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Facebook Promotion Tips for Animal Rescue Groups and Shelters

Groups, Pages, Friends, Likes... Does it Matter?

WARNING: We are going to "step on some toes" here... Sorry, but we must be honest and share our findings. No offense intended.

There are several ways to be "on" Facebook... and each one has its place, but not ALL are appropriate for Rescue Groups and Shelters.


At first glance, you may think that starting a Facebook "Group" is the most appropriate way to interact with your fans. After all, they find you, join your group, and take part in your day to day conversations regarding your Rescue.

There are several problems with groups. One is that FB keeps changing the format of the groups. Another is that many people (fans) are hesitant to join a group, or if they do join, quickly leave because they haven't figured out the correct FB setting to keep from getting flooded with emails about every post.

Groups can be Open (to everyone) or Closed (must be added by the group administrator). As a rule, we don't recommend Rescues/Shelters use the group format for their main Facebook presence. We do, however, think that the group format is great for "internal" communication. Make a closed group that is used by your network of volunteers and fosters, and use it for communication, instead of playing email tag with a large number of people.


Facebook was originally setup so friends could easily find, network, and communicate with each other. It is fairly straight forward. You sign up with an account that is in your name... other people "friend request" you... you approve the request if you know them and want them as your friend... and all this works well. After all, if a long lost friend suddenly "finds" you and wants to touch bases with you, they have no problem putting in a friend request and waiting for you to approve it.

So now you have people very comfortable with their own "friend accounts"... they are discovering the power of Facebook networking, and decide to put their Rescue Group or Shelter on Facebook.

They then create a FB "friend" account in their Rescue's name, and proceed to build a network of "friends" (aka fans) by simply approving every friend request that comes their way. This approach has many problems and is NOT a good way to have your group represented on Facebook.

One thing you may have noticed, is that some of the names of these groups have to be altered, changed, etc... just to make Facebook accept them. A "friend" account was designed for a person... with a first, middle, and last name. It will only allow so many "names" and so many "capital letters"... so not all rescue names work.

Another problem is that a "friend" account is for "people". It is actually against Facebook policy for a group to use a "friend" account. This is not something that they enforce that often... however, I do know of a few groups that "upset" another group on Facebook... and the upset group "turned in" the group with the "friend" account, and their account was suspended. Not a good thing.

Also... if you plan on running your Rescue/Shelter for a long time, a "friend account" is a terrible option for the simple fact that you are limited to 5000 friends. Pages, on the other hand, can have unlimited "likes" (aka fans) and can grow as fast and as large as your Rescue or Shelter grows. 

The biggest reason to NOT have a friend account for your Rescue is a simple, and well known fact. Facebook users (potential fans) are very impulse driven. If they land on your page, and want to connect with your group in the future, it is easy for them to click "like"... maybe post something... then move on.

Contrast that with having to submit a "friend request"... waiting for it to be approved (or wondering if it will be approved)... then returning at some point after being approved to interact with your page. Facebook, like many other things in life, works best when you "keep it simple".

Some of you reading this "went down the wrong path" and now have your rescue tied to a "friend account". Do yourself a favor, start a "regular" page for your group... invite all your friends to visit and "like" your page, and continue on.

You may have many, many "friends" on your current account, and may be hesitant to do this. Trust me, the "Friend" count is just a number... if they are truly "friends" of your rescue, they will go to the new page and become your "Fan". If not, were they really your groups "friend" anyway? Don't get hung up on numbers... you are going to find out in future chapters that the numbers on Facebook mean very little.

WARNING: Using a "Friend Account" for a RESCUE or SHELTER is Against Facebook Rules... your account could be Closed Down!



Regular FB Pages are easy to spot. When you land on one for the first time, there is a "Like" button on the top. You don't don't have to "friend request" the page or anything like that... you can simply click on "Like" and interact with the page.

There are many more options, applications, tabs, etc... available to Page owners, that are not available with "friend accounts". It is also much more professional to represent your Rescue Group or Shelter on a "Page". We will soon explain why "fan interaction" is the #1 importance on Facebook. By having a "Page" that is easy to "Like" and easy to interact with, you are doing your group a huge favor.


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