National Geographic Is Far From Extinct


In a modern media environment where digital dominates, National Geographic is what you may consider traditional. The brand has always been known for its iconic print and broadcast media. Picture a magazine cover displaying a young girl at a refugee camp or a television special featuring a cheetah racing across African plains.

Integrating digital, you might expect the visually-rich brand to flood its social media with photos. The more, the merrier—right?

Instead, National Geographic has applied very unique, intentional strategies to its Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages, not all of which are visually heavy. Social media analytics platform Simply Measured studied these different strategies during a two-week period, and the reviews are fascinating for anyone looking to improve their approach to social media (raises hand).

Twitter. Rather than use brief tweet space for photos that may quickly become lost in timelines, National Geographic tweets content that links back to the brand’s main website. It’s about teasing with 140 characters rather than revealing images. Plus, those select times a photo is featured garner much more engagement.

Facebook. Maintaining a Facebook fan page can be tough. Having followers is one thing, keeping them engaged is another. National Geographic is careful not to over-post. When it does, the brand’s pairing of link previews with photos mimics magazine design. Speaking of links, did you know engagement rates are higher for Facebook posts that use a full-length URL?

Instagram. A platform designed for photos. And National Geographic serves them. One of the brand’s unique Instagram approaches is that it tags the people who made a photo possible: photographers, reporters, even the subject.

National Geographic also has a YouTube channel and Pinterest page—both have healthy numbers in posts and followers, although I’m surprised the company doesn’t feature links to these platforms on its website homepage.

What do you think about National Geographic’s strategy?


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2 Responses to “National Geographic Is Far From Extinct”

  1. Holly L. Says:

    NatGeo is taking great strides to increase their digital presence. In 2014, NatGeo had more than 30 million Facebook fans, 7.2 million Twitter followers and 7.1 million followers on Instragram, making it the No. 1 brand on the social network.

    Two weeks ago, Snapchat Discover launched, which featured 11 major brands including NatGeo. Five to ten pieces of NatGeo “stories” are featured for 24 hours then disappears. The content ranges from photo galleries to videos to articles and daily quizzes. The early reach and metrics have been very positive.

    Social media has helped the Society reach a new generation and stay true to what the brand is known for (photography, video, journalism).

  2. dshazelton Says:

    The Nat Geo strategy continues to grow with their brand partnership with Snapchat

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