Cleveland, Ohio Metroparks Finds Outdoor Education Reaches Beyond Facebook “Likes”

These Bald Eagles are tending to their fourth nesting. The last three years they have successfully raised an eaglet each year. The nest may be as large as 13 feet deep, 8 feet across, and weigh 1 ton. Photo and video by Ohio Division of Wildlife bald eagle nest monitor Lisa Romaniuk.

Cleveland, Ohio Metroparks’ Facebook  site receives high “likes” and “shares” traffic from the daily content posted by their Outdoor Education staff.  It’s no wonder since there is plenty of outdoor educational content to share.  Resources include five nature centers, sixteen reservations, 21,000 acres and spectacular wildlife right in Cleveland’s own backyard.

236 likes, 20 comments, and 74 shares were attributed to a March 9 posting: “We have an egg! The bald eagles in Rocky River Reservation have laid their first egg…” The Cleveland Metroparks Facebook posting included the photo at left and a bald eagle nesting video by Lisa Romaniuk. Red-shouldered and Red-tailed hawk postings also observed good engagement rates with 43 likes and 11 shares.

The numbers don’t stop online.  Outdoor Education staff efforts are paying-off in terms of increased attendance rates at Park programs. Naturalist LaDonna Sifford normally had four to seven people attend her winter hikes in the Bedford Reservation. In January this year more than 40 attended, most responding to the hike posting on Facebook.  Popular programs have also filled up at a faster rate because of social media.

“A recent example is the Lithuanian Egg Decorating program, which ran on March 21 at Canalway Center,” stated Cleveland Metroparks marketing associate Eric Barnett. “A second program was added on April 1, which also filled up completely.” “As for web traffic, for all of March Facebook generated 1,793 unique visits to http://www.clemetparks.com, of which 58 percent were new visits to the website,” said Barnett. “Facebook and Facebook mobile are currently the second and third largest referral pages to our webpage respectively coming in behind the Zoo website.”

Following the first month of collaboration with their Outdoor Education division, Metroparks staff found that their Facebook “People Talking About Us” and “Reach” metrics had improved by 212% and 770% respectively.  “Reach” is a metric that reflects the amount of people who see your post as opposed to the more interactive “People Talking About Us” metric.  “Reach” numbers create greater online and offline foot traffic on other media channels.  After Google, Facebook is the greatest source of online foot traffic to Cleveland Metroparks website.

Because of the success of the Outdoor Education division’s social networking program the Natural Resources division intends to begin updating the public in a similar manner regarding biodiversity, conservation, native plant communities and its relationship with the Outdoor Education division.

Contact us at Capstone Media to discuss how a social media program can augment your marketing efforts and drive your traffic.