National Geographic on Social Media: What are they doing wrong?

Nov 11 • Social Media • 3200 Views

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Some brands suck at social media. I’m not kidding. We’ve all seen them. These days a great social media presence can make or break you. Consumers are more likely to reach out and make that first contact through your Facebook or Twitter page, and if your brand is all broadcasting and no engagement or doesn’t have fresh, quality content … well, then, it’s probably not going to go well.


I work in social media, so I really appreciate a brand that gets social media. Nowadays, many companies have it figured out. Oreo, Old Spice and Starbucks are all killin’ it. However, my absolute favorite brand to follow on social media is National Geographic.


National Geographic has a plethora of amazing, original content to push out through its channels. That, my friends, is a critical component to having a successful social media account.


Let’s take a look at their social platforms:



National Geographic has over 32 million Facebook fans. The likes and shares on their posts vary from the hundreds to the thousands. There’s no doubt it’s a popular page.





With over 7 million Twitter followers and almost 19 thousand Tweets, National Geographic Tweets on average anywhere from 5 -15 times a day. They ask questions and share unique content, with every Tweet containing a link to the content.





The National Geographic Instagram account is my favorite of all their social accounts. The photos they share from all their freelance photographers are simply breathtaking … and usually accompanied by nuggets of information that enlighten and inform me. They have over 8 million followers, and each of their photos is usually liked by hundreds of thousands of people.


Dive into the World of the #harpseal by@daviddoubilet in #CoralFireIce with @Natgeo live at #Mesa Arts Center Nov 12. Here a #harpseal pup called a #whitecoat as it waits for its mother to return. Pups are born on the sea ice in February in Gulf of st lawrence, nursed for 12-15 days and then abandoned to learn how to be a Harp seal on their own, how to swim, how to feed, what to eat. Many die in this challenging early stage due to starvation, drowning and weak and crushed ice. With @natgeo@natgeo creative @NikonCamera @Seacam#climatechange #gulfofstlawrence


Photo taken by @stevemccurryofficial // Tens of thousands of Afghan children have become orphans during decades of war. This little girl was living in an orphanage in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second largest city. It is believed that the city was founded in 300 BCE by Alexander the Great. #Afghanistan #Kandahar@magnumphotos @thephotosociety



With over 3.5 million subscribers, National Geographic didn’t slouch on their videos. They are just as informative and fascinating as the photography.




Pinterest, Google+ and Blogs

National Geographic also has a healthy presence on both Pinterest and Google+ as well as a multitude of blogs. It seems they have left no social media stone uncovered.


And I’m not the only one who has noticed their impressive social media acumen. According to Shareablee, National Geographic was #1 in engaged actions as of July 2014 with over 46 million engaged actions throughout Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


So, what are they doing wrong?

One of the most interesting things I noted as I pulled together all this info is that National Geographic doesn’t seem to interact with their audience. That’s a big no-no in social media. I was actually very surprised they don’t take part in the conversations. Can you imagine how much larger the engagement and interactions would be if they actually answered questions and talked with their fans? I think the only reason they can get away with this lack of interaction is because they are such a huge, established brand with one-of-a-kind content pieces. But, there is no doubt in my mind that they’d be doing even better on social media if they made the extra effort.


What do you look for in the brands that you follow on social media? Do you just follow them to look for deals? To keep up with news or updates?



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