In their highly attended session, Sybil Stershic and Caroline Golon spoke to attendees at the #BlogPaws conference about how to tell their shelter’s social media story. Julie Duke, executive director of the Pedigree Foundation who introduced the pair noted that, “Social media plays a huge role and we need to get the word out.” The Pedigree Foundation provides unrestricted funds to qualified 501(c)3 shelters.
This session at the conference was a workshop where attendees used the knowledge provided to formulate social media plans for their own shelters and rescues. Sybil kicked off the session by saying, “Once upon a time has long been the basis for every good story, it’s where the hidden treasures reside for the content for your shelter or rescue.”
Caroline shared that she has leveraged her blogs to raise more than $80,000 for various shelters. “I have used content to people keep their pets. The better your content, the more people will share your blogs and the more pets will get adopted.”
- Written content
How do you create this great content that will get shared?
- Plan what you’ll share
- Plan how you’ll share it
- Plan where you’ll share it
- Plan what form it will take
- Plan how often you will share
Caroline said that, “Planning can eliminate the stress that comes from sitting down to write a blog post but not knowing what you’ll be blogging about.” Planning, she said, also helps “exercise your content writing muscles.”
What is “good” content?
- It makes you stand out
- It is shareable
- It builds your credibility
- It is not about you, it is about what your audience wants to hear
- It should be powerful and tell an inspiring story that educates and solves a problem your audience is facing
What kind of content works?
- Stories of amazing animals
- Stories of animals with unusual characteristics
- Unusual animal friendships
- Tips and hacks (for example, Caroline asked, did you know that spraying the bottom of the litter box with Pam makes it easier to clean?)
- Do-it-yourself pet crafts or recipes
- Uplifting adoption stories
- Volunteer focus pieces
- Stories about pets overcoming all odds
What tools should you use to distribute your content?
- Your blog
- Your social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn)
- Google+ (because it’s highly searchable)
- Media outreach
Shelter and rescue operators were urged to put forth content that doesn’t always have that “Adopt me now, or else” feeling. They should look to content that shows a pet in a great light. For example, rather than showing a sad dog in a kennel with a caption that reads, “Adopt Rocky now… his time is running out!” You should show Rocky outside playing frisbee and have a caption that reads, “Rocky loves to play frisbee, wouldn’t you love to have him as part of your family?”
It is all about the words, images and “feeling” that shelters put forth that can help make a difference in the lives of the pets in their care. How well is your content working for your shelter?