Neha Gujral, Head of Marketing, National Geographic, in this brief interaction puts the spotlight on National Geographic’s staggering social media presence and a few social media marketing trends.
With a robust content plan around everything nature and the beloved environment, National Geaographic has been a pioneer in highlighting various facts about our ecosystem and also taking up initiatives to protect it whenever required. The 130-year old brand has stellar social media presence has been bridging the gap of online-offline with innovation and engaging content.
The photo-journalistic media house has over 88.9 million followers on Instagram and sans doubt is a hit across all the social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Nat Geo approaches each differently, customizing content to meet the unique expectations and desires of each site’s users. In all these years one thing that hasn’t changed for the brand is it’s commitment to storytelling that brings you the world.
We caught up with Neha Gujral, Head of Marketing, National Geographic who shared how the company strategizes to become the number one brand on social media, key trends in social media marketing, it’s relationship with other brands and much more.
National Geographic is a cult brand imbibed in the childhood of millions. How do you make the brand relevant in this social day and age where terms such as millennial and Gen Y are thrown loosely?
For 130 years now, National Geographic has stood for story telling that is bold, in-depth, gives us a better understanding of the world around us and also our role in it – a promise that has never been shaken. Be it the articles in the iconic magazine, the breath-taking photography, the world class video content on the channels, the social media platforms – all of this goes back to the belief of the power of storytelling that can indeed change the world.
In today’s day and age, information consumption has changed drastically and we are always on the lookout to find new ways to cater to the evolved audience and give them authentic experiences. Today’s youth is also better read, travelled and is more socially conscious. Through our multiple platforms, we reach out to audience where they are spending the maximum time and engaging with us. The content that we share is a mix of global and locally relevant topics that that impact us and the world we live in.
National Geographic has a staggering social media presence. What are the three things you would like to attribute this feat to?
National Geographic as a brand is authentic, stands for a purpose and stays relevant to its audience by focusing on key issues impacting our planet
- Focusing on creating awareness about the planet and inspiring change through eye catching, visual storytelling
- Our content strategy is tailored to our brand pillars. We have a healthy mix of generic and topical content with purpose campaigns and show promotions
- A truly unique engagement strategy on Instagram- National Geographic photographers and explorers hold the reigns of our official handle. So its real time, real world issues brought to the fore by our key stakeholders and our fans engage with such content.
National Geographic often does branded content on its Instagram handle. Please take us through your branded content model. What are the parameters that brands need to fulfil to be able to place a sponsored post on the brand’s social media channels?
We partner with likeminded organisations, who stand for the same pillars as ours. Branded content for us is a way to express what we believe in along with partner brands while catering to the audience that loves the brand and relates to what it stands for. For instance, National Geographic has always stood for stunning photography and world class storytelling and we partnered with Government of India’s Incredible India campaign which tells the story of our country through their visuals, hence it was a natural partnership for us. A complementary fit between the partners is crucial for us, along with the right content and dissemination platform.
What are the key trends you foresee in the social media marketing space? How are you applying those to your brand?
Some of the key trends that we see and are adapting to are:
- Rise of video content and live events – creating more platform specific video content to engage our digital audience that is not related to TV tune-ins
- Innovative formats like Instagram stories, Facebook stories, Facebook frames, Facebook Filters
- Using real life stories – sharing the stories of people who are actually making a difference in the world
- AI – Augmented reality is emerging as a tool to engage with audience and we intend to leverage the same going forward
- Emergence of voice-optimised content and search
- Digital integration into offline experiences- Digital will no longer stand alone as a separate discipline. We will see it become more integrated into real-life experiences and the two will become seamless.
The idea is to use these emerging trends to add value to the followers on our pages and tracking the increase in engagement.