On Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 9:15am, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay hit a highly anticipated milestone- 100,000 Likes on their Facebook page. The Society’s social media page has seen tremendous growth since becoming more active in 2011, at which time it had about 4,000 followers. In the past six years, page administrators have focused on simple strategy; sharing positive (though often initially heartbreaking) stories of it’s animals- both those up for adoption and alumni enjoying life with a family- in order to give their audience a view of their operations from the perspective of the pets. An emphasis on striking imagery (donated by a handful of incredible volunteer photographers) and heartfelt narrative have helped create an atmosphere where followers feel connected to the animals and a part of their stories.

“We are incredibly proud of the life-saving work we do,” said Humane Society of Tampa Bay Media Coordinator, Nash McCutchen. “But the truth is, we couldn’t do any of it without our supporters. The beauty of social media is that it allows people to connect on an immediate, tangible level. They can actively observe day-to-day happenings at the shelter and have a real-time, birds-eye-view of what goes on behind the scenes. They get to be part of the animals’ lives.”

Several viral stories including Bart the Zombie/Miracle Cat and the transfer of 16 dogs from a South Korean Meat Farm, helped boost the page’s following and put the Humane Society of Tampa Bay on the global radar. This popularity prompted Chief Executive Officer Sherry Silk to set a goal of reaching 100,000 LIKES by the end of 2017, the year that marks her 10th anniversary with the organization.

“At the beginning of the summer, we were at 90,000 Likes,” said Silk. “I knew getting 10,000 more followers in six months might be a tall order, but I also knew we could do it. We do amazing things every day for animals, and people want to know about it. It was just a matter of getting the good news out there.”

On July 1, 2017, the Society kicked of a campaign, #LikeToSaveLives, aimed at hitting their goal of 100,000 Likes by December 31. Bay Stage Live, a longtime partner and supporter of the Society’s events, sponsored the campaign by matching every new Like with a $1 donation, up to $5,000. With their help, just over three months into the six-month campaign, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay has met and surpassed their goal.

While the number of Likes on a Facebook page may seem relatively unimportant to the functioning of an animals shelter, Silk emphasizes that the two are intricately linked. “The more our message is out there in the eyes and minds of the public, the more support we garner. The more support we garner, the more lives we can save,” she said. “This is all about the animals. All of our efforts, our photographs, our writings, our posts- it’s all for them.”

You can connect with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay on the following social channels:

Facebook: @HumaneSocietyTampa

Instagram: @HumaneSocietyTampaBay

Twitter: @HumaneTampaBay