In my Social Media class I have learned all about the power outlets such as Facebook and Twitter have in promoting a company. I like the class for a variety of reasons, such as the fact that we are creating an actual social media plan that will be used. For example, I am doing mine on The Creightonian, which I hope will be implemented next year.
Another reason I enjoy this class is the fact that we took a field trip. Not to a museum or an office building, but to the Nebraska Humane Society. That’s right, we had a class held in the same building as puppies!
I loved being there. It made me miss Tess, my old dog.
We met Baxter, a small Pomeranian of some sort. Baxter was severely abused by his previous owner and has slight neurological damage. Nevertheless, he was super duper cute and had a killer personality.
After petting and cooing at Baxter, our presentation started. The professional who spoke with us, Elizabeth Hilpipre, is a Creighton alum. She actually once held the job I have. Elizabeth runs the Nebraska Humane Society’s Facebook and Twitter pages. She has (basically) single-handedly taken these platforms from practically nonexistent to immensely popular.
The organization’s Facebook page has over 30,000 “likes.” That is the same number of people who live in my hometown. Crazy! With one click of a button, Elizabeth can influence what basically amounts to the city of Kearney. What makes this page successful? Images! The internet is highly visual, and one can gleam more from a quick glance at a photo than a graph of text. It helps that their subject matter is cute. Whose heart doesn’t melt when they see a dog with a flower in its hair? This picture was shared over 947 times! That is a mind-blowing number that will help their metrics a ton, as we learned a “share” is worth more than a “like.”
Their Twitter account, @NEHumaneSociety, has over 4,000 followers. While this is a pretty impressive number in itself, Elizabeth herself admits that Facebook is better suited for their needs. I also feel that most of the target audience, people who have jobs and disposable income, would be on Facebook more than a micro-blogging platform like Twitter. This is an important insight for me to remember, as most of my peers see Facebook as a picture-sharing platform that will be obsolete in a few years.
That brings me to my main point. What is the Nebraska Humane Society doing with this combined audience of over 34,000 people? Besides providing a cute puppy picture to smile at, the audience helps share information about events (for free…and who doesn’t love free advertising?), persuades people to adopt a pet and raises funds and awareness about the program. One thing that struck me about the presentation is that if you want your audience to do something, just ask them! They might go along with you; they might not. Who cares? Not many people on social media platforms want to take their own initiative. They want to be entertained and informed. By telling (or suggesting) what they should do, results will be greater than if you had never asked at all.
Now go check out some pictures of puppies on their website! Woof!