Blu Firnkes, Jim & Bertie Broaddus work with Nat Geo’s Joel Sartore to create the first jaguarundi images to be included within project “Photo Ark.” Expect a glimpse of Joel’s finished work before Christmas.
Working with felines and being of the latter generation, my techno skills are not up to speed with the ‘Facebook’ generation. At the onset, I thought “Tweeting” was something to get the cats attention. I will qualify as an OCTOGENARIAN in less than a decade, and I don’t have time for Encore studies, although I did check curriculum offered at several community colleges. So what’s the work around? Since BCFC budgets don’t permit hiring specialist to organize our social profiles, we gave the project to our “human resources” officer to come up with a fix. (LOL….there is no BCFC Human Resource Officer. It’s just me!) Least I digress….our Board, in all its wisdom, elected its newest, youngest member. Announcing Tanis Thomas, part of an artist family. Son of Tim and Terri Thomas, the THREE T’s. They do, among other things, “Landing Pages.” I was pleasantly surprised that at 19 years-of-age, Tanis was worthy of the task. His dad being his Marketing Consultant, ensures that help will be available throughout these process.
Definition: A “Landing Page” is a simple one-page website that has all that signature stuff in an easy graphic interface. Tim & Tanis have a simple and affordable template that they use that makes the project quick and painless. They did me one that has my name up at the top with the geographical location printed under. I got them to put a big panther picture with our logo under the banner and a simple “About the Center’ text box next to it. The website was up almost immediately.
The package includes the purchase of the Domain Name and Hosting for a year. The template includes a button for my email and three social buttons for Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube respectively. The YouTube button links to a video of the Feline Center that was shot by a local TV station, but we plan to shoot a 15-30 second commercial later this month to update and replace it. These three buttons can be exchanged for Twitter, Skype, or any other social media you desire. There is also a picture of me and one of my cats, my name and title, and a brief ‘About Me’ statement.
Stay with me now. Lastly, there are four link buttons at the bottom of the template. Two are taken with the Web Designer’s logo that link to their site and the Search Engine Registration button that allows free registration to over 300 search engines. Having these two on the page is why they can host the site so inexpensively. The other two buttons are for the purchaser’s use. I linked the first to our Official Center’s Website and the other (of course) to the FCF. You could also have them link to a shopping cart, ticket site or download a brochure or event flier. The Domain Name was part of the fee as was the first year of hosting.
Now I have two feet on the world wide web that link to each other and instead of that long line of text hanging unattractively beneath my email signature, I have a clean ‘Contact Info’ button that leads to my Landing Page; www.jimbroaddus.us. Gratuitous plug for the Thomas family, go to www.webpagesfor99dollars.com They’ll fix you up!
If it were just that simple. This launched the beginning of our new marketing effort. Another member of our team, Rick Knutsen, journeyed from his home/office up in Atlanta to visit us two years ago during a Sunday tour. He volunteered his digital marketing services to help BCFC fill the void with the ‘Facebook’ generation. He develops comprehensive digital marketing solutions across multiple channels, including social media, banner advertising and search engine optimization. With Rick’s help we were able to within a month add additional content on page 1 pushing some, shall I say, misleading listings to barely on the first page, well insulated from Bear Creek. Rick pointed out that “It’s just a strategy that works!” He stated that as we publish more and more content on our website and social channels, and engage our audience where they meet, we will ultimately dominate the space on search engines. Rick advised that pushing out content is vital and we want to accentuate the positive we are doing. Rick emailed this to me days ago: “BTW, I posted your info regarding the National Geographic Photo Shoot on G+, Facebook, and Twitter. Within G+ I sent it (again) to your email distribution list so they can add your G+ BCFC page to their circles. Yesterday I added you to 150 directories which will take up to 90 days to get populated. Now, we need to get the word out for your Thanksgiving Rendezvous so I can publish it on the same channels.” I got it! Now I am beginning to understand this new language. You may reach him atwww.wsiebizsolutions.net
BCFC decided to develop a Marketing Strategy with simplicity in mind. We identified the 4 simple requirements to this plan. 1) Timeline, 2) Milestones, 3) Budget and 4) Resources. We also revisited our Mission/Vision Statements and are adding to promote Florida Wildlife Treasures to the concept.
Our first Timeline was easy….from now until the end of the year.
We identified two Milestones;
Face Lift of the Facility
Upgrade Web/Internet Presence
Budget; $2000 or less.
Resources; Board Members, Volunteers and Special Friends!
The Web/Internet Presence upgrade is pretty much what you have read previously.
The Face Lift was decided to have three outcomes:
Upgrade our entrance to be more welcoming and visitor friendly.
Upgrade our exhibit signage.
Landscaping and grounds upgrades for ambiance, safety and security.
We secured signage and went to work. We are landscaping, clearing and fixing issue areas.
Lastly, the BCFC Board will meet after the Holidays to discuss a 1, 3 and 5 year plan. It will involve Eco Tourism, Marketing, Advertising, Goals, Benchmarks and a Growth Strategy. As Founder/Director of BCFC, I plan to involve my group to have more “Ownership” in our cause.
Said another way, although no one does it as well as I do it, I must trust our volunteers and learn to delegate responsibility!
Keeping it real….FCF’s membership consist of 100’s of sanctuaries, exhibitors and breeders, Worldwide. We think it may be time for us to unify in such a fashion to enable us to “stay on message” by linking our social profiles and web sites. We continue to spend too much time as individuals, combating the negative campaigns launched against our membership by our enemy and her minions. when we should be focusing on all of the positive we are doing. Please give some thought to joining with us to dock up our websites as we co- promote!
Bottom line: Content, content, content. We have to drive our message and control it across all channels. We want to claim and optimize our social profiles. We are now in front of our audience in more and more ways….and places.
BCFC’s State inspection was completed this morning with no “non compliant” issues. Thanks to each of you who continue to make BCFC the best place ever for the cat!
Worthy of note: We are advised that the FFWCC is relaxing their policy with reference to the number of Class I felids that can be kept by a “Grandfathered” Class I Cougar facility like BCFC. This means that our Puma Concolor inventory can be increased, but NOT the number of Class I species. In other words, cubs born to Dani/Saint would be permitted. We are legal to possess additional cougar adults. We are not permitted to add leopards, tigers, lions or other big cats, although I personally have the log books to support experience with these cats. Our acreage limits us to grandfathered puma concolor at this facility.