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Nat Geo, HuffPost, Bleacher Report Winning in Social Shares

Need an example of what works best on social media? Look no further than National Geographic, which was awarded top honors as July’s best social media publisher by Shareablee on August 18, 2014.

Across all of Nat Geo’s social media properties – their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts – the website all about cartography, geography and exploration racked in 46.4 million engagements (including likes, shares, retweets, comments, etc.) in the month of July alone from 2,718 users.

So how’d they do it? By focusing on something simple: visual storytelling. On Instagram, they featured video footage of the locations the non-profit’s writers and photographers visited, while on Twitter they focused on building and interacting with a community.

Nat Geo isn’t the only social media publisher to pay attention to if you’re looking for best practices. Shareablee also featured nine other companies in their top 10 list for July 2014.

The Huffington Post came in at number two, while Bleacher Report clocked in at number three. But both of these websites had engagement numbers in the 12 million range, a far cry from Nat Geo’s engagement numbers. Even so, they had more unique visitors engaged (in the 6,000 range) which was more than what Nat Geo had.

What accounts for this difference? National Geographic appears to have a core base of followers who are interacting with their content time and time again. Huffington Post and Bleacher Report clearly do too, but not to the same extent as Nat Geo.

And Nat Geo’s biggest engagement, surprisingly, isn’t coming from Facebook like nearly everyone else on this list. Rather, it’s coming from their Instagram account. E! Entertainment, ranked number four, also had quite a bit of engagement on Instagram as well, proving once again that Facebook is no longer the only king of social media.

Lesson number one from this report:

Get your company on Instagram, stat. Whether you’re a big brand like Nat Geo, or a small company with equipment that helps monitor the environment, Instagram works if you are using beautiful photos that capture the interest of your intended audience. Just be sure to use plenty of hashtags in your post so a wider net of people can find you.

Lesson two:

Expand your social media efforts. No one social media site works 100% of the time to grow your following. Every single one of the social media publishers on Shareablee’s list are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The industries featured are wide-varied – from entertainment to interior decorating – but they all see a value in being on multiple sites. In fact, Shareablee’s stats shows that automotive is the fastest growing category, in large part due to Car and Driver, and Road & Track.

Lesson three:

Focus on building a community of followers. The reason Nat Geo ranked number one in July is that their users were repeatedly interacting with their content. That’s brand loyalty right there. The more you can cultivate a conversation and keep up a relationship with your followers (and customers), the better.

Lesson four:

Monitor what works and what doesn’t on each and every site. Nat Geo didn’t just use great photos on Instagram, they also used videos – and that’s why their engagement numbers soared in the month of July. No matter which social media site you’re on, use different kinds of deliverables, from straight text updates to captivating photos.

A lot of different factors go into rankings like these, but there’s something to be learned from the big brands when it comes to what they’re doing on social media. Keep an eye on the big names, implement some of their best practices and you can see your engagement numbers start to rise too. To keep up to date on the biggest names in social media, subscribe to Shareablee’s monthly rankings.

Image by MIKI Yoshihito

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