How do the cool cats find their adoptive homes in the 21st century? They live in foster homes, and spend time on Instagram, Facebook and webcams!
Social Media Drives Awareness
Social media tools have remarkable potential for animals and rescue groups, so how can you, as foster parent for pets, get the most out of social media? I'll focus on Instagram search results in this post, and add some info on internet kitten web cams in the last part of this post. I've written another blog post on how you can improve your social media posts in general, which you can see here.
How To Use Instagram
Instagram is my personal favorite. It's easy to access, simple to use, and you can integrate it with other social media tools. You can easily use Instagram to promote your foster cats, but for best results, you need to maximize searchability. Yes, Instagram has features beyond the hashtag that you can lean how to use, so keep reading for tips and tricks on how to do this.
Instagram Profile SEO
You know the little magnifying glass symbol in Instagram? Obviously that tool can be used to locate hashtags, but if you set your profile up correctly, you can make that search aspect of Instagram help people find your account. Here is an example to help you figure it out. We are @thecatball on Instagram, and if you search for "the cat ball", you'll see something like this:
Look at all of these results! Let's go through them:
Set Up Your Instagram Profile Correctly
There are two aspects of your Instagram profile that are searchable with both the Instagram search tool and with web browsers, and you need to use these features to maximize your reach. These are your Name and User Name. Let's have a closer look at the business profile I set up, and how these Instagram search tools work. Here is the page that viewers see:
I want you to notice two important things here, as both of them are searchable on Instagram, the word "thecatball" (that's our Instagram Username) and the bold text, "The Cat Ball modern cat bed". That bold text is our Instagram Name. These are the two sections on an Instagram profile that are searchable in an Instagram search, and the only sections that are searchable without being hashtags. These search areas also show up in web browser searches. You need to set these two sections up to your full advantage, so let's go over this in more detail.
Maximizing Instagram Search Results, and Creating Brand Awareness
When you first set up your Instagram account, you'll have to figure out your Username. Fortunately you can change this later on; we've often seen this happen after someone looses a cat, or gets a new cat, and they realize they need to update their account name. It totally makes sense. But here is something really important to consider: you probably want your Instagram Username to be the same name that you use on Twitter, Facebook, your web page, and wherever else. Why? It's a matter of branding. You want people to be able to find your accounts on all social media platforms, and you want them to recognize these accounts. You want these accounts to be easy to find. If they all have unique user names, you cannot have consistent branding. We use @thecatball on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, our website, Tumblr, etc. It's easy to find us.
What's That Bold Text on an Instagram Profile?
OK, look at our Instagram profile again. See that bold text? This is your Instagram "Username". You get 30 characters to work with here, and whatever you write is 1) searchable and 2) helps to define your account, so think about this carefully.
I wanted people to be able to find our Instagram profile if they searched "modern cat", "modern cat bed", or "The Cat Ball", so I decided to use the text you see here. This text can be edited, so it makes sense to experiment.
The above photo is a screenshot I took of our Instagram profile when I went to edit it, so that you can understand what these sections are. How should you use this bold text section that Instagram calls "Name"? If you are fostering animals, and hope that your Instagram account will help to find homes for them, then I recommend that you use this searchable section to your advantage by adding keywords that help to identify your location. For example, if I was operating a foster kitten account, I might say, "Foster kittens in Bellevue, WA". This combination of 30 characters would help potential families in my geographic region to locate my account. Then, I'd be sure to mention the cat rescue group I volunteer for in my profile.
What About Links in Instagram Accounts?
Finally, Instagram profiles can include a clickable link. What's the best way to use this space? Well, what have you got to work with? Here are some ideas:
- Link to the cat rescue group you volunteer for
- Link to your blog or webcam
- Link to your Amazon Wish List
This URL can be changed whenever you want, so don't be afraid to keep it fresh and relevant. For example, if you make blog posts, you can update the link with each new post, and then advertise the new blog entry with a new Instagram post.
How To Add The Cat Ball® to Your Amazon Wishlist
Would you like to add the Cat Ball® cat bed or the Cat Canoe® to your Amazon wish list? to be sure you're getting legitimate Cat Ball products (not cheap copies) start from this link: The Cat Ball Amazon Store.
Watch Kittens in Your Pajamas
What if you wanted to watch kittens, but you just can't stand to put a pair of pants on? (Hey, it happens. We understand) Well, you can haz your kittens! A number of fabulous people have set up web cams that will let you watch kittens from the comfort of your home, no matter where you live. Here's the link: https://bit.ly/FosterKittenCams
This magical url will direct you to a bunch of foster kitten cams! It's a fascinating rabbit hole from there, and highly recommended. The kitten cams not only offer an opportunity to enjoy kittens, but also offer education, support, and chats.
I Want To Increase Awareness
I'm absolutely convinced that social media is an effective tool to introduce adoptable cats and kittens to potential adoptive families. There are foster cat and kitten homes all over the US and in other countries, which means it's becoming more likely that there could be one near you, so you could potentially watch kittens grow up and them adopt them.
One of my goals for this blog post is to give the newer, smaller foster cat accounts a bit of attention, and help them to connect with other accounts.. If you have a foster cat, kitten, or pet account, please leave a comment here and be sure to tell us:
- Your @instagram name
- Your location, including city, state and country
- What agency you're working with
- Any news that you have, like if your kittens are almost old enough to find their forever homes.
One Last Bit of Advice for Fosters
If you have a web page or blog for your fosters, and you use social media, be sure to add links to the social media accounts on your page. And after you do this, test those links to be sure that they work.