How NatGeo Became One of the Most Relevant and Inspiring Brands in Social Media



National Geographic celebrates the explorer inside all of us while maintaining a social footprint of over 350 million faithful followers.

How did a nonprofit science research, education, and conservation organization become a social media powerhouse with over 350M fans? By taking the science-based content they gather from all around the world and distributing it across their entire media network, National Geographic is creating a virtuous cycle of storytelling while remaining true to their philanthropical pursuits.

At #SMWLDN, Nadine Heggie (VP of Brand Partnership, National Geographic) and Stephen Alvarez (Photographer, National Geographic) spoke about how NatGeo is dominating the social landscape by focusing on what truly matters; storytelling.

More Purpose

Before diving into their impressive social numbers, Heggie spoke about how purpose is the engine that drives their business. The brand returns 27% of their proceeds to the non-profit National Geographic Society, which funds research and projects. Heggie describes National Geographic as a human company and believes that it is one of the main reasons that they are such a successful brand when it comes to social.

NatGeo By The Numbers

National Geographic has accumulated over 345 million followers on social. On Facebook, they are currently the #1 television brand, #2 printed media brand, #2 media house, and #3 media brand. Here are some other staggering social statistics:

  1. 107.2M followers on Instagram
  2. 28.3M+ followers on Twitter
  3. 6M+ followers on YouTube
  4. 14.7M followers on Snapchat Discover

The Big Questions

When it comes to social, National Geographic focuses on these three big questions:

1. How do you get people to stop and engage?

By staying true to your brand, being super timely with content, employing the power of wow and wonder, and embracing new technologies and innovations to tell stories.

2. How do you meet them where they are?

Create a social ecosystem across multiple platforms divided into different subjects or genres.

3. How do you move people from consumption to creation?

Collaborate with your audience by getting them involved and finding the right storytellers to represent your brand.

Heggie finished her talk by saying that the future of social is through visual storytelling and that social is always on.

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