Saving PAWS through social media!

I wrote the following  post  back on March  2012 when our campaign SHARE A LINK. SAVE A PAW!  was born.  Six months later we are happy to announce that we hit 500 followers on Twitter and close to 150 LIKES on Facebook.  These numbers may seem not high but they are priceless.  SHARE A LINK. SAVE A PAW! campaign emphases the importance of using social media channels in a positive way to help homeless pets.  A simple share can make a difference in someone’s life. This is why we are so thrilled that we hit these numbers in a short period of time.  THANK YOU to everyone that had Share or Retweet our posts! find out who you van help right now by visiting our Facebook Page and Twitter Chat!

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On Saturday morning I woke up to news that a Border Collie named Annie had bolted from her caregiver’s front door on Thursday, March 22nd in Newmarket ON (you can read the Facebook post here).

The Facebook post said that Annie was last spotted at the intersection of Vivien and Warden 2:30 that afternoon. It also said that Annie was away from  home – which is in Barrie – and that she could be anywhere in Newmarket,  or Barrie, or somewhere in between. The message asked people to keep eyes open for a black and white lost female – and one that is probably confused and worried. The post pleaded with people to cross post, share and spread the word across the dog community at large.

By then a group was out on the streets, searching and distributing flyers.

Upon hearing this story, there were  two things that came to my mind:

One – Why would Annie’s caregivers open their front door and let Annie outside, without keeping an eye on her?

Two –  What could I do to help Annie?

             I’m a big fan of social media. There is no doubt that people engage daily on social networks like Facebook, micro-blogging sites like Twitter and other social media outlets like Youtube. Take the streetcar in the morning and you’ll see at least 3 out 5 people checking up the news feeds on Facebook.

Most people consider the Internet  a place to learn, work, or play and, as time goes by, more and more people are getting connected to it. That’s why many companies are using it  to put their businesses online and reach more potential customers. Online communities have a closely connected group of users who can help promote branding and improve a consumer’s impression and product awareness.

Thus, you can go online and find communities centred on kids, new moms, photography, finances, dogs, … to mention a few. These social networks represent the access to content that has been strategically targeted to obtain interest and awareness. It is important to remember that social media can also trigger ‘word of mouth’ marketing.

And here is how we could help Annie the border collie.

Businesses are using social media to promote themselves and rescue groups and any other type of non-profit can do the same.

People are willing to engage and help, as long as you tell them how.

Many people started to share the post about Annie, and within hours you could find her story on many different pages on Facebook and Twitter profiles. The phenomenon we saw was a “word of mouth” chain reaction generated though one piece of content.. The awareness was definitely on maximum!

Following this idea, at  SHARE A LINK. SAVE A PAW! was born. Here we are inviting everyone to share the links from homeless pets posted on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels with the intention of bringing these beloved pets home safely.

But there’s more to the SHARE A LINK. SAVE A PAW! campaign than just sharing links from lost/found dogs or cats.

The idea is to increase the exposure of homeless pets so they get adopted or placed in a foster home faster, so that we can minimize their time spent in a shelter.

Last year dogs and cats from the Mississauga Humane Society were adopted faster than the year before, and we credit this to exposure on Facebook and Twitter.

I strongly believe there are many ways YOU, US, FRIENDS & FAMILY can help these pets through this hard time in their lives. So please, when you see a homeless dog or cat on a social media platform, please SHARE IT, it could change the life of a little one forever!

By Sunday afternoon there was on final post about Annie:

‘GREAT NEWS!!! Today Annie was found and she is safe and back with her family! :) Thanks to all who were watching of her!! That is the power of a community of pet lovers!!”

In light of this story, I’ll leave you with one reminder:

When pet sitting, PLEASE take extra care when opening front doors, windows, car doors. Often, animals don’t know and trust their pet-sitters like they would their family and they can be stressed about being in a different home. Have the animal on a leash when opening a front door. It is better being  over-protective than have to deal with accidents!

– Keep smiling, everyone! :)

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