Animal Planet

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About Animal Planet by Ignite Social Media

* Widgets:

o Killer Clips Widget: This nifty, grabbable widget allows Animal Planet to display some of its most popular videos - animal attacks (my personal favorite, I admit). This widget is hosted on Yahoo widgets, and currently has over 10,000 installs. I think this is a smart branding move, and it also offers the ability to easily embed across multiple social networks and blog platforms. I always appreciate that functionality :-)
o The Daily Cuddle: To offset the Killer Clips widget, they also created a widget called, “The Daily Cuddle”, a widget that delivers pictures of cute pets. On the widget wrapper I noticed the “Submit Photos”, but found this only leads you to a landing page, where you are instructed to send your picture to an email address (where the pictures are then hand selected). I love the concept, but the execution is a little too labor intensive. I’d like to see this widget give value back to the end user by allowing the widget to become completely customizable by the end user.

* Blogging:

o The Animal Planet has developed a series of blogs based on specific TV Shows hosted on the network. This is an excellent way for a large network to inspire and nurture specific conversations with its niche audiences. Many of these blogs are active before and during a season, and go quiet during down-times, but this seems to build excitement within readers rather than disinterest. I also noticed that these blogs seem to keep users more engaged with the series itself, as many comments held suggestions and ideas on what producers could do to make the shows more interesting.
o One such ongoing blog is called the “Pet Trends” blog. I noticed that this blog is trying to use social media in an organic way by developing its own meme called Trendy Tuesday. This meme is an ongoing weekly giveaway of a current pet trend, and seems to engage audience members rather well. I’d like to see the blog have more content added based around pet trends, but this is a good start.

* Social Networking:

o Facebook Fan Page: Currently the fan page does an excellent job providing widgets and interesting discussion topics, and has around 3,207 fans. I noticed offhand that they kick started the page with the question, “What would you like to see on this Fan Page?”. I think this is a simple, yet very beneficial question. Fan pages should be geared with the fan in mind, and this is one way to create a more effective page. I also wanted to point out that the Animal Planet has a representative to respond to comments, which makes it feel as if the page is dynamic and more conversational

* Video:

o Branded You Tube Channel: Animal Planet has a branded You Tube channel with all the bells and whistles. Even though this is an expensive purchase, it is smart because many of these videos are interesting enough to spread virally, and this helps the Animal Planet become the source. I noticed early on that the page is frequently updated with new videos, which could be one reason it has a rather high number of channel subscribers.
o Website Video: Overall, I was a little disappointed that not all of the videos on the Animal Planet website were embeddable. In my opinion, the easier these are able to cross boundaries, the better. I’d like to see better integration with the videos on the website and the videos hosted on the You Tube channel.
o Any others you’d like to add to this list? If there is anything that I’m leaving out, feel free to make reference in the comments below.



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