I’ve been involved in the building of online communities since 2002. Long before I’d even heard of the phrase ‘social media marketing’.
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Case Study: Amersham Horses
My biggest social media achievement so far was for altruistic reasons rather than monetary gain.
In January 2008 a huge RSPCA rescue operation took place in Buckinghamshire after the discovery of over a hundred neglected horses at Spindles Farm in Amersham.
Thirty two horses were found dead and the remaining horses were taken to various horse welfare organisations to be cared for and nursed back to health.
The ‘owner’ of the horses, James Gray, applied for some of the animals to be returned to him and much to the horror of the British horse loving public, Judge Sandeep Kainth ruled in his favour.
Being a horse owner I was appalled at this decision so decided to use my online skills to try to help overturn the decision. Within 24 hours I had set up a website, Amersham Horses, dedicated to the cause. I posted information on there about how people could help, who they could write to etc.
I publicised the site by posting on animal related forums such as Horse & Hound and the RSPCB and also by directly emailing the then 5,000 members of Equine Online.
Due to the number of people linking to it the new website was cached by Google, ranked number one for ‘Amersham Horses’ and had over 1,000 unique visitors in its first 24 hours online.
The National Equine Welfare Council set up a petition to ask the judge to reverse his decision. In order to publicise this further I set up a group on Facebook. The group attracted 260 members within 10 hours and over 1,200 members within 3 days which soon increased to over 3,000.
The members of the Facebook group and many other people across the country all worked very hard to recruit new members and signatures on the petition. Within 4 days the petition gained nearly 20,000 signatures and thankfully the Judge took the decision to reverse his original ruling and agreed that the horses should remain with the welfare organisations until the trial had been heard.
I was and am still proud that my efforts helped to achieve the desired result. I was also very moved when the RSCPA Chief Inspector, Tim Wass, took the time to telephone me personally to thank me for my part in helping to secure the future of the horses.