How to build a strong brand on Facebook

How to build a strong brand on Facebook

How to build a strong brand on Facebook


“Organic reach of the content brands publish in Facebook is destined to hit zero. It’s only a matter of time.” says Social@Ogilvy writer on March 6, 2014.

Non profits, like Big Cat Rescue, are “brands” so that didn’t bode well for us.

brand reach is falling

Social@Ogilvy went on to say, “100 brand pages, organic reach hovered at 6 percent, a decline of 49 percent from peak levels in October. For large pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach hit 2 percent in February. And Facebook sources were unofficially advising community managers to expect it to approach zero in the foreseeable future. ”

When in the face of danger, I’m always reminded to do what I do best.  Default straight to your greatest strength to over come the crisis before you.  In the case of social marketing, our greatest strengths are that our photographs and videos of our cats are beautiful and inspiring and our staff and volunteers are engaging.

If Big Cat Rescue was going to survive the downward trending Facebook algorithms for brands we had to ramp up our engagement and make sure that every post was worthy of our audience.

This chart shows how Big Cat Rescue stacks up against 3 of the most popular brands in 2014; Apple, Coke and Microsoft and in our industry of animal rescue and advocacy.



Note that even though Big Cat Rescue has fewer fans than most of these sites, our engagement is matched only by Wildcat Sanctuary, who has more than twice our number of fans.

The first thing we needed to know is “Who are our fans?” and “What do they seem to like?” and give them more of that.




One of the key reasons for building a strong brand is support for your business or cause.  In our case, advocacy is a big part of what we do, so it’s important to note that many of our fans are not from the U.S. and won’t be able to help with legislative issues that are keyed to U.S. zip codes.  We need to always keep in mind ways that they can help too.

By paying attention to who our fans are and giving them the content they love; lots of beautiful photos and videos of lions, tigers and other exotic cats, we continue to build our Likes, Comments and Shares, even during these difficult times for brands, as illustrated by this year to date graph.  It is clear to see that Facebook implemented an algorithmic change that affected us in a good way beginning in April of 2014.





Comparing last year’s statistics with this year’s you can see that our Total Reach averaged 53,810 in 2013 and is averaging 226,063 in 2014.




Comparing last year’s statistics with this year’s you can see that our individual Post Reach averaged 42,451 in 2013 and is averaging 215,181 in 2014.




Comparing last year’s statistics with this year’s you can see that our individual Shares averaged 508 in 2013 and is averaging 2,852 in 2014.




Comparing last year’s statistics with this year’s you can see that our individual Likes averaged 7,191 in 2013 and is averaging 27,136 in 2014.





How do we know that our continued growth is reliant on engaging with our audience?


During this period of time our primary Comment Responder, LaWanna Mitchell, was off for 3 days and the numbers immediately began to drop.  Our New Page Likes had been growing by 8.2 % and dropped to 5.2 % as soon as this person was away from the helm for a few days.  For the months of August and early September we were in between Media Producers, and that lack of great content during that period hurt our numbers during that time frame as well.




The good news is that our new Media Producer, T.O. Lawrence, is coming up to speed and he and our primary Comment Responder, LaWanna Mitchell are working together to streamline our posts, using scheduled posts, Buffer and  Getting some of that automated will free up their time to Like our fans comments and respond to them in real time, which is critical in building a brand.

Our statistics on look very similar and for all the same reasons.

People ask for our “secret formula” all the time when it comes to social marketing and there is no trick or gimmick to it.  Building up a strong relationship takes time, requires listening and then demands that we respond to our fans in a timely manner.  We are a small non profit, with 14 paid staff and 80-100 volunteers and interns.  Our annual budget is 2 million dollars a year to care for about 100 lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, bobcats and other wild cats.  We are able to raise these funds and give the best care possible because our fans love and trust us, because they can see how their donations are being spent.


Toyota Tundra Won by Big Cat Rescue

Toyota Tundra we won via Facebook voting contest

Building a fanatical fan base is a lot of work, but it means the difference of life and death to big cats who are depending on them.










AdvoCat 2014 09

AdvoCat 2014 09

Big Cat Rescue Honored as 2014 Top-Rated NonProfit

by Award is based on Positive Online Reviews


Keisha Tiger

Keisha Tiger on her first “Vacation” in the Vacation Rotation enclosure


Thanks to YOU!

Last month, after some animal exploiters posted some fake reviews to try and bring our scores down, we asked you to post reviews about Big Cat Rescue if you had been here to several sites and today it was announced that we won the prestigious 2014 Top-Rated Award by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations.  Way to go, you guys!

2014GreatNonProfitAwardThe Top-Rated Nonprofit award was based on the large number of positive reviews that Big Cat Rescue received – reviews written by volunteers, donors and clients. People posted their personal experience with BCR. For example, one person wrote, “Big Cat Rescue is the most wonderful place you can ever visit! I was there last year and GOSH, the animals and their enclosures are gorgeous! The tour guide was friendly and knew her thing. The animals were playful and happy and anyone who says otherwise has not been there! I recommend BCR for anyone who loves, or even LIKES animals.”

While the Top-Rated Awards run through the end of October, Big Cat Rescue was one of the first groups to qualify for the 2014. In addition, we’ll be added to Great Nonprofits #GivingTuesday Guide—an interactive guide to top nonprofits throughout the years. Look for this near the holidays.

“Savvy donors want to see the impact of their donations more than ever,” said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits, “People with direct experience with Big Cat Rescue have voted that the organization is making a real difference.”

Being on the Top-Rated list gives donors and volunteers more confidence that this is a credible organization. The reviews by volunteers, clients and other donors show the on-the-ground results of this nonprofit. This award is a form of recognition by the community.


Sad Goodbye to Shere Khan the Tiger


Tigers Shere Khan China Doll - 4

Shere Khan and China Doll were the first tigers to reign over Big Cat Rescue.  We had been keeping a watchful eye over Shere Khan since the first of the year as old age began taking its toll on him, but were shocked and saddened when his mate of 19 years, China Doll, had a sudden stroke and had to be euthanized in April.

Shere Khan always tried to please, and dutifully took his meds (after much coaxing every day) and ate, but would eat just enough to survive.  It was clear that he pined for his life long cage mate and we did all we could to keep him company, but his health declined rapidly and by August we knew that it would only be humane to let him pass peacefully.  It is still hard to write this, because I just can’t imagine the sanctuary without these two wonderful tigers.


T.I.G.E.R.S. Exposed


This is the best article I’ve seen exposing what really happens when you pay to play with baby wild animals.  I believe that two of the worst exploiters of big cats and their cubs are T.I.G.E.R.S. and GW Zoo due to the vast number of cubs that must be produced each year to satisfy the demand they create for pay to play sessions with baby lion, tiger and liger cubs.  This article has great photos and even better reporting:


Some New Videos Since Last AdvoCat

We have a new Media Producer, T.O. Lawrence, and he has some new ideas.  We will continue to post one great video a week at but every day or every other day will be short, updates on the cats you know and love.  To never miss a video, be sure to subscribe at

Kali the Tiger’s Rescue

Aspen Cougar Celebrates 500K Facebook Followers

Kali Tiger Update

Mickey the Cougar Gets Rescued

Help Us Build the Windsong Memorial Hospital


Update on Mickey the Cougar


Mickey’s surgery was successful and he has spent the last few weeks recovering very well.  An artificial ligament was installed in his left rear knee to help stabilize the joint. He still only has access to one half of his enclosure.  Dr. Hay will come out to visit Mickey in the coming week to see how he is progressing.  In the meantime we have started physical therapy sessions with him which include slow walking laps around his enclosure to encourage proper utilization of his repaired joint.  If everything goes well over the next few months he will have the same procedure performed on his other knee.


Wild About 30

is a benefit for Big Cat Rescue, but it’s a purrrrrrfect time to take a walk on the wild side and celebrate Centre Club Tampa’s 30th anniversary Charity Classic event! Dance the night away to live music, sip handcrafted cocktails and enjoy delectable hors d’oeuvres benefiting Big Cat Rescue, E.P.C.F., and Augie’s Quest.

Rrrrrrreservations required so RSVP today! 813-286-4040


Rock to the Rescue Gives $10,000 Grant


Big Cat Rescue was truly delighted to learn that the sanctuary has been selected as recipient of a $10,000 Rock to the Rescue grant.

Rock to the Rescue is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded by classic rock band Styx, whose mission is to build strong communities through the support of grassroots organizations across the country. Rock to the Rescue has a special interest in supporting sanctuaries that provide humane and non exploitative care to wildlife.

Ms. Hannah Shaw, Director of Rock to the Rescue notified Jeff Kremer, the sanctuary’s Director of Donor Appreciation that Rock to the Rescue’s band and board had voted to award Big Cat Rescue a $10,000 gift to help fund construction of the sanctuary’s new “Small Cat Vacation Rotation” habitat!

“Rock to the Rescue is impressed with the sanctuary’s education and advocacy efforts on behalf of wild cats, and could not be happier to support this important mission” said Ms. Shaw.

Styx’s Rock to the Rescue has provided over $2 million in support of grassroots animal organizations, music education programs, and disaster relief efforts. The nonprofit is an important component of the band’s national tours, with fundraisers supporting the local community in every city the band performs.

For more information, visit: and be sure to “Like” them on Facebook:


Petition to Rebut False Claims


Whenever someone does something nice for Big Cat Rescue, the animal abusers come out attacking them and often set up hateful petitions to either try and discredit us or to bully the donor into hiding their support for our cause. seems to be one of their favorite places to create these hate campaigns, so we set up a quick and easy petition that we will be able to show donors, when the bad guys strike.

Would you take a moment to add your name as a supporter of big cat rescue to our petition so that we can show that there are far more people who love animals and Big Cat Rescue than those who seek to harm?


Big Cat Bingo

A huge thanks to the supporters, volunteers and interns who helped make our latest bingo night at Hamburger Mary’s in Clearwater and in Tampa both roaring successes.


Stop Tiger Abuse at Georgia State Fair


The Georgia State Fair is planning to host a tiger exhibit by All Things Wild on September 26, even after being informed that handler Marcus Cook has been charged with almost 100 VIOLATIONS of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Some of his violations include using a cattle prod on a tiger during an exhibition, keeping five tiger cubs in a trailer and allowing urine to saturate the subflooring, and keeping tigers in metal enclosures in 100-degree heat!

Take action here:  Sign PeTA Petition


Amazon Smile Shout Out!


lynxAmazonSmileA huge shout out to everyone who has donated items from our Amazon wishlist and who has chosen Big Cat Rescue as their charity of choice in  We just got a check for close to $900.00 thanks to people like you choosing us when they shop at Amazon.  It costs you nothing more and is an easy way to donate to the cats.

Please note that when you donate through Amazon we don’t get your name or address to send a thank you note, but please know that your help is GRRrrrreatly appreciated!

Thank you for taking the time to catch up with us.  Please share this September AdvoCat newsletter with your friends and family on all of your social sites.



Now at Big Cat Rescue Sept 23 2014

Now at Big Cat Rescue Sept 23 2014

Daily Big Cat – 9-22-14 – Bengali vs. The Puzzle Box


Natalia Borrego, a doctoral research student from the University of Miami, conducts a research experiment with Bengali and some of the other tigers around the sanctuary. Turns out, Bengali is one smart feline (but we already knew that)!


Daily Big Cat – 9-21-14 – Cuteness Overload #2 (Kung Fu Kittens)


It’s playtime in the #kittencabana at Big Cat Rescue! Check out these rascals as they take on each other, a giant stuffed mouse, and the camera!

Share stories about your little big cats in the comments below! All of our foster kittens from the #kittencabana are available for adoption once they reach 2 lbs and are neutered, spayed and microchipped. Apply at Humane Society of Tampa Bay or look for your local shelter. Be a responsible pet owner; spay, neuter your pets and adopt from a rescue.


Now at Big Cat Rescue Sept 19 2014

Now at Big Cat Rescue Sept 19 2014

Which iPhone Are You Standing in Line For?

Here at Big Cat Rescue, we have our hearts set on the new iPhone 6 Plus because it will help us bring you better videos.  #iPhone6P

Alex Tiger Sneaks Up on Cameraman

Alex Tiger Sneaks Up on Cameraman


Kali Tiger Update

Simba Leopard Goes on Vacation

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