information out to the public. Most of the rescues I've worked with are in the Southern states and adopt the majority of the pets out to New England states. This makes it near impossible to promote the rescue and pets in person.
Enter social media. A blessing for rescues and shelters everywhere, but especially for the type of rescues I've been working with.
In honor of International Pet Blogger Month presented by BlogPaws, I wanted to share a few tips on how rescues and shelters can maximize the use of social media.
1. Take Great Photos. "A picture is worth a thousand words" really rings true when it comes to showcasing homeless pets who are seeking a forever home. First impressions are so very important.
When someone is looking to adopt, chances are they are sifting through thousands of profiles online. More often than not, a single line list of pets pops up with a name, short description and thumbnail photo. That teeny-tiny little thumbnail photo needs to pop and catch their attention! So many times I've seen shelters post fuzzy, dark, unattractive photos. Sure, we all know how busy a rescuer is, but this is one aspect where you must make the time to get good photos! They need to be clear and bright... get outside and use natural light whenever possible! The subjects should be looking at the camera, happy and alert. The photos also need to be up to date. So often, especially with older pets who may take longer to adopt out, photos are old and "tired." Updating them will give the pet a fresh face in the adoption world!
Whenever possible, enlist the help of local photographers who may be willing to volunteer their time. Whether they're professionals or hobbyist, chances are they'll have great ideas for capturing photos that will help your pets stand out in a crowd.
I've retaken photos of many of the dogs we've fostered and had the rescues up date their pictures online. Remember, the cuter and more eye catching the photo, the more looks the pet is going to receive and the more chances she's going to have to find her perfect forever home!
2. Share Those Photos & Profiles. Seems simple enough, but so many shelters don't take advantage of this. Post them to Facebook, Tweet them, Pin them to a board on Pinterest, Blog them, Instagram them with a link to the pet's profile!
I'm known to share many pets on Facebook, as well as Tweet and Pin profiles often. I love my "Adopt Don't Shop" board on Pinterest! "Monkey see, monkey do" really comes into effect... once one person shares something, you know the ball keeps rolling as your friends and family start "liking" and reposting. Everyone loves a cute animal picture.... share, share, share!
3. You Tube is Your Friend. What's better than uber cute photos? Videos! Get out the cell phones or camera and take some short clips. Post them to the pets' profile pages, as well as on You Tube. You can even post short 15 second clips on Instagram.
Some pets just come across better in video than still pictures. Their personalities show through so much more in video. Take advantage of this powerful - and free! - tool that we all should get into the habit of using more. I started taking short clips of our foster dogs and having the rescues link them to their profiles... we instantly saw more hits on the profiles with videos attached!
Here's a clip I had uploaded in 2011 of then foster baby Kelly, now Harper.
Remember, there are thousands of pets sitting in shelters right now, just waiting for their loving forever home. Adopt, Don't Shop. And share, tweet, pin and blog away about those babies who are longing for a home of their home!