Last week our class to a small field trip to the humane society to talk with Elizabeth Hilpipre. She heads the humane society’s  social media which includes the website, Twitter and Facebook. While Baxter the wonder Pomeranian was a definite highlight, she did pass on some great information about dealing with social media and an organization.

1. Find your niche

This means find social media outlets that work for what you’re trying to do. In the case of the humane society, they’re trying to get animals adopted so Elizabeth created Youtube videos featuring animals looking to be adopted. It’s a great way for people to see what’s at the humane society without always having to always visit. Also, people can share the videos with friends and family which increases the chance of an animal getting adopted.

2. Don’t be afraid to experiment

Elizabeth discovered the hard way when asking for donations. People didn’t like the idea of having a donation button on Facebook. Still needing donations, she came up with the idea of tying donations to a cause. Her most recent success was Izzy the Cat. Izzy was about to reach her 100th day at the shelter (which is rare) so she devised a way to collect donations and help get Izzy adopted. She asked followers that if Izzy didn’t get adopted by day 100 to please help by donating a small amount to her cause. People were more than willing to help a cause and by day 108 Izzy was adopted.

3. Make the most of the tool given to you

Going back to Elizabeth’s use of Youtube, she used the analysis feature to figure out roughly how long to make her videos. She noticed people did enjoy seeing cute animals but preferred short videos instead of longer ones. Facebook also offers a similar tool for pages. You can see how much impressions your posts have.

4. Engage your audience and build a community

By asking questions, asking the community to share information about their pets, responding to people’s questions and so on, Elizabeth has created a reliable source for people to come together over their pets. People frequently visit their pages and subscribe to them because it’s active and they feel welcomed.

5. Be human and roll with the punches

There will always be trolls, flamers and rude people plaguing the internet. At times you have have to deal with these people or a scandal. The best advice Elizabeth could give was to be consistent with what is being said (across all media: news, Facebook, Twitter..), admit mistakes and never fight with people. Try to be honest and mindful how you word certain sentences is another key to winning people even in unfavorable situations.

Those 5 points were great take away from the visit at the humane society. I knew and could logically see where she got her points but it was amazing just to hear them and listen to the examples she gave.