After the Webinar: Social Media Marketing Strategies for Animal Shelters. Q&A with Angelina Martin

Webinar presenter Angelina Martin answered a number of your questions after her presentation, Social Media Marketing for Animal Shelters. Here are just a few of her responses.


Audience Question: Do you find that scheduled posts do not get necessarily the same amount of interaction or traction, that those that are, that are posted manually?

Angelina Martin: I do. And the reason why is because of the momentum on your page, when we schedule posts, it’s out of sight, out of mind. So, we’re not paying attention to what’s happening in the world.  We’re not social listening, and we definitely are not looking at what’s happening on our page to ensure that our momentum is going up. And just remember, anytime you schedule the post, it’s fine, as long as your momentum is increasing, if your posts are going out, and your momentum is crashing, that algorithm. It doesn’t matter if it’s the cutest picture you’ve ever taken or the best story you’ve ever written. If your momentum is down on your page, the algorithm is going to read it out, and you are going to be in that little blue circle of invisibility. So that’s why scheduling posts doesn’t seem like it gets the most effect from posting when you’re on posting directly now. I know it feels that way. But, if you are posting from Facebook, I honestly haven’t noticed that it does differently. Unless the momentum on your goes further or is different. Unless the momentum on your pages changed. So that, I might have answered that in a confusing way. I hope that that makes sense. That it doesn’t matter if you schedule close or post directly to your page. It matters about what’s happening to the momentum. So, if that momentum is in the green, it doesn’t matter if you’re posting scheduled posts or posting directly to your page, because the visibility will increase on this list and they will do better if your momentum is increasing.


Audience Question: If algorithms are determining basically what we see, is there a point to adding tags to our posts? 

Angelina Martin: Yes. So, if you add a tag to your post such as your location, it helps with search engine optimization. If you add appropriate hashtags. So, I would highly encourage you to not use trending hashtags unless they are relevant to your content, because that is another way that the algorithm is going to lead you out. So, if you are, if it’s National Dog Day, and you’re posting about a dog, and you’re using the hashtag National Dog Day, and you’re tagging, your location and possibly a partner shelter with you, that does increase your reach and visibility through the algorithm, because it’s a broader audience. But just keep in mind, it’s still, in that little blue dot of visibility, you’re just near the outer rungs of that visibility. Because it’s a test. The algorithm is testing you. Are those other agencies picking up on it and sharing it? Are they looking at it? How much time are people spending looking at your content. If they’re spending more time looking at it, you pass the test. The algorithm deems it relevant, and it goes out into those further rungs. You always want to be sure that the momentum on your page is increasing, no matter who you tag on your posts.


Audience Question:  Do you have a recommendation for scheduling platforms that is not Hootsuite?

Angelina Martin: Yes, I do. So, I am in love with Sprout Social, I’m in love with Sprout Social because I can post to all the networking chat channels like on LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook Stories, on Instagram, Instagram Reels, Instagram Stories. I can post to TikTok now. And also, because so Sprout Social does all of the analytics for me. There’s a place to look directly so you can see the momentum on all of your pages if it’s going up or down. And then you can very easily reschedule posts that you have in it to push up a strong post when you need it, and it works really well with this strategy of increasing that momentum on your page. So, I would use Sprout Social. It is a little bit pricey. But in my view, it is so worth it.


Audience Question: When I edit a post that the animal was RTO or adopted, versus posting a separate post. What effect does that have on my visibility? So, which should she be doing? Should she just go back in and edit the original post and say, “Hey, Peanut was adopted”? Or should it get its own brand new post? And what’s the effect on visibility? 

Angelina Martin: This is a great question, and I am so glad that you brought this up. And the reason why is because it’s follow-up. I would recommend, in my view, in my opinion, to go back and update the post at the top of the post. Peanut has been adopted on every single one of Peanuts posts. And the reason why is because there is no sequential order in when the algorithm puts your posts out. So, someone could see Peanut’s post and not know what happened to him. With your follow up not only are you earning the trust of your community sharing with them good news, but they’re not going to waste their time reaching out to you are contacting you if they want to adopt Peanut only to be heartbroken. That Peanut was already adopted. If you post a separate post that Peanut was adopted, there’s no guarantee that those people who shared it or who are interested in it, are going to see it. But if you go in and edit the post an update at the top of it and then also, if you add a comment, it was adopted and maybe use a link to Peanut’s adoption post. That’s another way to increase your visibility.


Audience Question: Why is it that one agency can do something like a social media campaign, or a certain type of post and they get amazing results? Whereas we try to do the same thing and we get nothing.

Angelina Martin: Because of the momentum. It’s all about the momentum. So, larger organizations, if you’ll look at best friends animal society. Their social media is wonderful. You go to their pages, and they have thousands of reactions, comments, and shares and thousands of comments and thousands of people interested in their post after post after post. And the reason why is because their momentum is up on their page. The algorithm has deemed their content of quality and relevance, so it pushes it out further. We, on the other hand, are trying to do something very similar, but we don’t have the foundation for that yet. We have to build that foundation by increasing that momentum over time. You don’t necessarily need more followers. You just need more visibility. And the way to get that visibility is to create your campaign, fold that campaign’s post in-between strong posts. So, figure out which posts are the strongest post for you. Post a strong post, post in your campaign to test it if a momentum starts to go down. Another strong post. Get that moment and back up again. And keep doing it that way. So then that way, your campaign gets equal visibility as your other strong post and then keep moving forward from there. The longer the momentum on your pages in the green, the more substantiated you are in terms of visibility.


Audience Question: Can social planning apply to Facebook and Instagram Stories? And maybe we should take a quick step back, just to make sure everybody knows what we’re talking about when we talk about, what are Facebook and Instagram stories? So, could you answer that in two parts? 

Angelina Martin: Sure. So, Facebook and Instagram Stories are what show up anytime you go to your news feed. They show up at the very top, and so it’s easy to click on them and to see a very quick, a few seconds. for a piece of information about the organization. Stories on Facebook, and Instagram and Tiktok, have the ability to increase your visibility. Because, like we talked about, social networking platforms are business, they want more people to spend time online. If you are doing that through your stories, your posting,  your page momentum goes up. So, it does help to increase your momentum and your reach. The second part of that is just to be sure that you’re not over posting. I went through a phase where I was posting the same sort of animal every single day, because that animal needed to get clustered. And what ended up happening is that our momentum crashed, and it was really hard for me to bring it back up because I was doing the same thing over and over again. People were tuning out from it. So just be sure to create stories that you’re sharing post to your stories, but also unique or something interesting with some fun music, or something along those lines, as well. Just keep it to a minimum until you can determine how it affects the moment of your page.


Audience Question: Do we really have to have absolutely everything planned out a year in advance, or could we go month by month or quarter by quarter? Do we have to have the full year all set in stone a year in advance?

Angelina Martin: Oh, I’ve never had a year in advance. I’ve never worked on a campaign where we’ve had things done a year in advance, because everything changes so often, I would recommend, having something planned per quarter that you would like to accomplish or achieve. When kitten season sort of is coming, when giving Tuesday is sort of coming, you know, the holidays and Valentine’s day, that their special promotions that go out. So, you can kind of get those on the calendar, but planning a year in advance. I can’t imagine that. Especially, too because there’s so much that happens in animal shelter. But that being said, I would, for sure have a six month plan or a three month plan and have it be flexible. So, you’ve written down the goals that you want to achieve for this month. So, you look at it and you say, well, our shelter is full. We need more adopters, but we also need more fosters. We have a lot of special need animals right now. So, we’re going to focus on improving the number of foster homes that we have and we’re going to focus on foster campaign. So, maybe I would plan out for 30 or 60 days. And then, on the next side, I would also, that’s the, that direct and indirect approach. So, if you’re posting about adoptable animals, you’re also including some little blip about inspiring people to foster. You make the difference in the lives of the animals in our care or something along those lines. But, yeah, I don’t know if I could ever plan something a year in advance solid. I would plan. So, I would think, a year ahead, I’ll plan something like that. But I would most likely focus on the quarter ahead, and the month ahead, and maybe at most like six months ahead, just to kind of fill in those calendar dates with ideals. I hope that helps.


Audience Question: If we only should be posting once a day and possibly even less depending on where we’re at. What do we do when we have so many animals waiting for adoption? 

Angelina Martin: Well, why would you only plus once a day? Like, where is the rule? I want to ask that. I want to ask you that question. Why do you only have to post once a day? You can post, many times during the day, you can post 3 or 4 times a day. It matters what your momentum is telling you. So, when I was working at animal care and control, I was posting three times a day and it worked really well. I would post a strong post in the morning I would post and adoptable animal and then I would post another strong post and sometimes I would even get away with posting another adoptable animal. So, I post 3 to 4 times per day. It just matters what your momentum is. So, you fail back, if your momentum, is down and you want it to increase, you want to reset the momentum on your page. But you can, for sure, posts more than once in a day. As long as you’re folding in your weaker posts into your stronger posts to get that momentum up. Now, if your momentum tells you that you can only post once per day, and that’s all that you can get, to get the maximum visibility. I would use Canva, and I would do, what do these animals have in common. So, if you have cats, have green eyes, maybe post for cats that have green eyes within a photo grid, and talk about that. Just be sure, in your post, you link back to each individual webpage, so that if someone sees that and connect with it, they can go to each individual cat’s web page to read their individual bios. They could do the same thing with huskies. We are inundated with huskies, I think we had 10 huskies at one time. And so, I did all time huskies on a photograph and hot links back to all their web pages. We did it with, we had black dogs in our shelter. At one time, we had orange cats. So that’s one way. But I would highly recommend finding out which posts are your strong posts, in comparison to your weaker post building up on those strong post. Start looking for them build-up that momentum on your page. And then you can post 2 or 3 times a day. There’s other organizations that are posting seven, or eight, or 10 times a day, and they’re not getting any visibility, so their thought processes, if we post more, we’re going to get more visibility. And so, that’s why, I had mentioned to scale back. Reset that momentum on your page, and figure out what you’re posting frequency can, and should be according to the momentum.


Audience Question: Do you have particular feelings on pictures versus videos or reel content as being more popular. So, it sounds like what we’re asking is, should we use pictures or still images or should we be using video? 

Angelina Martin: Okay, so my answer is, it’s depending on the platform. So, if it photographs, Instagram, is photograph for me. The reels on Instagram reels are reel friendly. The TikTok, that’s for your videos. But what I found is that I tried using Tiktok, I would create a TikTok, I would save it to my phone, and then I would share that Tiktok to Instagram reels. It never did as well. Instagram want you to use Instagram reels to create your video. So, I would just recreate the same video just on Instagram reels. And it quadrupled my reach and visibility. Always use your hashtags in your reels and in your posts on Instagram. So, if you are doing Facebook, I would do videos that are shaped this way instead of this way on Facebook. It seems there’s a trend that goes back and forth, but right now, it’s this way. And also, I would use a combination. So, what I’m trying right now with a new animal rescue group that I’m working for, I was working on their Facebook page for a short time. And I would do a photograph of another dog and talk about a dog. And then the next test would be a video, then the next post would be a photograph, and then the next post would be a video. And the engagement rate shot up, the visibility shot up on that. So just make sure that you use that balance, you’re using the individual platforms to edit and promote each of the different types of content you’re putting up.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Social Media Marketing for Animal Shelters

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