How to Post a Rescue Notice to the SE Pet Rescue Railroad
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RT @seprr How to Post Your Rescue Notices & Transports to SEPRR http://bit.ly/rescuepostFAQ #petrescue
Our mission here at the South East Pet Rescue Railroad, SEPRR, is to provide a central, interactive sounding board for Rescue Organizations and Individual Rescuers who need to rapidly promote verified and actionable rescue related notices.
SEPRR reinforces this "Tribe of Animal Rescuers” by enrolling, maintaining, and training our membership how best to use Social Media technology to maximize the visibility of the postings and increase their organization’s operational efficiency.
If you are new to Social Media, or have been using cross-posted emails as your primary means to promote a Rescue, be prepared! Once you learn how to use these tools and methods, your impact and reach will dramatically increase.
By reviewing this article, you will learn how to transform a cross posted email littered with RE: & FWD: and pages of email addresses... you will learn to transform that mess into a social media-enabled message enabled to travel far and wide in ANY social media like FaceBook, Twitter, myspace, ping.fm, LinkedIn, chat’s, SMS text, blogs, RSS, as well as traditional email.
If you are total newbie to all this, please call us during EST M-F 9-5pm to schedule a time when we can both be in front of an internet connected computer. We will walk you through it! For immediate notices, we will transform these for you as a courtesy.
Typically, the work flow is as follows:
Note: Instead of editing posts in the browser pages directly, we recommend using Text Editors like Notepad, WordPad, or word to serve as a scratchpad to edit the postings. We then cut and paste the results where we need them into the browser such as a FaceBook post. We do not edit the posts inside a browser. Browsers crash. The work disappears. Notepad seldom crashes!
1- Post the notice to the email list on yahoo. Please refer to the posting guidelines on the group’s homepage. These will ensure we have actionable, legible, and verifiable posts to share with the membership. It is better to have fewer, more reliable posts, than a flood of stale, incomplete, and inaccurate posts that people have to run around in circles to respond to.
Transport Notices: If you are organizing a Transport, and you are a first time coordinator, please grab a sample run sheet to serve as a template from our blog site. Be sure to include Photos in your run sheet. This will allow better visibility in services like FaceBook.
Run sheets can be found in this blog. http://sepetrescue.blogspot.com/
Please become a Follower of our blog, since it enhances visibility of the rescue posts in the blog.
2- Blog the Email- The First step to transform the email to Social media.
Transform the email into a “blog posting” to generate a website and a permanent link. In other words, put the Transport Run Sheet online where people can link to it from elsewhere on the web. This one thing enables easy sharing of your Notice.
Blogs postings automatically create a unique web address that directs someone to the original article within the blog! This is the secret sauce behind enabling your posts in social media.
a- Start your own blog: There are many places to start your blog. Gmail users have blogspot.com. Wordpress is a great service. If you need a Gmail account, please email us and we will invite you. BlogSpot can take a document from Microsoft Word, enabling you to create the look and feel in Word, cut n paste the entire Notice straight from Word into your blog! Easy.
b- Avoid using FaceBook Notes as a “Blog” Some people use Notes in FaceBook as a means of blogging. We avoid their use since Notes offer only a very limited way to share the Notice. Notes are only shareable within FaceBook without a lot of changes. You can only tag a few dozen Friends. Tagged Friends get bombarded with comments by other people, so they may unTag themselves, perhaps going so far as to DeFriend you. Notes are difficult to post to Fan Page Walls. They are very difficult to email, sms text, tweet, or use as a status update. In short, they just don’t “travel well”.
c- Avoid Using FaceBook Photo Albums to share. The reasons are similar to Notes. Just paste the images into a Blog, and your readers will see all the images they could ever possibly want. And they can be shared ANYWHERE.
3- Shorten Those Links!
- Many social media value shortened posts. Twitter & SMS are the shortest, limiting your posts to only 144 characters. We will always keep in mind a frugal use of those valuable characters!
Example: Shortening the following sample saves 61 characters.
Original Blog URL: (81 characters)
Shortened URL/Link: (20 Characters)
- The unique web address generated by your blog can be shortened using http://bit.ly, which offers free accounts. There are others, but if you sign up as a registered user, bit.ly has some very useful features.
- Bit.ly enables visibility of who has shared or read your posts, enabling you to Follow them or know more about your supporters who have been sharing and reading your posts!
- You can also create a permanent custom shortened link. The following URL to Carroll County Humane Society consumers 35 Characters:
We saved 15 Characters by shortening it to: http://bit.ly/carrol . Carroll Humane now has that much more room for people to share or more content in the tweet/snippet. They can use that custom link permanently, free of charge, anywhere they wish.
4- Sharing the Word!
While FaceBook allows you much more room than 144 characters, it is always best to be mindful and frugally use characters in your posts in any social media network. There are two basic formats of posts, FaceBook compatible and Twitter compatible (Tweets). Tweets are very useful, but many non-savvy social media users, particularly in FaceBook, don’t know how to read them, and will usually ignore the cryptic text of a tweet. So, you would need to do both.
a) FaceBook Formatted Posts “Text Snippet”: Cruelty victim, Bo the Black Lab in DeKalb County GA near Atlanta is now Rescued & in Boarding. Please help him stay rescued: DONATE To "Buy Bo A Day" $14/day http://bit.ly/ayxn8m
- TIP: Please be sure to put IMAGES into your original blog post. FaceBook will find these and create attractive thumbnails on your Wall Postings.
- TIP: Often, FaceBook will behave unpredictably with shortened links. 80% of the time it works perfectly. Once in a while, you will have to manually insert the LONG link into the Link field to force FaceBook to display the thumbnails.
b) Twitter Formatted Post:
Sample: RT @SEPRR @Angelspetrescue Bo DeKalb Cnty Cruelty Victim Rescued & in Boarding DONATE To "Buy Bo A Day" $14/day- #petrescue #GA http://bit.ly/ayxn8m
- Syntax: RT @SEPRR @Angelspetrescue attributes credit to the organizations responsible for the original post. Since SEPRR create the posts for Angels, but Angels is the actual group who rescued the dog, both were cited for easy access for errata corrections, updates, and action items such as donations/adoptions.
- Punctuation- Remove as much punctuation as you can. “,)!.. All consume characters. Spaces consume characters! Remove them where possible. Dates should be 12/26 not Dec 26 2009.
- Hash tags: #petrescue #ga makes it very easy to search for related posts via Google and Twitter. Also, these are searchable from FaceBook in many cases.
c) Why post both on FaceBook?! Posting the FaceBook formatted text is a must in FaceBook, but why should we bother to include the Tweet?
- Many FaceBook Users are using Twitter. If they have a pre-formatted Tweet it is completely effortless for them to cut n paste your Notice into Twitter, sharing it with their own Followers, all the while citing you for the source with the RT @user reference.
- A Tweet fits into text messages. Mobile FaceBook users can easily share via SMS a Tweet formatted text.
- A Tweet contains ALL the info anyone would need to decide to read, share, or take other action on your post.
- A Tweet can be shared as a status update anywhere, or used as a comment on related posts and Fan Pages.
- Tweets travel like the Road Runner on Bugs Bunny! Beep Beep Zip TANG!
5- Posts the Text Snippet to SE Pet Rescue Fan Page and our Mascot’s Wall. Then, post the Tweet as a comment to the post, below it.
6- Take some time to search related “Social Media Channels”. If a post relates, for example, to Floyd County Animal Control near Rome Ga, post the Notice, just like in #5 above, to any related Fan Page, Group, Twitter feed, website, or blog you can find. Darlington School Alumni’s Wall, The Rome Ga Running Club, Belk Stores in Rome, the Rome Newspaper, The Berry College Fan Page, etc. Anywhere you can justifiable post and not be considered to be spamming is fair use. Just be thoughtful of how you do it. Spamming marginalizes the Notice. Otherwise, post that Notice anywhere else that is related to your effort.
Using Floyd Animal Control as an example, SEPRR posted a mass killing last month at this shelter. We hit around 50,000 Social Media users in about 30 minutes, simply by applying this promotional methodology. Rescue groups responded in mass from several states, and rescued most of the dogs in danger. “Most” is a huge success, when their rescue numbers are usually much lower. This effort made a measurable difference in the coordinated response of rescuers.
7- Circle back around!
- Track where you have promoted your Notice. This is a bit like fly-fishing in a stream! You must observe the currents, the flows, and the movements to succeed.
- Be sure to engage those who comment to the post in conversations, provide updates, or at the very least thank them for their active support. These people are doing the best they can to help out. Give them some positive feedback.
- Timing is critical!
o You can view the times of day that illicit the most response. Tuesday evening in Pet Rescue is prime time, since many shelters Euthanize on Wednesday or Thursday.
o Thursday nights for transports are also super active, since coordinators are scrambling to fill drivers on their run sheet for that weekend’s transport.
- Login to bit.ly. Click on “Info” adjacent to the related shortened link. Analyze the “Clicks”, “Referrers”, and “Locations”
o You will find new Twitter users to Follow, since they are using and sharing your links
Tools: Since endlessly logging into various social media channels is a total pain, we offer some tips:
For mobile PC users who have a flash drive, visit http://portableapps.com/.. Install the apps or a full suite of apps to your jump drive. After you have Mobile Firefox installed, install the xmarks.com plug-in to sync your bookmarks between Chrome, Explorer, & Firefox on Mac or PC, and then start surfing from your jump drive. Your entire rescue related stuff will be on your keychain, and you can use them on anyone’s PC anywhere. Be sure to back it all up using Toucan, for safe keeping:
9- Build your audience:
Active users- contact them personally. Coordinate and share knowledge with them. Team up.
Like, Share, and RT posts from users you find are well aligned with your own mission. Be loyal.
Take confrontations off-line. Usually, it is best to ignore these, since they consume emotional energy, distract from your rescue mission, and run the risk of alienating others from your mission. If that person gets fired up and goes around and tells everyone you are not a nice person, you really are in trouble. It is best to either ignore these confrontations, or to make amends where it is feasible.
10- Do all the old school activities: And yes, we do get out there - fostering, driving, vetting, and fundraising... but mostly for other rescue groups. Social media is not a substitute for patrolling the shelters, lending a hand with the caretakers, pulling animals, working adoption events, and lobbying your officials on the phone and in person. Social media supercharges the visibility of these activities. Please shout out to the world what you are doing. It may inspire others to step up and make time to help.
In closing, SEPRR encourages you to please post, volunteer, and do whatever you are comfortable and capable of doing in your own way to help animal rescue groups.