Thanks to social media, every shelter or rescue can now spread the word quite inexpensively about the pets that are available for adoption. Here are some tips to help publicize adoptable pets:
1. Look for a professional or amateur photographer in your community who loves pets. See if he or she would be willing to volunteer to take pictures of adoptable pets on an ongoing basis, or at least do it a discounted rate.
2. Whoever shoots your pictures, set up a regular photography schedule. Unfortunately, in a busy week, the best intentions for PR often go unmet. By planning a regular schedule, it’s more likely you’ll ensure you have a steady stream of great pet pictures to share.
3. Pick the best space for the photography. You’ll want it to be somewhere pets can relax a bit and let their true personality shine through. Stock the space with toys and treats to help the photographer keep their attention and get the perfect shot.
4. Capture video too! Nowadays most smartphones can shoot great videos. Don’t be shy about showing a pet’s personality in motion.
5. Once you have great pictures or video, put them on social media with text that helps bring them to life.
6. Try writing social posts in the voice of the pet, where he or she explains all the reasons she’d be a great addition to a family.
7. Remember to describe each pet’s personality, to help families who are looking for a pet find one that will fit well in their home.
8. Avoid discussing a pet’s breed, since that can lead to biases about a pet’s personality that are often unfounded.
9. Beyond social media promotion, use face-to-face promotion, too. Invest in “Adopt Me!” vests and take pets to parks and community events on a regular basis. The more you can get adoptable pets in front of people, the more chances there are to make a forever connection.
10. Arm the volunteers who shepherd adoptable pets with a card that includes the shelter phone number and social media, so interested families can follow up after meeting and falling in love with a pet.
Want more ideas? Check out Trait 2 in the Playbook for Pet-Friendly Cities for tips on making shelters warm and welcoming to encourage adoption.