National Geographic on harnessing the power of social

National Geographic has successfully used social media to transform its fortunes. As a part of our Annual 2019 coverage, Tom Seymour looks at how it became the first brand to top 100 million Insta followers

Earlier this year, National Geographic’s headquarters received a bouquet of balloons in the post. The present was sent from Instagram, as National Geographic had just become the first brand to top 100 million followers on the photo-sharing social channel.

Telling stories live on social has become the holy grail for brands and content creators across the world. In a comparatively short period of time, National Geographic has demonstrated itself to be the market leader at this particular skill, using the 135 contributing photographers it has on its books to curate a feed that instantly transports us to some of the world’s most stunning and remote landscapes.

A glance at the feed demonstrates how the brand quickly embraced the new capabilities offered by Instagram Stories, Instagram TV and Instagram Live, using the best photographic technology – from drones to sensor-orientated cameras – to transport a user scrolling through the feed on a bus in a city to the depths of the Atlantic, the midst of the Amazon, or the cloud-topped peaks of the Himalayas.