Social Media Audit: National Geographic

I’ve been watching National Geographic Channel and reading National Geographic Magazine since I was a child. My passion for nature, culture, the environment, historical figures and science have always attracted me to the adventurous and beautiful content of National Geographic. When I got an Instagram account, @natgeo and @natgeotravel were some of the first accounts I followed. I completed a social media audit on National Geographic’s overall presence and will be sharing my analysis of it today.

Personally, I think that National Geographic does an excellent job across all social media platforms. It holds accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat, and the frequency of posts ranges on each platform. On Instagram, for example, there are about six to seven posts a day about every four hours. This is likely because the content is from all over the world. It must post around the clock in order to appeal to its global audience. On the other hand, YouTube videos are published about five times per week.

National Geographic has a unique voice across all platforms. For the most part, it has an educational, intelligent, adventurous and sometimes random tone based on its content. In order to appeal to its 24.5 million Twitter followers from around the world, @NatGeo posts nearly 12 times a day. Its Twitter page typically consists of a short caption with a link to an article. It covers important and relevant topics, like the effects of social distancing on mental health, the forest fires in California, parenting advice, research studies, along with a wide range of random topics. Similarly, Facebook features most of the same content written in different ways, and posts occur a little less frequent every day.

Additionally, @natgeo is unique because of its activity on Instagram. In 2019 after receiving 100 million followers, it hosted a contest in which people submitted photos related to National Geographic content, and the prize was a photo trip to Tanzania. Each post is taken by a different photographer with their own words in the caption. Many of the photographers are geniuses who explore different environments around the world for a living and provide concise but interesting information along with every post. It provides a deeper, more reflective understanding of each photo. Some featured content includes stories from members of different cultures and tribes, animals in their habitats, cities that prioritize sustainable energy practices and fossil findings. I never fail to learn something new about things I’d never actively search for. Instead, @natgeo brings me this fascinating information and broadens my view of Earth.

Directly engaging its audience occurs primarily on Twitter. Although it hasn’t hosted recent Twitter contests, there are multiple ways that the non-profit organization gets its message out and engages its audience. First, it promoted its new TV series multiple times up until the premiere of it. @NatGeo has hosted various live conversations discussing critical topics. Most recently, it hosted a live event that discussed its investigation into the lives of two young girls who were brought into sex slavery in India. It was posted about multiple times on a thread and encouraged people to join. Other examples of engagement include short polls, asking people to submit questions to featured live speakers, photo submissions to be involved with the brand and responding to questions on a long thread. In the past, it created a #MyClimateAction hashtag to go along with a campaign that involved its multiple audiences on Instagram.

I tried to find “bad” posts from all of its social media accounts, but because National Geographic is so well-sourced, uncontroversial and regulated, I couldn’t find a single one. Each post, photo and article provides me with more knowledge than I had previously, and I gain a better understanding of Earth’s previous, current and future inhabitants.