Using Social Media to Save Austin’s Pet Community

As an animal lover, this week’s post is dedicated to two of my favorite local nonprofits – Austin Pets Alive and Austin Humane Society.  Both organizations aim to make Austin a no-kill city and over the past few years have made their efforts known to the community through social media.

In fact, according to the Austin Pets Alive website, Austin is the largest no-kill city in the nation for the past two years.  Their mission is to help healthy pets that are at risk of being euthanized in a shelter, rescue pets, and help owners that are in situations where they have to surrender their pet(s) to a shelter.  Austin Pets Alive’s social media presence can be found on the following sites:

The Austin Humane Society is the city’s largest and longest standing no-kill nonprofit animal shelter.  They were established in 1952 and have since then been devoted to eliminating unnecessary euthanasia of dogs and cats.  Their social media presence can be found on the following sites:

Looking back at last week’s post, Scratching the Surface: Understanding Social Media for Nonprofits, these two organizations are exemplars as thought leaders in the social media world.  Being a “content curator” was one of the Three Simple but Powerful Social Media for Nonprofits Tips.  Both Austin Pets Alive and the Austin Humane Society place a strong emphasis on the animals they serve through their social media sites. This is what people care most about – the impact felt by the community and individuals (or animals in this case) that benefit from the organization’s relentless endeavors.  What these organizations do is tell stories to their audience through their posts, tweets and videos.  Stories about how these cats and dogs got to where they are, how they like to spend their day, and the types of owners they are hoping to find. What I like most is that these posts are personal and are usually constructed as if that particular cat or dog is speaking directly you. Here are a couple of examples of their latest Facebook posts:


Both of these nonprofits have established a great balance between posting the organizations’ fundraising needs and the stories and bios of their animals in need of homes and loving owners.  For example, the Austin Humane Society has been tweeting about Amplify Austin, an upcoming community-wide day of online philanthropy with the goal of raising $1 million in 24 hours.  Using hashtag #AmplifyATX, the Austin Humane Society is getting the word about the event while keeping their purpose on the minds of their followers.  Take a look:

Social endorsement is a major contributing factor to an organization’s social media campaign.  This is when someone shares or retweets an organization’s post.  I have a friend on Facebook who is also an animal lover and often shares links to Austin Pets Alive’s posts. I unfortunately don’t have the bandwidth to adopt another pet right now (I can still remember the moment when I picked up our Bengal-mix cat, Chloe, as a tiny kitten that could fit in my palm almost 9 years ago!), it definitely reminds me of the needs of our pet community. Actually, this is what got me to follow the organization’s social media sites in the first place. Here are some stats from the MDG Advertising infographic I mentioned last week regarding social endorsement:


So even if you can’t adopt or donate, it doesn’t hurt to share the organization’s stories with your social media community.  Overall, Austin Pets Alive and the Austin Humane Society are two exemplar non-profits that have developed well-executed techniques to build strong and credible social media presences.  If you have a soft spot for animals, I suggest following these organizations to learn more about what you can do help. As always, thanks for reading! Stay tuned…


About abehara

Studying Communication at St. Edward’s University, specializing in PR and Advertising. Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Happily married and Austin resident for the past 10 years.
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