“Help us find a special birthmother for adoption by RTing this. #birthmother #birthmom #adoption #openadoption #adopt #baby #adoptiveparents”
If you’ve spent any time on the social media, chances are you’ve come across posts similar to this and others like: “Make our adoption dream come true. If you’re pregnant, call us now. All expenses paid.”
At first glance, these messages by waiting adoptive parents may seem perfectly fine.
But if you want to find an adoption match online, you’ll need to take a different approach using different wording and a different tone.
For one thing, the person you’re trying to connect with isn’t a birthmother, not does she view herself as one.
Depending on how much she knows about open adoption and what stage of the process she’s at, she may have no idea about what you’re talking about.
In her mind, she’s simply a pregnant woman who is thinking about adoption. She may go through with her plan, then again she may not.
So don’t refer to her a “birthmother for adoption” or worse, put out a call for “birthmothers for adoption.” (That said, we’re glad you found our post!)
Similarly, asking someone you don’t know “to make your adoption dream come true” and offering to pay her expenses isn’t just tacky and insensitive. It’s risky.
Remember, the person you’re reaching out to is dealing with a crisis—an unplanned pregnancy—and may be struggling with what’s the right thing to do.
For her, the most important goal right now is deciding what’s best for her and her child, not on how to make the adoption dream of a couple she’s never met come true.
Offering to pay her finances upfront, before you’ve exchanged a single word, sends out the wrong message and could leave you vulnerable to scammers.
Generally speaking, there’s nothing wrong with trying to find an adoption match through social media. In fact, many adoptive parents have been successful.
You just need to do it the right way. Here are some tips to help you take your social networking to the next level.
Choose the right platform
Whether it’s Facebook or Pinterest, Instagram or Snapchat, every social network has its own audience and rules of engagement.
Avoid the common mistake that a lot of waiting parents make by being on all networks and spreading yourself too thin.
Pick one or two platforms that you’re comfortable with and that you can see yourself using on a regular basis, and then spend whatever time it takes to master it.
Create an interesting profile
Every social network allows you to say a few words about yourself, post a image, and include a link.
Take the time to create one that will grab people’s attention and set you apart from others.
Instead of using the limited real estate you’re given to create a hard sell by urging people to connect you to a birthmother, compose something more compelling that says something about you.
It could about where you live or what you like to do, and make sure to include a link back to your profile or site so that people who are interested in learning more can follow up.
Start a conversation
Social networks are a great way to level the play field against large adoption agencies and online services with huge advertising budgets. Just remember, they’re called social networks for a reason.
If all you’re planning to do is ask to celebrities and others to “help you find a birthmother” by sharing your message, you’re not going to get very far.
Instead, look for ways to add value and build relationships with other like-minded people.
Engage with other
Expectant parents use social networks because they’re interested in discovering new things or sharing things they love. Keep that in mind when you’re creating your posts and don’t be overly self-promotional.
Solve people’s problems. Answer their questions. Find ways to stand out and keep people interested in your feed so that they keep coming back.
Write about or share posts that are of interest to a woman who is considering adoption.
These include topics ranging from how to take care of yourself when you have an unplanned pregnancy and what is open adoption to how to find adoptive parents for your baby and prepare for your placement.
Social networks are visual mediums, and nothing will help you stand out more than adding a photo or image to your feed.
Personal photos or a favorite quotes are both great ways to drive up your engagement.
Not only will they add interest to your feed, they will also give your followers a glimpse into who you are, your values, and the type of parent you would be.
Go easy on the hashtags
Hashtags are a tried and true way to stand out, but don’t go overboard.
On some social networks like Twitter they can help you get noticed. But on others like Facebook they won’t.
Educate yourself on what works best on the platform where you post and publish your posts accordingly.
Keywords—the words people use to search for a term– aren’t just for search engines. They can also help you get noticed on social media.
As with hashtags, just be sure not to overuse them. And stay away from words that are too generic.
For instance, “adoption” is a broad term that covers everything from public to international adoption. “Open adoption,” on he other hand, is much more specific and will better target the people you’re trying to connect with.
And, as mentioned earlier, avoid keywords and hashtags like “#birthmother” and “#birthmom.”
They will put you on the radar of women who have already placed a baby rather than someone who is making an adoption plan for her baby or considering placing.
Regardless of what platform you use, whether it’s reaching out to expectant parents through your online profile or social media, the same rule applies: Be yourself.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not or say things because you think expectant parents want to hear them. They’re aren’t looking for perfection. They’re looking for real people.
Make sure your posts sound warm and genuine, rather than canned and insincere.
Post on a regular basis
Setting up an account on Facebook or Instagram isn’t enough. To get traction and make yourself stand out, you need to update your feed on a regular basis with fresh, interesting content.
Include lots of pictures and updates about your daily life. They don’t have to be dramatic. Expectant parents want to get to know you and see what you’re really like.
And in addition to your own content…
Curate other people’s content
A lot of social media users get fired up when they first join a network.
They’ll publish something new every day, but then they’ll run out of ideas and their feed will go silent for days at a time.
If you find yourself lacking inspiration, don’t go AWOL. Instead, find interesting content on other users’ feeds and share it—with credit, of course.
Not only will your followers eat it up, but the person who originally created the content will also love you for sharing it and helping him reach a new audience.
Measure the results
Social media is an awesome way to expand your reach online. But you need to be patient. It takes a long time to be an overnight success.
Keep at it, and keep testing your content to see what works and what doesn’t.
All social media networks come with analytics that allow you to measure your results, and to adjust it accordingly.
And while you’re at it, be sure to check out automation tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer.
They’ll enable you to schedule posts in advance so that you won’t have to be online all the time.
And that’s a good thing, when you consider that finding a match takes a lot of time and effort. But once it happens, you’ll agree with others who have been successful: it’s worth it! Good luck!
Looking to take your adoption outreach to the next level? Check out our adoption plans.
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