Social Media Strategy Review: National Geographic Channel

Bikram K. Singh
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Social Media Strategy Review- National Geographic

National Geographic Channel (NGC), also called Nat Geo, is in the business that has been serving to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge” in India since July 1, 1998, and over the years it has built a reputation of being a go-to place for knowledge for all those seeking it.The television channel has done a remarkable job in promoting its programs and keeping people excited about things it does. In this article my job would be to see if Nat Geo has repeated its tale of successful enchantment and attracted a substantial number of fans with its social media activities or not. The goal is not only to judge the size of its presence, but also to see how actively engaged people are with the channel on social web.

Overall Strategy

National Geographic Channel India has continued its remarkable job of informing, entertaining, engaging, and exciting people on social media as well. This is the reason why there is not much of negative emotions flowing about the channel on social web (see the images below). After seeing the effort NGC puts in, it is safe to say that it is continuing its mission to "increase and diffuse geographic knowledge” on social media as well.

National Geographic Channel on Facebook

With almost 77 lakhs total fans and a little over 13.50 lakhs actively engaged fans, the Facebook page of National Geographic Channel is one of the most popularly followed pages on Facebook from India. The TV channel does not have any dearth of good content to share or acumen for sharing good content in an exciting and meaningful way (as you can see in the following image). NGC With NGC, good content is not in short supply, and updates (like the one shared in this article speak volumes about the content muscle of the knowledge channel, as some of the DTH companies like to categorize it. This is the reason why the page engages its fans so well. The average per-post and per-fan engagement of content posted on Nat Geo's Facebook wall is quite impressive (see images below). ngc2 ngc3 One of the reasons behind a high per-post (see the first image above) and per-user engagement (see the second image above) is the way in which the brand mixes copy with the visual, and the way it uses the visual, hashtags, and mentions. As you can see, in the following two images, how the brand has used hashtags #DidYouKnow and #NatGeoShot to make its post, which already was visually rather appealing and exciting. The adjoining copy also adds up to the experience. In the first post, the copy explains about the visual, which happens to be of coral snake, in a way people can related, while in the second post, all the copy does is inform people about the photo, photographer, and location. Even after using the words miserly, NGC has said more than what the words or picture alone would have conveyed. ngc4 ngc5 Although there is nothing poetic about the copy Nat Geo has used for its updates, it has been successful in exciting people, and the reason behind it could be the way the brand uses its high-quality content pieces, which are already informative and engaging. As you can see in the following image, Nat Geo tries to make its content pieces relatable by giving a human angle to the copy, which adds a "WOW factor" to its already-exciting posts. And when such posts are combined with interactivity, like in the following post the brand has asked for captions, magic on social web happens. This is the reason why the brand does not only get tons of likes, but its posts are shared a lot (see the second image below for stat, and the rest shared here as testimony to the fact). ngc6


National Geographic Channel on Twitter

Although fandom of NGC on Twitter is not as big as that on Facebook, the brand is sticking to the basics. Despite its merely-5000-or-so fans, the social media team of Nat Geo is not taking things casually, which is a good thing. For example, in the following tweet, the brand has shared a retweet-worthy information and clubbed it with a popular (as it looks) hashtag #DidYouKnow, which it has also used on Facebook. This is a kind of move that makes a brand become popular.

The brand has also tried its hand at contests and interactivity, but perhaps because it has not used the elements of a tweet properly in tweets announcing contests or asking people to speak, tweets like the following didn't cause any ripple in the social web, at least not till the time of writing this piece. And I could hardly find a meaningful conversation in the recent past on NGC's Twitter stream.

Comparison with competitor

Discovery Channel is another name which involuntarily pops into our minds when we think of the National Geographic Channel, and like NGC, it is also active and popular on social web, although the size of Discovery's fandom is very small against that of Nat Geo's, at least it is true for Facebook (see the image below). On Twitter, it is just seven hundred fans short of the studied brand. ngc8 Although the posts shared by Discovery Channel is not as engaging as NGC's are, except for the comments on some (See the following image), the per user engagement is higher (see the second image). ngc9ngc0 In terms of percentage, posts by Discovery Channel gets more comments than those of Nat Geo, which means the competitor has a deeper relation with its audience on social web than the studied brand, but in terms of numbers this does not hold true (see the second image); this is also because the fan-base of NGC is much, much bigger than that of Discovery's. ngc01 ngc02


Overall, National Geographic Channel has performed remarkably well in Social Media. It has used various elements quite well in its posts on Facebook, which has amplified the reach of meaningful content that the TV channel had to share. But all doesn't look great for NGC. It needs to get its acts together on Twitter, and fix the nooks and corners to boost engagement here as well.

Expert View

While sharing images and updates has fetched them good engagement, Nat Geo should also look at providing an experience to its audiences. Mere observation and interactions in the form of likes and shares can only take you so far. Creating digital properties where you provide an out of the world experience to your consumers is what Nat Geo should look for since it has covered its basics on Social Media. As an infotainment channel, I believe Nat Geo neglects the scope for growth in terms of online popularity. They could take some creative paths on video sharing channels and generate engaging video content. Their strength lies in videos and they should look at creating exciting short clips from their huge repository of videos. Nat Geo could also conduct tweetchats or Google Hangouts with experts or hosts from some of their shows. They simply need to look beyond regular Social Media activities and think bigger.

Expert View by Rajiv Dingra, Founder & CEO of WATConsult – An Award Winning Digital & Social Media Agency.

Analytics Support: Simplify360

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