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Facebook Promotion Tips for Animal Rescue Groups and Shelters

Attracting More (Local) Fans

Much of the advice, up until now, has been how to reach your existing fans.

We touched a little on the fact that "begging" for fans to "Like" your page, doesn't work. It builds up your "number" but if those new fans don't interact with your page on a regular basis, they will soon stop seeing your posts in their newsfeed.

So how do you get new fans?

Time to share one of our biggest pet peeves.

We often see brand new rescue groups, show up on our page, and place one of those "We are new, please visit our page and 'Like' us..." types of posts.

Frequently, we also see new groups complain about not having enough supporters ($$$), not having enough fosters, and not having enough volunteers.

If you are a new rescue, start LOCAL!

Building a fan base of local facebook fans, means you have fans that will not only interact with your page, but potentially show up to your events... offer to foster pets... volunteer their time... and support your fundraisers.

Trying to build your fan base by posting FIRST on national "rescue related" facebook pages, will not give you the type of fans that will help with your day-to-day operations. Many animal shelters do a much better job at this, than animal rescue groups. Maybe it is because there is a physical building associated with most shelters, while many rescues use a network of foster homes. Hard to say.

(We have been amazed when we see shelters put out a call for help... i.e. we need "kitty litter" and see many, many fans offering to help out and bring some in... This happens because they have a large group of Local FB fans.)

But "how" do you attract local fans? Simple... post on local, pet related Facebook pages. (Hint... we didn't say "rescue" related).

Time for another story...

One of the ways we find new Rescues/Shelters to add to our Animal Rescue Directory, is to look at the left hand side of their page, and see what pages one group has "Liked".

Clicking on "See All" brings up a box that lets you scroll through
all of the pages that group has "Liked".

By doing this, we DO find many new groups to add to our directory,
but we have also discovered a disturbing trend.

Many groups either do not "Like" very many pages... or don't realize they can post on other pages as "their page"... or only "Like" other rescue related pages.

Local pet related pages are OFTEN missing from a group's "Liked" page list.

When you post links on other local Facebook pages, potential adopters, volunteers, fosters, and supporters learn about your group.

THESE fans will be some of your biggest supporters. They will answer the call for help, they will stop by your events to say hi, they will be "on the lookout" for friends who are looking for pets... they are a goldmine.

Yet many groups don't even try to find them.

If you are looking to build a strong, local fan base... you should be "Liking" and occasionally posting on... all your local veterinarian FB pages... any store in town that sells pet supplies/food... any dog/cat related page... if you are a rescue, post on the shelters pages... if you are shelter, post on local rescues pages.

It is free advertising, it helps you find pet owners (and potential pet owners) in your own backyard... and should be a top priority.

"Local" does not necessarily mean "your own town". After all, if you are the only "breed specific" rescue for 100 miles, posting on pages of businesses/groups farther away from you, also makes a lot of sense.

How you post on these pages, will also determine your success. You can start by using an announcement/invitation type of post... such as this:

We are XYZ Rescue, dedicated to helping find homes for dogs and cats in the greater Denver area. If you are a Colorado animal lover and have pets (or may want one in the future), we invite you to visit our FB page and learn more about what we do.

As you can see... there was no "begging" for likes. The post was geared at recruiting "quality" fans... i.e. those who share a common interest with your group.

Have you heard the term "slow and steady wins the race"?

It applies here too. Don't just post on local pages once, and then leave. Take part in conversations... scan these pages on a regular basis... and be a community resource to others. After all, you are (or should be) the animal rescue professional in your area. Let your community become familiar with what you do... and who you are.

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