Social Media Marketing Case Study: Londolozi
With the conclusion of our series, "26 Social Media Marketing Examples in Detail", I was contacted by Rich Laburn, a social media consultant and wildlife filmmaker, whose passion is promoting the luxury safari market. Since he has done social media work for Londolozi (a private game reserve in the Sabi Sands region of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park in South Africa), he requested that I dive into what they are doing and give some feedback for how Londolozi's current efforts are going.
This said, I can guarantee you that I have not received compensation for this post (but if I for some reason get offered the opportunity to go, I'll be sure to blog about it).
Enough wishful thinking. Lets jump in.
The Londolozi blog can be found directly from main website homepage, which immediately gives the blog a couple of bonus points. It's also hosted on blog.londolozi.com, which is also sure to help optimize both the blog and the website within organic search. Both of these features I noticed as important, yet often overlooked features when a lot of companies begin blogging.
I will admit that on first impression of the blog, I was a little confused from the blog homepage design layout itself. The blog is obviously built in WordPress, but the two column theme with only previews of content made me feel like the blog was missing content on the homepage, and question how often it was updated. Fortunately on closer inspection content is updated frequently (3 times a week), and does a great job of giving a personal point of view of what a visitor would experience upon visiting Londolozi. After reading the content itself, it is clear that it only needs a re-design so that people can get engaged upon their first visit. In addition, I would break lengthly content up by including subheadings or bullet points, or a content series so that visitors aren't deterred by the length (they seem long but they really are worth reading).
Compared to the homepage, the two column design for the interior pages did a much better job facilitating visitor engagement with the blog. Instead of having comments listed at the bottom of the posts, viewers have the ability to participate through a right hand comment section, and are also compelled to share the post by seeing social proof that others have tweeted the content. I actually love how this works and how it inspires interaction. See the screenshot below to see the user engagement with these areas:
Londolozi on Facebook
The Londolozi's efforts on Facebook are managed through a personal profile page instead of a fan page. With 744 friends of the profile, Londolozi uses this as a way to communicate with people who have been to Londolozi and want to stay connected. This profile is also active - providing advice and support to those who are coming to Londolozi, offering tips on what to bring, and giving glimpses into what the experience will be like through sharing blog posts (all of which sends traffic to the site).
Even though this is exactly what they should be doing in terms of content and interaction, I would highly recommend to switch this personal profile into a branded page. For one, this will open up the page to have more fans engaged with it, as many barriers for participation with the page will be removed. In this personal user profile scenario, if I want to engage with the page immediately, I can't because I have to approved as a "friend". Switching to the fan page model, I can immediately become a fan and begin engaging right away, or if I'm considering Londolozi I can get a glimpse into what the Londolozi experience is like. With a strong and engaged fan base, it seems like a risky move to migrate the current base, but the migration will offer long term benefits like newsfeed inclusions, Facebook insights, and the ability to utilize branded tabs.
In addition, I would recommend that Londolozi implements a Facebook strategy that gives fans value for staying connected. One way to do this is to give a percentage off or perhaps an extended service on their next visit for becoming a fan. Another way to do this would be to hold promotions within the Facebook tab that would get fans more engaged. Offer a photo contest within the page itself, and get those who have visited Londolozi to share their experiences for the chance to win a free trip back to the game reserve.
Londolozi on Twitter
The Londolozi Twitter account is doing exactly what it should be doing: sharing blog content, and updating followers on new happenings. The content is frequent and the updates are well written in the sense that they either explicitly tell you what is going on or they give teaser copy and link to a blog post that seems interesting to read.
One suggestion for this account is integrating a weekly Twitpic of the reserve. I can't seem to get enough pictures of Londolozi, and the more I see the more I want to go.
Londolozi on YouTube
The YouTube channel is updated frequently with videos that are often also embedded within the blog posts. This content is almost like National Geographic, giving up close and personal videos of the animals on the reserve. I love how short and quick these videos are, most under a minute in length, but each compelling enough that you end up watching not one video but two or three. Each video encorporates a glimpse into the wildlife and experience you would find on a safari. This content shows instead of tells people what they are going to find at Londolozi, which is why it works for the social space.
To better optimize this content, I would suggest developing videos around the entire Londolozi experience (including ammenities and luxuries). Including these videos will give a 360 degree view of the experience, but more importantly will help Londolozi use its name more prominately in its titles to begin ranking organically for some of the new content it is producing. As you can see from the screenshot below, content from 2008 is ranking on the first page of Google for "Londolozi", simply because both videos used this in the title and description.
What's To Come
Rich from Londolozi gave me the heads up that they have received a great response from people all across the world who have learned about Londolozi through their social efforts. This is a great confirmation that social media can help even niche companies or products reach people (after all, I didn't really knew luxury game resorts like this really existed).
What is to come of these efforts? Londolozi is currently developing a more integrated social site where past visitors can upload their own photos of their safari experiences at Londolozi, read the blog, and leave feedback for the staff. I think this is a good idea, as long as it doesn't become too inward facing like the Facebook profile.
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