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Andy’s Answers: How National Geographic uses social media to get fans talking

2 min read

Brands & Campaigns

National Geographic is one of the most beloved brands of all time. So it’s no surprise that on Facebook and Twitter, this passion is reflected in its huge fan numbers.

But how does National Geographic manage it all? How does it find content that fans want to share? What is the voice of the brand? At our last Word of Mouth event, National Geographic’s Brendan Hart shared a bunch of the secrets about how it is done.

A few of his big ideas:

  • Define your voice and the team behind it. When National Geographic first launched on Twitter, Hart ran the account — but over time, he weaned himself off because he didn’t think it would scale with him alone. So, he turned the reins over to a core team, and, with a laugh, he said growth has been exponential since making the change.
  • Who are you, and what are you trying to do? Every day, the core team has a meeting at 11 a.m. in the chief editor’s office to talk about big things happening in the world, things the team can use to fulfill its mission: inspiring people to care about the planet. This is the fundamental mission that drives the company, and it’s also what drives its social strategy.
  • Put the fan first. Everything National Geographic does is through this lens: Would you want to be marketed to this way? Would you want to be talked to this way? Would you want to have a discussion in this format? This is a key behind how Hart and his team are able to establish their authenticity.

Watch Hart’s presentation.