Share your lost pet’s information on Facebook and other social networking sites
Facebook is the largest social media networking site in the world and one of the most widely used. Many people share their lost pet’s information on Facebook, but few people go beyond posting on their own their personal Facebook page. This is the first step, but don’t stop there. Post to your page and ask friends that live in the area to also share the post with their friends. Consider using a flyer or link created on a lost pet database such as Helping Lost Pets rather than just a photo of your missing pet. Better yet, create a Facebook community page or website for your lost pet and share this instead (see below for more info).
On Facebook, check for “Community” pages for lost pets in your town or state. Try searches for “lost” or “missing pets” (or dogs or cats) and your state, town, region or surrounding towns. Also search for community pages for any local shelters, rescue groups, veterinarians, pet stores or animal advocate groups in your area, and post to these sites as well. For a list of community lost pet pages in New England, see the Online Posting Resources. If you want to go one step further, use Google maps to locate businesses in the area where your pet went missing, and share your lost pet’s information to their Facebook pages. Be sure to ask them to share with their Facebook followers.
Create a Facebook page or website for your missing pet
You can even create a “Page” specifically for your lost pet. Here is a good example on Facebook: Finding Sampson. Other options are Facebook Groups or a free website blog such as Blogger or WordPress. Here’s an example of a blog for a lost cat: Lost Cat Hershey. The link to the blog or Facebook page can be included on your poster or flyers so people can visit for additional information (e.g. more photos). You can also post updates to your search here. While this can be an effective search addition, you should be cautioned that Facebook pages have been known to get out of control, especially when someone is not actively monitoring comments. In the case of a skittish lost dog, be sure that you don’t provide too much information on sighting locations or well-meaning people may search the areas and inadvertently scare him away.
Use Facebook Advertising
If you have a Facebook page for your missing pet, you can also “boost” a post. Using audience targeting, you can select people to show your post to based on location and interests such as people that live within 2 miles of your home and like cats. This is a form of Facebook advertising and does cost money, but you can set whatever works for your budget. See this blog article for more details: How to Boost a Facebook Post for a Lost Pet.
Searches for lost pets can cost a lot of money, especially if they go on for any length of time. If you are having difficulty coming up with the money to do everything that you need or want to try, then don’t be too proud to ask for donations. Use a Crowdfunding site like Go Fund Me, which allows you create an account and collect donations. You can also post this to your blog or share on your social networking site. Facebook now offers their own fundraising tool; learn more here. Even donations of just $5 each can add up if you have enough followers or generous friends.
Be aware that most fundraising sites will take a small percentage of your donations so be sure to factor this into your fundraising goal. Go Fund Me and Facebook appear to have some of the lower fees at less than 3% (plus $0.30 per transaction) processing fees and no platform fees. Also check the platforms FAQs to determine how/when you can withdraw funds. Some require that you reach your fundraising goals while others will allow you to withdraw funds as soon as you begin receiving donations. Both Go Fund Me and Facebook do not require you to reach your goal last I checked, but be sure to check their sites for program updates.