How National Geographic reached 100 million followers on Instagram

The brand gives credit to its 130+ photographers, to whom it has given full control of its Instagram account.

Have you ever heard of a “takeover” of a brand’s social network account? It is a practice where a brand gives control of one or more of its accounts for a day, a week or even a month to a well-known individual, an influencer or even another brand.

The idea is that this new person will give a different vibe to the account during this period because of the content they will be posting and thus will not only attract a new audience to the brand, but also create renewed engagement from its existing audience.

But how about giving control of your Instagram account to more than 100 highly creative brains at the same time?

This is what National Geographic has been doing with its @natgeo account for a long time, giving control to its photographers, allowing them to publish directly on the platform.

The advantage is there for photographers, as Aaron Huey, who has been contributing to the account since 2012, says:

“You can spend a year and a half publishing eight, ten or twelve photos, but during the same period on Instagram, you can tell 30, 40 or 50 stories.”

And this approach not only highlights National Geographic’s photographers, it also generates revenue given the size of the audience.

The photo you see at the top of this article is from a collaboration with Samsung where the captions accompanying the photos mentioned the fact that they were taken with a Samsung mobile device, while retaining the importance of the story being told.

This is what made the @natgeo account the first account of a brand to reach 100M followers on Instagram.

This article published in AdWeek gives a lot of details on the brand’s approach and thinking in this context, an excellent example from which your brand could perhaps be inspired? (you will notice that you must be registered with AdWeek to view it, but it’s free, don’t worry!)

 

 

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Photo by @katieorlinsky // Captured #withGalaxy S9+, produced with @samsungmobileusa using Pro Mode ISO 50 at 1/2449th f 2.4 // Flying through the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in Katmai National Park, Alaska. Along with a group of scientists and park rangers led by archeologist Laura Stelson, we followed in the footsteps of botanist Robert F. Griggs who led multiple National Geographic Society expeditions in the early twentieth century to explore the region and study the aftermath of the 1912 Katmai Volcanic eruption. The Nova Rupta volcano displaced the area’s mainly Alutiiq indigenous population, filling their surroundings with ash flow we can still see today. Meanwhile the eruption decimated massive swaths of land, including what Griggs named the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, ”The whole valley as far as the eye could reach was full of hundreds, no thousands—literally, tens of thousands—of smokes curling up from its fissured floor,” he described. After nearly two weeks hiking hundreds of miles, climbing up mountains, wading through rivers and sleeping uncomfortably close to Grizzly bears, we finally reached the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.

A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

 

 

If you would like to explore the Instagram potential of your brand a little more, contact us and let us know about your current projects and we could help you in your efforts to implement a new dimension to your content strategy.

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