Today at Big Cat Rescue June 29 2013

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Social Success Strategies


by LaWanna Mitchell


This is kind of long, but is just a collection of thoughts on how I do our Facebook page.  Feel free to ask any questions you might have.


At this point BCR is not paying for advertisements on Facebook. We prefer to reserve our funds for caring for the cats.  Instead we devote literally a few hours every day to Facebook and YouTube interaction.  Use other social sites to point people to your Facebook page.  Other minor social sites only need a few minutes attention here and there.


Don’t forget to interact with your Facebook followers in the evening, late night, during the day etc. Each time block is different people so stagger the time of day/night you spend time on Facebook


We post on Facebook regularly. Facebook followers love to get a response as shortly after their comment as possible so read their comments and respond, respond, respond.  Comments are mini conversations. We ‘do’ Facebook multiple times a day and even a few evenings a week and from time to time even overnight interactions as well.


We “Like” everyone’s comment unless it is a comment that needs to be removed. This means you need to actually read all of the comments!  This is very important. How else can you get to know your Facebook followers as friends unless you actually take the time to read their comments?


We respond to many comments on a daily basis.  When responding to a person you need to use their name so that they can easily find your response even if they have a large notification list, which if they have a lot of friends they will have.  This also makes them feel personally connected to your organization because they know you care enough to communicate directly with them, just as you do with friends and family. 


We try to get to know the people who comment on our posts and respond to them as a friend not just as short generic answers.  People like the personal touch instead of feeling like they were given a ‘form letter or canned answer’.  You wouldn’t give a family member or class mate or co-worker a canned response so don’t do it with your new followers on Facebook. They are not just followers, they are new friends so treat them as such.


Talk to the people on your page as if your comments area is a chat room.  Get to know them, let them get to know you / your organization.


Remember your regular commenters so that when you respond to them the personal connection shows in your responses.  They can tell if you mean it or not.


Also, if you haven’t seen a regular commenter in several days, buzz over by their wall and find something to like such as a family photo or something.  Let them know you miss interacting with them.  After all, isn’t that what you do with friends and family?


Ask your commenters questions, then actually read their answers.  


Respond to Inbox messages as promptly as possible and as conversationally as possible. They cared enough to take the time to send you an Inbox they deserve for you to take the time to properly respond.


Use links to your blogs and website in your responses to your commenters.  This will help them to know you and your organization better.


Encourage your Facebook followers to share your items.  If they are participating on your Facebook page then obviously they care about what you are doing and will gladly help your spread your message.  Asking them to share gives them a way to help with your mission.  So ask them to share and thank them when they do.


Feel out your Facebook followers. If you have one that is a clowny personality, a serious personality, or someone who uses things like LOL, :-), etc try to respond to them accordingly.  After all, isn’t that what you do with family and friends?  I’ll repeat this, your Facebook followers are not just numbers they are your friends and need to genuinely be treated as such.


Remember who likes what.  Actually, make a list. I use “Sticky Note” and Notepad++ and have a list that is “FB Fan Favs”.  I list the person’s name and what cat they ask about or if they have visited here or dream to visit here etc.  From time to time I pull up the list and review it.  Make the personal connection!!!!! Again, if they care enough to be on your page then you should care enough to let them know you appreciate them being there.


For example we have a follower who loves a specific tiger you need to care enough to know that.  When I haven’t seen them for a while I will post a photo of their favorite cat and pop over to their wall and say, “Hey, we just posted a photo of CAT’NAME”.  Hope you like it.” or I’ll post on their wall something like, “LOL, I was in the Food Prep building today and over heard one of the interns say that TJ stalked her and pounced in his pool trying to splash her.” or something like, “Too funny. Today Cameron was pouting because Zabu wouldn’t play ball with him.” Your new friends on Facebook care about what you are doing so you need to care enough to take the time to share the fun details with them.


Facebook followers really like it if you “like” something of theirs on their wall, or if you just drop by their wall to say, “Hello, hope your day is going well.” How else are you going to get to know your new Facebook friends? 


Get your links out there are much as possible.  Get on as many social sites as possible and use those as places to put links to your Facebook page, your website and your blog. 


Make sure that your website, blog, newsletters, email signature, etc all point people to your main Facebook page.


We also have an ongoing co-branding project.  We have hundreds of items that we co-brand and let others use on their website.  Flash games, downloadable games, Child ID Safety kit, screensavers, puzzles etc.  Co-branding means they have our URL as well as the client’s URL in them.  In order to get to use our items free they have to post a link to one of our websites.  They have a list of links to choose from which includes our website, our video channel and our Facebook page.


We post the downloadable items in freeware and shareware sites. People download them and pirate them around the Internet. That is great because everyone they pirate it to now has a link to our sites. 


We also have two free eCards sites. One site is an older ‘pick up your card’ style site and has over 8,000 cards which includes photo cards, video cards, and game cards. The other one has over 3,000 cards that the photos actually show up in the email. People love sending cards especially when they can do it free.  These also bring website and Facebook visitors.


As for tracking the results. There isn’t really a way to tell where those “source unknown” hits on your site comes from. That is how it shows up if someone comes to your site from a link inside a game or from an eCard link on their email’s inbox.


To know people are actively looking at your Facebook page, you will notice things like, “What, no goodnight photo tonight?”, “You guys okay down there in Florida? You haven’t been on here much the last couple of days. Are the cats okay?”, “Well, that was an early goodnight photo.”, “Will you post a photo of CATS NAME because you haven’t in a long time.”  Again, if they care enough to notice then you need to care enough to acknowledge it.


When a commenter answers another commenter’s questions be sure to acknowledge it.  They are helping make your page a truly interactive place.  Let them know you appreciate it.


Oh, when you notice a photo getting a lot of “Likes” or “Shares” post a comment in its comment area thanking people for the “Likes & Shares“. Again, let your Facebook followers know they are appreciated.


Challenge your followers.  Post a photo and say something like, “How many shares for Shere Khan today?” Then when someone says they shared, Thank them or give them a 😉 or a :-), etc.  If they took the time to let you know they shared it, then you should take the time to thank them.


In summary, treat your organization’s Facebook page as if it is your own personal page. Treat your followers as if they are your classmates, co-workers or family.  They are only going to care about your mission as much as you do. If you do not actually read their comments and interact with them, they won’t be there for very long.


Get your links out there as often as possible.


I’m running behind today so this letter has not been proof read for typos etc. If there are some, please don’t judge BCR by my poor typing skills.

I guess you can use this thought as a way to track things.


You will notice a HUGE HUGE drop in viewership, likes, comments and shares if you miss doing the regular “Liking” on your followers’ comments.  Again you need to actually read every comment!  If you get really busy and don’t do as many comment responses within in a few posts, especially a few days you will notice a big drop in comments being left on your posts.  Remember, if you don’t care enough to actually read their comments, why should they post them?


So, again to summarize, the more YOU interact on your page the more your followers will too.  Again, your followers are not just numbers. They are people, they are individuals, and they are new friends and deserve to be treated as such.  The more your followers interact on your page the more of their friends will join. 




Not Cats, but a Victory for Chimpanzees!

This week, the National Institutes of Health made their final determination regarding the future of using chimpanzees in research.  After going through the 13,000 individual comments that were submitted during the public comment period this spring, the NIH has decided to significantly reduce the number of chimpanzees in research.  A little over 300 NIH-owned chimpanzees will be released and up for retirement in the coming years.  The Center for Great Apes applauds this decision that is definitely a step in the right direction.  We look forward to continue to work with the sanctuary community to get ALL chimpanzees out of research.
However, the NIH plans to keep 50 chimpanzees behind for future research needs.  They are not allowed to breed these individuals, and must meet the newly accepted recommendations set out by the Council of Councils Working Group such as space requirements, “ethologically appropriate” enclosures (i.e. those that would occur in natural surroundings), etc.  You can read more about the NIH’s decision here:

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