London Zoo is using Facebook video to drive social expansion

There’s nothing people love more than watching cute animals.

Case in point: London Zoo’s recent foray into Facebook video.

Last month, the zoo released footage of its two newborn Sumatran tigers, captured just moments after they were born to seven-year-old tigress, Melati.

Garnering over five hundred thousand views, the video has been a massive success for the Zoological Society London.

Here’s a bit more background as to why.

A new strategy

ZSL London has just 54,000 followers on Twitter compared to over 100,000 on Facebook. This is the main reason behind the Zoo’s switch to the platform, where it is able to utilise a larger and much more active user-base.

Previously, the organisation experimented with live streaming app Periscope, yet failed to ignite much engagement.

With a longer lifespan that allows videos stay in News Feeds even after a live broadcast, the move to Facebook also enabled the organisation to execute a much more streamlined and targeted strategy.

Why it works

While cute animals are always a winner, it’s not the only thing that people are interested in.

With an intent to provide a mixture of educational and informative content (as well as cute), ZSL’s other features have also proved successful.

A recent video about the Hercules beetle, including a Live Q&A with its handler, has now had 42,785 views, showing that the creepy-crawly can be just as fascinating as the cute.

What’s more, it doesn’t always depend on the content’s subject matter.

With 85% of Facebook users choosing to watch videos without sound, ZSL’s decision to use subtitles has also been a clever move.

Since it introduced this feature, some views have so much as doubled, demonstrating that user context is often just as important.

Wider strategy

London Zoo is just one part of the Zoological Society of London – an organisation that has placed greater effort on strengthening its marketing message in recent years.

As part of a rebrand, it relaunched last year using the strapline ‘Let’s Work for Wildlife’.

This new focus on promoting its global conservation work has influenced the type of content it produces, focusing on storytelling to garner greater emotional investment and engagement.

Instead of just getting visitors to the zoo, ZSL’s video content is now designed to further the charity’s core aim of inspiring conservational action.

What can we learn?

With the prediction that video will account for 69% of consumer internet traffic by 2017[4], brands need to keep up. ZSL is a great example to follow.

A willingness to experiment with features like silent videos and live broadcasts means that instead of lagging behind, it is constantly adapting its social strategy to fit current trends.

In terms of the platform, Facebook’s ability to target audiences[5] in contextual, relevant and meaningful ways means that, for many brands, it’s the natural choice for video content.

Further reading:

from Posts from the Econsultancy blog

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