How it’s Being Done, Brilliantly: Calgary Humane Society Applies a Little Peer Pressure

Calgary Animal Shelter Loves Their Rescue Shepherd, Tova

Recreate this photo, using lots and lots of people and that ONE, SINGLE DOG you’ve been trying to home!

One week after this photo was posted by Calgary Humane Society, Tova the shepherd was adopted.

And I wonder: is it easier to be a hero if everybody’s watching?  Do dogs that get that extra notice from a lot of people get adopted more quickly?  Or to put it another way, do we want to help more, if we know the thing we’re doing will be noticed for the good deed that it is?

This picture says to me, Here are all the good people who will sleep easier at night knowing Tova is home.

Calgary Humane Society’s Marketing and Social Media Coordinator Shandell Van Hell seemed to know this intuitively when she posed shelter staff and volunteers around Tova:

"It wasn't hard to get everyone gathered -- I just sent an all staff email
asking staff to join us for a photograph with Tova for our website and 
social media avenues.  At that point, staff would have done pretty much 
anything I asked of them if it meant getting Tova adopted!"

She shot the photo purposely leaving a nice clean background (the brick wall) where she could drop in giant text afterwards.  And who wouldn’t love that group picture?  It shows the staff of a shelter that looks fun and welcoming.  The precise opposite of the “territorial” shelter.  The picture went up on the Calgary Humane Society Facebook page.

By involving as many people as possible in this photo, she gives Tova’s social media marketing campaign an added boost: if there are thirty people in a photo, that’s thirty people who might post this picture to their Facebook page, Twitter feed, Pinterest page or blog (I know I did!).  That’s the chance for thirty more exposures to their friends.  (This group picture was shared 247 times).

Tova was adopted from Calgary Humane Society.

Adopted! Tova leaves Calgary Humane Society. Is it any surprise? This picture was posted on Facebook with the message: “Last night, just one day shy of the 300 mark, we finally matched Tova with her forever family. Last night, a lovely woman walked into the shelter, met with Tova, fell in love and will be taking our sweet girl home tonight! A HUGE thank-you to everyone who shared Tova’s story and never stopped believing that her pefect home was out there.”

The next time you’re thinking of using social media marketing for a particular long-term dog or cat, try this:

  • Provoke the hero instinct in potential adopters, and get a crowd that looks like they’d do anything for your dog or cat;
  • Compose the photo with a clean background, enough space to drop in great big text;
  • More people in the photo means more posting and sharing across social media platforms;
  • Put your dog or cat front and center!;
  • Make the textual message, above, as simple, straightforward, “in the moment” as possible.  No bummers.

TWEET THIS.

I can’t tell you how happy I am for Tova.  Shepherds form a very special, strong bond with their owners and I hate the thought of a shepherd without a person to love and be loyal to.  Shantell, you and CHS are AMAZING.

Stuffed animal plush toy pitbulls based on real-life shelter rescues.  Pocket Pitties, from CharlieDog and Friends

CharlieDog and Friends’ “Pocket Pitties”, plush toy pitbulls based on real-life shelter rescues.

For this post, CharlieDog and Friends is sending Calgary Humane Society a collection of our “Adopt” collar bracelets and Pocket Pitties.

Do you know a shelter that’s doing it brilliantly with an innovative or unique approach to social media marketing for their homeless pets?  Let us know!: info@charliedogandfriends.com

Advertisements

Do You Vine? Irresistible New Way to Help Shelter Pets With This Nimble, Mobile App!

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”.

Enter Vine.

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.

Tweet this!

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.

Simple.

If you start Vining, please feel free to post your Vines on CharlieDog’s Facebook Page.  Or send them to us at info@charliedogandfriends.com.  Or Tweet us!  We’d love to see how far Vine can go for shelter pets.

Plush Pocket Pitties Stuffed Animals, From CharlieDog and Friends

“Pocket Pitties”, (The Bruised Not Broken edition) from CharlieDog and Friends: Ruko, Mark, Adala, Jeffrey, Willow, Luca, Niko).

CharlieDog and Friends has created the world’s first plush dogs and cats based on real-life animal shelter and rescue pets, to raise awareness and money for America’s homeless animals.  See our line of plush toys, and “Adopt” collar bracelets, at CharlieDog and Friends’ website.

Charlie’s Checkbook: Our Plush Pet Gypsy Helps Potsdam Humane Society

Gypsy, a plush Australian Cattle Dog from CharlieDog and Friends, is based on a real-life animal shelter rescue from the Potsdam Humane Society

Our plush Australian Cattle Dog (rescued, of course!) is named Gypsy, after a real-life inspiration living in Upstate New York. This pinteresty photo first appeared on the pet photography blog, Daily Dog Tag; it’s styled and photographed by Alice G Patterson.

CharlieDog and Friends is some pretty purposeful plush toy.  We started our stuffed animal business just to raise money for homeless pets, and now that we have our legs under us*, we’ll be showing you Charlie’s Checkbook every Monday.

We started CharlieDog and Friends with four plush toys: Charlie, Murphy, Gypsy and Clyde, each based on a real-life rescued pet.  The point was to create these toys, try to sell them to raise money for their shelters or rescues, and maybe let people know: it’s OK to rescue your next pet.  It’s even preferable.  If you ask me, it’s the ONLY way to go.

This week we’re signing a nice donation check to Potsdam Humane Society, because the real-life Gypsy, a rescued Australian Cattle Dog, came from this Upstate New York shelter (which, by the way, just boasted that they are, for once, Guinea pig-free, having adopted their last guinea pig out this weekend!)

And we wanted to say: Thank YOU.  This is our dream, and slowly — very slowly — it’s moving ahead,  in the right direction — but not without the help of some very special and generous customers and friends.

A rescued Australian Cattle Dog is the inspiration for our plush australian cattle dog (ASD) named Gypsy, and benefits the Potsdam Humane Society, an animal shelter in Upstate New York.

Gypsy, a rescued Australian Cattle Dog from Potsdam Humane Society in Upstate New York, with her plush toy Gypsy. She’s an agility enthusiast and a wonderful, 100% rescued family pet. Now why on earth would anyone go to a breeder for their next cattle dog?

Do you know someone who’s thinking of bringing home a new family pet, and isn’t sure where that pet is going to come from — but you want a gentle, cuddly way to encourage adoption?  You can send them message by sending it in stuffed animal form.  Just drop by Gypsy’s little corner of the Internet.  Like all CharlieDog pets, she ships in a tissue-wrapped, colorful, crinkly nest of shredded paper, with a hang tag to tell her story and a collar that says all you need to say: “ADOPT”.

Tweet this for Potsdam Humane Society!

*Why did this take so long?  Well, we’ve made some donations along the way, but mostly we’ve been paying off our start-up costs, which have been lots!  But not unexpected.  We’re just happy we’ve gotten to the point where we can finally begin fulfilling our mission of giving.