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Do Zoo Facebook likes relate to real world likes?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Arizona Docent, 11 May 2017.

  1. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member

    10 Feb 2009
    Arizona, USA
    Even to someone like me who is a psuedo-Luddite (with no cell phone or television), it is clear we live in the age of social media. Facebook is the de facto leader in this field. When I occasionally glance at the Facebook page of various zoos, I find an interesting phenomenon. That is that the number of likes for any given post is fairly consistent within a given zoo's page, but wildly inconsistent from zoo to zoo.

    One would think that this relates to a zoo's size or popularity - big zoos get lots of likes while small zoos get few. However this is not always the case. My local Arizona Sonora Desert Museum seems to get more likes than any of its larger competitors (with the possible exception of San Diego). Most posts on the ASDM page get around one thousand likes, and those that do not get several hundred.

    I was just looking at Albuquerque Biopark (which combines the zoo and aquarium and gardens) and all of their recent posts are below one hundred likes, some as few as sixteen or twenty. Yet the Albuquerque Biopark Zoo is at least as big if not bigger than ASDM and I think gets more visitors.

    So the question in my post title: Does the number of Facebook likes on a zoo page's posts reflect how many people really like the zoo? In terms of attendance the answer seems no, because some zoos with large attendance get few likes (as in Albuquerque). My suspicion is that even if it does not reflect attendance numbers directly, it does reflect the level of support. Zoos like ASDM with huge social followings I suspect have a stronger donor base and members are more likely to encourage their friends to visit (and are more likely themselves to donate).

    I would love to hear the thoughts of others and some sample numbers from other zoo FB pages.
  2. Moebelle

    Moebelle Well-Known Member

    15 Jun 2011
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    One thing I've noticed on zoo instagram pages, which is basically Facebook today, is the zoo with the best Photography usually gets the most attention. It's whatever catches the viewer's eye. Sometimes even the most popular zoos don't always get thousands of likes. It depends on the quality of the post.
    Arizona Docent likes this.
  3. Vision

    Vision Well-Known Member

    29 Aug 2015
    Antwerp, Belgium
    I believe a lot of the variation in this subject also depends on how often (and how well) the PR department of the zoo uses social media to reach out to potential visitors; the more often things are posted, the more people will see and potentially enjoy (read: 'like') the content.
    OG87 likes this.
  4. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

    23 Jan 2008
    New York, USA
    I think it does not.
    There are many factors accounting for social media popularity. The zoo's community, marketing, social media activity can all account for "likes."
    Also, Facebook is not the popular vehicle it used to be. Twitter, Instagram and others are where the traffic has gone.
    Coelacanth18 and TheMightyOrca like this.
  5. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

    27 Oct 2008
    I think that depends on where you are, in Europe it seems to be very much Facebook and the zoos that do post daily or more than that often account for the most likes, the best are the ones with a very strong marketing campaign behind it though ;)
    Vision likes this.
  6. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

    12 Feb 2009
    Instagram yes, though that is partly an integrated platform with Facebook. Twitter certainly not - it has become a wasteland.