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Animal Shelters & Social Media: The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship

Photo Courtesy of chenected.aiche.org

This year’s October issue of DOGFANCY had a great article by Kim Campbell Thornton about how marketing and social media can empower shelters. As a public relations specialist and a supporter of animal shelters, I was glad to see that the use of social media within a shelter’s marketing plan is finally going main stream.  In my opinion, social media has been overlooked far too long in the animal shelter world and it’s exciting to see it being used more and more. The whole point of the article in DOGFANCY was to showcase how shelters are getting creative with their community relations plan to draw in more potential adopters while gaining community support.

Some of the creative marketing ideas that Thornton listed were:

  • “senior citizen discounts

    A child’s birthday party at the Humane Society of Huron Valley

  • fundraisers featuring bingo night
  • birthday parties for kids
  • furry speed dating
  • money-back guarantees
  • attractive professional photos
  • clever copy”(Thornton, 31)

Thornton went on to say that “outside-the-kennel” thinking is what will ultimately help shelters achieve their goals.

The Nevada Humane Society in Reno was highlighted in this article as their Executive Director Bonney Brown has come up with some very clever events. Some of those events are:

  • “a Valentine’s Day promotion including a three-hour Furry Speed Dating event
  • a 10-day Mardi Gras adoption promotion with a “Mardi Paws” parade featuring animals who had been in the shelter the longest and came with reduced adoption fees
  • a Presidents Day adoption promotion
  • an Arbor Day promotion where adopters received a free tree from a local nursery and light bulbs from the local energy company
  • a car dealership pays for Pet of the Week ads and people who test-drive a car get discounted pet adoptions
  • Moms get a special deal on adoptions on Mother’s Day
  • an Independence Day ice cream social
  • having the shelter stay open late on Halloween so families can come trick-or-treat” (Thornton, 32).

As for the use of social media, Thornton gave great real-world examples of how shelters are utilizing these free tools.

The Humane Society of Boulder Valley in Colorado utilizes Facebook to:

  • “announce events
  • post information about specific animals
  • request donations of needed items
  • remind pet owners of seasonal concerns” (Thornton, 32)

The Baltimore Humane Society uses Twitter to:

  • “call for foster homes and volunteers
  • feature pets for adoption
  • post YouTube videos of available pets
  • announce events and media coverage” (Thornton, 32)

Destroying the stereotype of a dark, damp, poorly-kept kennel is something social media and creative marketing strategies can accomplish for shelters.  As Brown said in this article, “Make the shelter a fun place instead of a place people dread” (Thornton, 32). If animal shelters will continue to embrace the new possibilities that social media and marketing can bring, I truly believe that more animals would find “fur-ever” homes-and isn’t that what it’s all about? 🙂

***If you’d like to read the article I received this information from, here’s the data for the DOGFANCY magazine the article was in:

DOGFANCY, OCT. 2012, Volume 43/Number 10***

The Future Buzz: An Awesome PR-related blog

Photo Courtesy of techiemania.com

http://www.problogger.net defines blogs as “communities that put people into contact with other people of similar interests and then they are able to form relationships where they can learn, share ideas, make friends with and even do business with people from around the world.”

Blogs become successful when users keep coming back to write and share their knowledge on certain topics that others may find useful or inspiring. This dedication and interest in that certain blog creates relationships that are quite beneficial to users. http://www.thefuturebuzz.com is definitely a blog that users will find helpful.

http://www.thefuturebuzz.com is a blog that is dedicated to web marketing and PR strategies. The blog’s purpose is to keep users up to date on new trends in the online marketing and PR worlds. I believe that this blog helps users to easily navigate through the endless knowledge there is about social media. It’s written in a very conversational but professional way that provides the readers with information that is easy to read. The content is spilt into eight different sections (blogging, digital marketing and PR, inspiration, links, SEO, opinions, the social web and web trends). Having the information organized in this way makes navigating this site quite easy. http://socialmediatoday.com says that “highly-ranked blogs are inevitably those that focus in on something quite specific and offer highly relevant information on that topic and only that topic.” The Future Buzz blog really focuses on the main areas for marketing and PR in the internet today and I believe that that is why it is a very popular blog.

The blog’s host is Adam Singer. Now, users may write for this blog (as guest writers) but Singer is the editor. Singer is quite experienced in PR and marketing, so he does know what he’s writing about. Here are the credentials he listed on his About page:

  • Create viral web campaigns and applications which engage thousands of bloggers and millions of readers.
  • Help clients achieve consistent increases in organic web traffic, conversions and inbound PR.
  • Help national, high-visibility companies continue to tell their story to their world.
  • Help small businesses break through and gain equal footing with creative use of web communications tools.
  • Create Facebook and other platform-specific pages which have grown to 100,000+ subscribers with zero dollars spent on advertising.
  • Build niche-specific web properties from scratch with growth from 0 to more than 6-figures unique VPM sustained organic (non-paid) traffic.

Near the end of the About page, there is a contact form that users may fill out to contact Singer. Users may also connect with Singer through Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The blog also allows users to sign up for free email updates (which is listed on the right and on the bottom of every page) and they can subscribe to an RSS feed as well.

While there is a search feature for this blog, there was no easily retrievable archive section.  Users can go through all of the posts themselves but that is a time consuming, frustrating process. With the awesome content that this blog offers, it was a little bit disappointing to see that it was like this.

Updates happen quite frequently for this blog. From what I saw, the range of time between posts can be between two to five days. Keep in mind though, that those numbers are for each individual section. Singer keeps adding to all of the blog’s eight sections (not just one or two of them).

Readers will take away a lot from this blog. All of the information is relevant to what is going on in the world today. The content is accurate and appropriate for this blog and users will link back to it because what Singer covers is relatable to anyone in the online marketing and PR world. A lot of the posts are extremely informative and I really like how Singer makes them have a human interest focus aswell (this aspect keeps drawing you in to read more).

One thing I wasn’t able to find was the blog’s policies. There is a form for guest bloggers to go through but I couldn’t find anything relating to comments that are made, etc. I was surprised that I couldn’t find them because this blog has such a high rate of traffic (you’d think that Singer would have a link to the blog’s policies on the home page).

Brian Solis (the author of Engage!) said that in order for a blog to gain the attention of readers, the blog host MUST know their desired target audience and reach out to them (Solis, 28). I feel as though Singer does this well with his blog. For example, since his blog is mainly focused on the business side of social media, he has social media pages (such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+) for his blog. Solis also wrote that, “By cross-referencing updates, available resources, and communities across multiple social media points, companies can increase their visibility and their traffic among those communities” (Solis, 42). So what Singer has done by using multiple social media platforms to promote himself and his blog is create the opportunity for more people to gain easy access to his site.

Overall, I really like this blog. The content is very relevant to online PR and marketing and it’s written in a way that makes reading it enjoyable. I’ve subscribed to it and I hope others will to!