I often feel apologetic for posting graphic images and depressing stories about the plight of animals. As someone who follows a variety of animal news sources and animal rights organizations on Facebook, I know how overwhelming (and depressing) the stories can be as they flood my newsfeed.
But then I think about the animals. Sure, the graphic images and headlines are rather disturbing to see, but that’s just a momentary inconvenience for us. What about the animals that endure the pain and suffering, 24/7—those who can’t just simply look away and move onto the next, happier story?
So what’s an animal lover to do when your social media audience has grown weary of animal-related postings and petitions?
Here are 5 ways to help you get more engagement for your animal causes
- Keep it short and simple. Summarize the article or issue by either quoting a compelling line within the article, or summarizing it in your own words. We know that people have short attention spans, so highlight the most important point when posting or sharing a story. Assume they won’t read the whole story and let them know if there’s a call-to-action at the end.
- Diversify your audience. To help prevent your audience from tuning you out, post on different social media platforms on different days. This way, your Facebook friends will only see that you’ve posted once every few days, your Twitter followers once every few days, etc. You may be posting every day, but your social media followers won’t know that.
- Sprinkle in happy stories. No one likes a "Debbie Downer". Make sure to balance sad stories with heartwarming, uplifting or even fun and irreverent stories (think Buzzfeed). By diversifying the stories you share, your content will look fresh and will less likely start sounding the same.
- Blog about it! You don’t need to have an animal-focused blog to write a post about a worthy animal cause. You’ve worked hard to build an audience, now share with them a cause that is close to your heart.
- Be creative. Present things differently, like a foodie pic turned into a call-to-action. You could post a picture you took of a yummy dessert like crème brule, and then add a line like: “This crème brule is calling my name, but all I hear is the pain and suffering of chickens. Sign this petition to ban cruel battery-cage eggs.”
These are things I try to be conscious of and implement. I know it's hard if you're an animal lover and all you want to do is shout to the world about all the cruelty and injustices animals face. It's a struggle, for sure. But hopefully with these tips, we can move people toward compassion for all living beings ... bite-sized posts at a time.