Humane Society of the United States- Non-Profit Social Media Marketing Example #3

I have decided to team up with Ellyn to help her tackle her list of nonprofit social media marketing examples. For our next post in the social media nonprofit series, I wanted to highlight a campaign by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) that I discovered after receiving an email from a friend asking me to sign a petition against animal cruelty. As I researched the topic on the HSUS website, I noticed their social media campaign against the major restaurant chain, IHOP. HSUS is attempting to persuade IHOP to use cage-free eggs like their competitors and are gaining support through various social media outlets.


I started my research on the Facebook fan page. When you click on the HSUS Facebook fan page, an “IHOP” page pops up featuring this campaign. Fans can view a video of the harsh treatment of animals by IHOP’s egg supplier. They can then take action by signing an online petition, joining the FB cause, commenting on IHOP’s fan page, etc. The IHOP tab, however, is only one part of the fan page. Although HSUS regularly updates their wall with links to upcoming events and links to articles pertaining to their overall mission, the fan page is lacking discussion and interaction between supporters. It would be interesting to see a Discussion tab added to see where others stand on the issues and why they support the cause. Fans can comment on the posts made by HSUS but cannot post their own topics on the wall.



On the HSUS MySpace page supporters can grab a widget to “take action” and/or sign the petition against cruel battery cages. This widget can be placed on their own MySpace and Facebook profiles so that all of their friends can see that they support this cause. The MySpace page also features the undercover investigation  video.

Looking at the MySpace page more closely, we see blog entries, a Flickr slideshow featuring photos from the organization and widgets. There is also a place to download Carrie Underwood’s song “Home Sweet Home” from iTunes, which donates money to HSUS. Overall, this page seems cluttered and is not as user-friendly as the Facebook fan page. It would be helpful to organize the page differently and eliminate the noise. The page has so much going on that it takes a long time to load, and the comments section is not being used to encourage discussion but for people to post irrelevant content. Some monitoring of content would be beneficial.

More Social Media…

The Humane Society of the United States has over 17,000 followers on Twitter. To improve communication, they might consider having more tweets come from HSUS with links to photos, videos and articles. Currently, many of the tweets are people having conversations that are difficult to follow because there are too many threads. Also, HSUS has their own channel on YouTube branded for their organization. People can view videos of animal abuse and animal safety tips calling them to action. Finally, HSUS has a blog written by the President and CEO of the company. The blog is updated regularly with interesting content, including photos and videos when necessary. Incorporating all three of these mediums into their campaigns could help grow their fan base.

What are your thoughts on the HSUS campaign against IHOP?  Do think HSUS could make better use of social media outlets? Post a comment and let me know your thoughts.

  • Maria Reyes-McDavis
    Posted at 19:53h, 15 October

    Love this example, especially how the Humane Society is highlighting focus causes on their FB page, rather than focusing on themselves… that’s how you’re able to mobilize large parts of a community. Thanks for the highlights 🙂

  • Nicolle van Bakel
    Posted at 21:46h, 15 October

    Nice examples of sociale media in the non-profit sector.

  • JF
    Posted at 04:17h, 16 October

    While I think that HSUS is doing a wonderful job by utilizing social media outlets, I feel that their campaign against IHOP might be a little short-sighted. By condemning IHOP, individually, for its cruel practices in gathering eggs, HSUS is setting the standard that larger cages alone are all it takes to have a satisfactory, cruelty-free farming procedure. What happens when IHOP folds into HSUS’ demands and institutes larger cages? Will they just become one of the many restaurant chains that doesn’t have free-range chickens- or more deceptively, one of the ones that advertises free-range chickens under the guise of opening the cage door to an immobile fowl for a few seconds each day? They’re thinking broad with social media outlets, but not with the causes they’re advertising on those outlets. What IHOP is doing is deplorable, but a boycott of just one of the many evils in the industry from HSUS’ 17,000 Twitter followers isn’t going to solve the true crisis for our poultry.

  • Guest
    Posted at 02:59h, 21 October

    IHOP is wrong and I will not step place again unless they can show their compassion and do like their competitors who show their compassion. I hope that this is a start that the social media campaign you mentioned will persuade IHOP to use cage-free eggs. Guaranteed I will share this information with family and friends. I disagree with JF when he said, “What IHOP is doing is deplorable, but a boycott of just one of the many evils in the industry from HSUS’ 17,000 Twitter followers isn’t going to solve the true crisis for our poultry.” I think you JF is wrong and feel that people in numbers will make IHOP wake up if they want they business to remain open. There are other companies that owners were forced to close their doors because they wanted to do things their way giving little to no care or concern for how or what they were doing. Others companies have realized for the good of their business, they need to make adjustments to please who keeps their doors open. And who are they? YOU, ME and MANY OTHER! If everyone took the attitude to give up without trying, you could imagine what the state of this country would be in? Even worse than now.

Post A Comment