Finally, an excuse to spend more time on Facebook! (On your lunch break, of course.)
You might not think of Facebook (or any other social media platform) as a way to protect animals or the planet, but in reality you can do a lot of good by sharing the right posts. Here are a few tips I’ve learned from managing many a social media account, including one that reaches almost 4 million people each week!
Share positive content.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but try not to go overboard with the negative material. It’s just depressing.
It’s OK to share things that are happening around the world as a way to spread awareness, but try to keep the majority of it positive. We’re all bombarded with negativity every day, and it gets to be a little much. Try to post the good things that people are doing to help, the small success stories, and different ways everyone can chip in to make a difference.
Sharing positive images and articles also encourages people to see animals in a better light. We all know how much of an impact these kinds of things can make in this crazy digital age. Show people how beautiful animals are, how they bond with one another, how they’re a lot like us in many ways, how they deserve to be here just as much as we do. Help people fall in love with animals. We protect what we love!
Share action-oriented content.
I get that we do have to share negative material sometimes. Just be sure that when you do, always — I repeat, always — make sure it has a call to action.
If you share a graphic or upsetting article about how certain animals are being mistreated and there’s no way for people to help, everyone is generally either going to:
- Feel completely defeated because they can’t do anything about it
- Feel depressed because it seems like the world is a terrible place
- Unfriend/unfollow you
- Drink too much wine later
The worst thing is, nothing really gets accomplished. Everyone just ends up depressed and unfriended. Whomp.
However, if you were to share something negative along with perhaps a donation button or petition, that small action both makes people feel more involved and makes them feel like they’ve done something to make it better.
Here’s one post that I shared on my pet photography business’s Facebook page following Hurricane Harvey. It’s a sad image but everyone also immediately knows that there is something they can do to help.
Think before you snap and share that selfie.
It’s great to share your experiences with animals to the whole wide world, but just make sure you’re not doing any harm to the animal in the process. Always look into animal “attractions” before visiting. Some places go as far as drugging the animals so you can take a selfie with them. It can also be extremely stressful for animals to be handled in such a way (all day, every day.) There are many reputable places to interact with animals, and I’d love to point you in the right direction if you’re unsure! (Feel free to comment below.)
Oh, and though I probably don’t need to tell you, never remove a wild animal from its habitat or bribe it with food for a close-up photo or selfie. Your followers don’t want to see a selfie that badly. Give wild animals space. Marvel from a distance! (Oooh, ahhh!)
Be careful what you share.
Watch out for images and videos that exploit animals. Sometimes this can be a little bit difficult to decipher. Some of those adorable videos that end up going viral are showing victims of wildlife trafficking. “Thumb monkeys” are a great example, and you can read a bit about that here. If it’s a newborn or very young wild animal kept as a pet, that’s not generally a good sign. If it’s an animal doing an unnatural or forced behavior, it’s not a good sign.
Everything we share has a bigger impact than you might think. Make sure it’s in the animal’s (and people’s) best interest!
Thanks for everything you do to make the world a better place for animals (and people).