Engaging a global Facebook audience with conservation education
Sharing information is a critical component of conservation science. Transferring this information from conservation scientists to the general public can be accelerated with the use of social media. Conservation practitioners and educators can utilize social media to display information, promote causes, and engage the public. Although social media has the potential to be a vessel for conservation education, there are few studies discussing the impact of social media on conservation education or on post timing for a global Facebook audience. To improve the success of these efforts, we sought to understand the effect of day of the week and time of day on Facebook post engagement. Data was collected from the Facebook page of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), a global leader in cheetah conservation rooted in education, research, and the mitigation of human-wildlife conflict. Friday was the most engaging day while the weekend (Saturday–Sunday) had the lowest engagement. The highest average engagement occurred between 9 AM EST and 10 AM EST and the lowest engagement was found between 5 PM EST and 6 PM EST. It is impossible to reach every person with every post, but scheduling posts or geotargeting specific geographical locations may increase engagement. This study is a starting point for global organizations to analyze their Facebook activity in order to conclude when the most engaging times occur in order to reach as many people as possible. Increasing engagement could increase the discussion of important issues in the field of conservation biology.
KeywordsSocial media Environmental education Engagement Cheetah
Special thanks to Ramana Callan, Kevin Matteson, and the many fellow graduate students for their advice and support.
This project was conducted as a part of graduate work through Project Dragonfly at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and was self-funded through the corresponding author.
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