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EMAILED ON June 28, 2018 BY Conor Grant

Thanks to its forward-thinking strategy, a 130-year company is #1 on social media

National Geographic’s 89m Instagram fans make it the biggest (non-celebrity) brand on the platform — and NatGeo’s cross-platform storytelling has made it the top brand on social media for 4 years in a row.

NatGeo’s 420m followers (across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) generated 1.5B fan interactions in 2017 alone — not bad for a print mag that’s existed since before color photography.

Social media’s unlikely ‘it’ brand

The hottest star on Instagram? Selena Gomez, born in ’92. The hottest brand on Instagram? NatGeo, born in ’88 — that’s 1888.

For brands, the competition is not even close — with 78m, Nike trails NatGeo by more than 10m followers. Last year, NatGeo posted the most popular video on the whole ’gram (a jaguar battling a caiman).

So how do they do it? Easy: sweet photos — oh, and a genius cross-platform social media strategy.

A magazine that knows what it’s good at

As other magazines struggle to stay afloat, NatGeo is sailing full-speed ahead — offering a case study on how to adapt old-school storytelling to modern digital audiences. 

Rather than pushing against Instagram and Facebook, NatGeo leveraged these new formats to add layers to their print and online storytelling — using behind-the-scenes content and photographer cross-posts to expand its audience.

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