We would do things a little differently than some of the rescues we have seen.
No, we are not experts in Animal Rescue, but we have learned a lot about Fan/Supporter dynamics.
Frankly, when we see a brand new Rescue, with few FB fans, post on our NATIONAL page, we have to wonder.
Do they really want to start out, from day one, attracting fans from all over the country… who may be fans and supporters of DOZENS of other rescues… and who will most likely not be available to Volunteer, Foster, or Adopt their pets?
If we started a rescue, and a brand new Facebook page to go along with it… here is what WE would do:
First… we would get a map, and decide what our territory is going to be. Understanding that we can always expand it later, but basically, we want to figure out how far we are going to go to pull pets, do home checks, hold adoption events, etc…
Once we have determined our territory, we would start by finding (and bookmarking) the facebook page of EVERY Animal Shelter in our area… and visit those pages (and post/interact with their pages) on a daily basis.
We would not be soliciting animals for adoption on these Shelter’s walls… that would be rude. However, we want to post, comment, etc… on a regular basis so that THEIR fans are aware of “who” we are.
Remember, if you have a page as “XYZ Rescue”… and you post comments on other pages (while logged in as admin), everyone else who comments on or visits those pages, will also see your “XYZ Rescue” Facebook link. …and many will click through to your FB page to see what you are all about.
Also, if you offer to help these shelters, in one way or another… even it if is just passing on info to your fans… you are gaining credibility.
Next we would look for any and all pet related businesses that are in your “territory”… such as dog bakeries, pet food stores, vets offices, groomers, boarders, etc… and work hard to locate their FB pages… then BOOKMARK them.
Again, you should be a familiar face on these pages, but NOT soliciting them. Just be part of conversations. Don’t try to crosspost urgent animals, solicit donations, ask for volunteers… Simply post or comment on other posts about general pet related things.
Not everyone who visits these pages is animal rescue minded… but just being on these pages, on a regular basis, posting as “XYZ Rescue”… will give you exposure.
Seriously, there are many, many conversations that you can be a part of… such as pet behavior issues, food issues, training issues, best dog park in town, how often do you give treats, grooming issues… and the list goes on.
People with pets, visit these pages. People with pets, often get additional pets. Not everyone is aware that there are animal rescues out there. So the more you interact with these type of pages, the more people will see you!
Next we would look for any and all pet related groups… which could include people involved in dog agility or breed specific groups… and yes… this means BREEDERS pages too!
What? I should go and hang out with the enemy, you say?
YES!… especially if you have a breed specific rescue!
You will be welcome on these pages, as long as you can control yourself, NOT push your own agenda… NOT bad mouth breeders… and just comment on the Safe issues!
If you are a breed specific rescue, you are familiar with the unique behavioral and health issues of the breed you work with. You can also comment and answer questions about diets, training, pet products, etc…
Simply be PRESENT on their pages, in a non-threatening way.
Because these pages are visited by many POTENTIAL pet owners, that may not even know there are breed specific rescues. People will often hang out on these pages, well in advance of buying a pet, simply to find out more about the breed.
If you participate in the conversations… and NEVER bad mouth the breeder (or breeders in general)… and never get banned… people who came to the page looking to “purchase” a Boxer… just might see your “XYZ Boxer Rescue” link (on a comment you made), click through to YOUR FB page… and choose adoption instead.
MANY of you will not be able to do this… and this is sad. Many of you will insist on waging WAR on the breeders, and thus… get banned from their pages… and not be around for new (potential) pet owners to find you.
Yes… there are some Breeders that will simply ban ANY rescues, simply because they don’t want to lose a sale to an adoption.
But many more won’t care, as long as you behave yourself.
As a new rescue, we would also be supportive of any and all rescues in our territory. Some rescues have problems “playing nice” with other rescues. However, we would be supportive, polite, and offer assistance any time we could… just so we could build friendships.
The idea here is not to steal fans away from other local rescues, but to be another resource they can call on when they get swamped… or have someone looking for a particular breed of animal, etc…
So are we crazy? We don’t think so!
If we started out with this focused, local, pet related FB page approach to getting fans… the “1000” number on our facebook page would mean a lot more to us… than attracting “1000” likes from “all across the country”.
We deal with this type of problem every week with our fundraising program for Animal Rescue Groups.
Groups who thought they were doing the right thing… by posting all over facebook (far and wide)… and building up their “likes” fast… soon find out that many of their “fans” are from all across the country… and they are simply one, among the dozens (or hundreds) of other rescues those fans have “liked”.
As we have mentioned in our FB Promotion Tips… building up big “facebook numbers” (quantity) does not mean as much as having good, supportive, local fans who are available to volunteer, foster, and adopt… or heck, live close to you so they can refer their friends, relatives, and coworkers to you too!
What do you think?
Do you think being “present” and “known” on every pet related FB page, which represents businesses and groups within a 100 mile radius of your Rescue… would be a good thing?
If a majority of your facebook fans were located close to your rescue… and you had a steady influx of new fans, some of which were actively looking to get a pet… would that make things easier for your group?
Would your dog washes… bark in the park… adoption events… etc… be better attended?
Would your calls for fosters, volunteers, etc… be received by more people who were actually close enough to help?
Do you think a “We need kitty litter” or a “running low on puppy food” post would yield a better response, if fewer of your fans lived 5 states away?
We think so…