Adoptable Animal Marketing Guide
Our goal is to utilize our amazing foster families to help pets get adopted directly from their foster homes. By connecting foster pets to adopters earlier we are able to reduce time in the shelter which can prevent shelter stress, transferable illness and help keep our pets happy and healthy in their foster homes.
In order to limit the amount of time a foster pet is at the shelter, we rely on our foster families to help us market the pet in your care. We need our foster parents to be the biggest advocate and advertiser for the pets they know and love to help them find their perfect homes.
Below is how to get started by promoting your foster pet!
Step One: Getting Started
Before you can begin to promote your foster pet, you’ll need a great photo and a compelling bio. The photo and bio should capture your foster pet’s unique personality and draw potential adopters to them.
People often say that a picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of foster animal marketing, they’re right! The first step in getting your foster pet adopted is snapping a photo that captures your pet’s personality. You don’t need professional equipment to get great photos of your pet, just your cell phone and a bit of patience.
Common Photo Types:
- Headshot: Photograph the pet at their eye level. Minimize visual distractions in the background. Try portrait mode on your cell phone.
- Action Shots: Be sure the face is in focus and clearly visible. Try to capture photos that show your pet’s individual personality.
- People and Pets: Both the pet and the person should be looking at the camera.
Tips & Tricks:
- Lighting: Photograph your foster pet in a well-lit room. Adult dogs can be photographed outside.
- Focus: For dogs, squeak a toy or hold a treat just above the camera lens. Get cats to look at your camera by dangling a fishing pole toy above the lens. Snap photos of your kittens after a long play session. Ask a friend or family member to help with this, so you can focus on the photos, while they grab the pet’s attention.
- Exercise: Often, the best time to photograph a pet is after they’ve had a chance to burn off some energy. Try snapping their pic after a vigorous play session or a long walk.
- Happy pets: We always want to show our pet’s best side. If your foster pet begins to show signs of stress, end the photo shoot and try again later.
Tip: Take multiple photos. It will increase your chances of having one great photo in the bunch.
Tip: Hold your phone horizontally. Most social media sites prefer horizontal/landscape photos.
Safety First: When out in public with your foster dog, please do not take photos if you are the only handler.
Short videos are great marketing tools! They allow your foster’s personality to really shine. Does your foster dog give the best face kisses? Does your foster kitten jump straight up into the air to swat a toy? Capture it on video!
- Short and sweet- Try to keep your video clips under 60 seconds.
- Hold the camera steady- a shaky video can be hard on your viewers eyes
- Avoid background noise
- Look for good lighting
- Stay close to your pet
Tip: Hold your phone horizontally. Most social platforms prefer horizontal/landscape videos.
Next Level: Download a free photo or video editing tool to put a professional spin on your creations.
You know your foster pet best! Use a short bio to highlight their unique personality to prospective adopters.
- Keep the language in the bios simple and conversational. Avoid animal welfare jargon or technical terms whenever possible.
- You’ll need a punchy first sentence — something that will grab the attention of prospective adopters.
- Once you’ve grabbed potential adopters’ attention, continue to paint a picture of your pet’s unique personality.
- End with a call to action of how to adopt your pet.
Tip: Marketing isn’t adoption counseling. Use your pet’s bio to highlight their positive qualities. Medical or behavioral challenges may be mentioned, but should not be the focus of the bio.
Step 2: Promote!
Now that you have the building blocks in place, it’s time to start posting! The more places you post your foster pet, the more potential adopters you’ll reach. Here’s a list of promotion ideas to get you started:
Use your own social media accounts to post your pet’s bio and photos. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Nextdoor are great platforms to showcase your foster pet.
Here are some tips:
- Use a photo or a video in your posts. Avoid text-only posts.
- Horizontal photos look best on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Nextdoor, while vertical photos and videos are ideal for increasingly popular Instagram and Facebook stories.
- Make the post your own. Use language that sounds like you.
- Clearly identify your role as a West Valley Humane Society Foster Parent
- Include clear information on how to adopt your pet
- Email us at Foster@westvalleyhumanesociety.org for animals in the foster program.
- E-mail Cats@westvalleyhumanesociety.org for animals in the Adopt From Home Program.
- Tag us! West Valley Humane Society is on Facebook and Instagram.
Next Steps: Regularly post candid photos and videos of your foster pet with short, catchy captions until they are adopted. Posting at least once a week will remind your followers that your foster pet is still looking for a home.
Cool Ideas- Out for a hike with your foster dog? Post a series of Instagram stories throughout the day. Fostering kittens? Start an Instagram account to document their growth each day.
- Talk to everyone you meet about your foster pet. Show them photos on your phone and let them know how to adopt. Hand out a foster business card. (Provided during foster pick-up appointment.)
- Send an email to your friends and family with your foster pet’s photos and bio. Ask them to post your pet’s info to their social media and forward your email to their networks.
- Ask your employer to include your foster pet in the employee e-newsletter or intranet site.
Anywhere and Everywhere
Have an idea to post somewhere not listed? Be creative and have fun! If you want to run your idea by someone, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or catswestvalleyhumanesociety.org
Step 3: Stay in Touch
- Send your pet’s updated bio and photos to us!
- For the Foster Program e-mail: email@example.com
- For the Adopt From Home Program e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll use this information to keep your foster pet’s website profile up to date.We will also use these posts in our social media presence.
- Have an interested adopter? Give them the email@example.com email to start the process.
- If you need any help creating marketing materials for your pet, let us know!