It’s truly incredible what shelters and rescues have achieved for homeless animals in the brief lifetime of the social media marketing revolution. And now, the future of social media marketing for our homeless pets is visual. The book Think Like Zuck, recently predicted that “2013 will be the year of visual marketing”.
You can cut through the noise with Vine, a quick-and-dirty app that allows you to use your Iphone as a video camera that makes looping, six-seconds-or-less videos.
I want to show you how one rescued pitbull, Mac, is using Vine to adorable effect:
I didn’t know a thing about Mac until I started using Vine. His videos stand out because they’re sweet vignettes centered around Mac’s daily life. They quickly reveal Mac’s personality, the way he harmonizes perfectly with his family and his surroundings, his complete ease in his environment — exactly what you’re looking for when you start to consider bringing home a new pet.
Imagine this same dog as a shelter pet (sorry, Mrs. Mac!). Away from the concrete and chain link fences that characterize shelters, you can move Mac out onto the grass. Find a dandelion. Blow. A moving picture — simple, beautiful, clean. You’ve placed Mac in a backyard of someone’s mind.
And if you never thought you’d consider adopting a pitbull — the dogs that make up the overwhelming majority of shelter pets in America — Mac might make you reconsider. You can really see how goofy, funny, personality-rich he is. The Vine below also tells you how calm he is, that he loves nature, that he’s good off the leash, and that it’s springtime — a time every dog deserves to enjoy in freedom. Ahh, Mac.
Tweet ’em, post ’em, put them on your Petfinder page, try to outdo each other in the cinematographer department. Tell their story — not the story they are living at the shelter, but the one you WANT them to have. With dandelions.
If you volunteer for a shelter, if you advocate for homeless animals, if you foster: why would you use Vine? Here are a couple great reasons:
1. Vine is in its infancy, and if you get in early enough, you’ll build your following quickly. Better for the dogs you advocate for!
2. Okay: right now, it’s pretty basic, with minimal features. And, I’ll say it: Most of what you’ll see on Vine is inane. But, with the bar set so low, you can raise it a little without much effort.
3. You can now embed these mini-movies on your Facebook page, or in your Petfinder page. If you’re a shelter volunteer, nothing could be easier than taking and sharing a six-second Vine. HOT TIP: If you are trying to embed a tweet into a WordPress.com blog, simply paste the tweet URL on its own line into the HTML or “Text” tab. If you post it into the “Visual” tab it will only show a link for the Vine video.
Here are 7 ways to make your Vines irresistible:
1. You can pick up — pretty cheaply — lenses for your Iphone that will make your Vine videos stand out from the crowd. I’ve just ordered an Olloclip from B&H Photo; it has three lens options in one unit.
2. Shoot outside. The colors will be much more rich and saturated. Look at Mac the Pitbull’s Vines and the world looks like a sunshine-y place! Try not to shoot inside: light from your tungsten kitchen fixtures does nobody any good. :0)
3. Tell a story. We are drawn to stories that have beginnings, middles, end — however brief. In six seconds, Mac endeared himself to me with that dandelion narrative.
4. Don’t tell a story. Just show the dog or cat’s details.
5. A great title (“Nerd Alert”) goes a long way! Mac’s a geek. He admits it. And he’s a little more loveable, a little more endearing and relate-able, for it.
6. Hash tag relentlessly. Right now, there are hardly any “rescue pet” Viners out there. Start with these: #rescue, #adoptapet, #pitbull #shelter
7. Be inspired and follow darling Mac the Pitbull on his Facebook Page; and keep up with his Vinings. You can also follow him by following @macthepitbull on Vine (from within the app).
Download the Vine app from your Iphone (*right now, it isn’t available on the Android phones, but that is expected to change), and give it a try. It took me about a minutes to learn how it functions.
If you start Vining, please feel free to post your Vines on CharlieDog’s Facebook Page. Or send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or Tweet us! We’d love to see how far Vine can go for shelter pets.