LCI client Peninsula Open Space Trust (or POST) is a private nonprofit land trust that protects open space for the benefit of all in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley. One of their programs focuses on protecting wildlife habitat and corridors. A research video captured a particularly rare – and charming – interaction between a coyote and a badger. Although the video was originally shared internally among a group of scientific colleagues, it soon made its way online and quickly went viral – which then spurred a cavalcade of national and international media attention.
When a scientist from outside the organization leaked POST’s coyote-badger video on his Twitter feed, LCI and POST’s social media teams moved quickly to ensure that the escalating worldwide interest in this wildlife video was directed back to POST’s own channels and optimized for organizational exposure on social media – and primed to be leveraged by traditional media with the appropriate key messages. The campaign goals were to:
- Drive online traffic back to POST’s website and its social media channels
- Escalate social media interest
- Leverage attention from social to traditional media
- Ensure mention of the organization’s mission to protect wildlife in all coverage
- Boost number of followers and increase interaction on POST’s social channels
- Convert engagement into donations for the nonprofit
- Redirect online traffic from third-party Twitter account to POST’s channels
- Post the original video with branding on POST’s website blog
- Create hashtags: #CoyoteBadger and #CoyoteBadgerBuddies to harness and allow for traffic tracking
- Engage with celebrity influencers like @ChrisEvans (Captain America), whose early tweet helped propel exposure on Twitter
- Leverage social for traditional media and proactively pitch to national media
- Ensure all traditional media coverage contained POST’s key messaging
- Make usage permissions conditional on posts or reports including appropriate and consistent language, tags and links
- Offer timely interview availability of POST’s media-trained subject matter expert
As soon as POST learned of the viral video, LCI helped them immediately post the video, a blog entry and related content onto POST’s website and pushed it out across all social media channels. Additionally, LCI led an early morning media team conference call to identify a process for:
- Vetting all incoming media requests
- Consolidating hashtags
- Crafting a response that outlined media usage requirements
LCI set up an internal task force to field inquiries, identify and promote media opportunities and coordinate interviews. Tracking media interest was a significant undertaking since inquiries were pouring in via multiple channels from around the world.
LCI prioritized access to major networks and global media syndicates that had the potential for greater reach. An agreement with CBS National, for example, yielded not only affiliate pickup nationwide, but it also allowed “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” a CBS property, to showcase the video at the top of Mr. Colbert’s opening monologue.
By moving quickly and dedicating a team exclusively to this effort for three days running, LCI and POST maximized the amount of views and traffic across POST-specific platforms and accounts. POST and LCI continued promoting “Coyote and Badger” while also publishing other wildlife-related content on the website to engage followers. Small changes, such as switching out the homepage hero image to a wildlife photograph rather than a landscape, increased click-throughs. POST also encouraged website visitors to take action by signing up for email newsletters or by donating. This nurturing effort helped extend the momentum and reach of the POST brand.
Social virality became the story initiating more media coverage. POST received 674 media mentions across all modalities of print, digital and on-air in connection with Coyote and Badger, with a total potential reach of more than 2.6 billion people. Locally, nearly every San Francisco Bay Area TV station interviewed POST’s wildlife programs manager. National and global outlets including BBC News and BBC World Service, ET Canada, Associated Press and ITV (UK), USA Today, CNN.com, TIME Magazine, CNET, Smithsonian.com, National Geographic, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Mother Nature News, Buzz Feed and Mashable picked up the story. POST’s net tonality score, the percent with which news is positively reflected, increased by 17%. In ad equivalency terms, earned media yielded up to $23.2 million worth of coverage.
Social following soared. On Twitter alone, the coyote-badger video received two billion impressions. 180,000 users generated 305,000 mentions all within one week. POST experienced dramatic increases in followers across all social media channels, especially Instagram. Within five days after posting the video, POST’s Instagram following doubled. Even actor Chris Evans (who played Captain America), tweeted out the video to his 13,800,000 followers.
POST’s Social Channels
- Followers as of Feb. 3 – 2,484
- Followers as of Feb. 11 – 3,542
- # of Followers Gained – 1,058
- Percent Growth – 43%
- 2019 Average Monthly Follower Growth – 21
- Followers as of Feb. 3 – 23,764
- Followers as of Feb. 11 – 28,774
- # of Followers Gained – 5,010
- Percent Growth – 21%
- 2019 Average Monthly Follower Growth – 279
- Followers as of Feb. 3 – 8,386
- Followers as of Feb. 11 – 19,206
- # of Followers Gained – 10,820
- Percent Growth – 129%
- 2019 Average Monthly Follower Growth – 203
Total Facebook Impressions: 5.6 million
Global Twitter Impressions: 2 billion
Sizzle Reel https://youtu.be/RunZzioL2-8
Original Coyote Badger video: https://youtu.be/2bICTWNRrGE