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Social Media: a “Paw”fect Tool for Animals in Need

Social media now plays a huge role in getting animals out of shelters and into their forever homes. The No Kill Advocacy Center reports that about 5.5 million animals enter shelters every year while approximately one million animals are killed. Roughly 30 million people acquire a new companion every year and shelters have now learned how to market to those who are looking for a new pet, through social media. 

Shelters use Facebook, Instagram or even Tik Tok, they have learned to use these media to help get animals adopted. Animal shelters use cute, goofy pictures and videos of animals to post on social media with information on how to adopt them. These social media posts are heart felt, warm and most importantly shareable. The key to social media use for shelters is that the animal’s story and silly photo or video is able to reach a large audience.

Buzzfeed met with Kaitlyn Garrett, a social media coordinator for the Fulton County shelter in Westside Atlanta, to dig into how her job has helped thousands of animals get adopted. The DeKalb and Fulton County animal shelters were historically overcrowded and high-kill until 2013 when these counties reached out to a non-profit called Lifeline to help manage the shelter’s operations. 

Social media plays a huge role in Lifeline’s mission, to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets in Atlanta, so much that in 2014 they hired two social media coordinators for the shelters. “Ten, fifteen years ago, these jobs wouldn’t have even existed,” says Neely Conway, LifeLine’s social media director. “And I can’t imagine them not existing now.”Since the takeover they have increased the shelter’s lifesaving rates to nearly 90% (DeKalb’s was 61% prior to the takeover). They utilize their Youtube channel with videos of animals, such as Cherrios in this video, as a marketing tool to get them adopted.

These social media coordinators have a room with their cameras and lighting, a closet full of costumes and various cute outfits, and drawers full of hats and toys. They pick the animals that typically get overlooked in the shelter or have been in the shelter for a longer period of time  then take them to the magical room for a Cinderella moment. The animal is then put in a crazy or cute outfit for their glamour shot and chance to show their personality. Photos or videos are taken and these get posted on social media with information about the animal for them to get adopted.

The McKamey Animal Center ,Chattanooga’s nonprofit organization, has jumped on the social media bandwagon, helping thousands of animals find their forever homes. Join the 11.3K followers McKamey Animal Center has on instagram and see just how social media is changing lives, one post at a time.

About Caroline Coppock

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