Social Media Advocacy in a Digital Age

National Geographic has built one of the most successful digital strategies with a combined 420+ million followers across their social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and Pinterest. Earlier this year, National Geographic became the first brand to reach 100 million followers on Instagram; their main Instagram account, @NatGeo, now has over 119 million followers.

An example of how National Geographic combines traditional and digital storytelling with their advocacy mission is their “Planet or Plastic” campaign, which was launched last year to raise awareness of and reduce plastic pollution.

While the campaign is promoted through their magazine and social media pages, they also utilized a relatively new feature known as Instagram Stories to advance their advocacy mission.

Launched in 2016, Stories allows users to upload video and pictures to tell a “story.” Stories offer engaging features, such as polls, chat boxes and pledges. National Geographic asked viewers to take a pledge: choose the planet or plastic.

Through Instagram Stories, National Geographic is able to effectively reach Millennials and Generation Z to advance their advocacy mission in a new, digital age.

This storytelling feature has grown in popularity, with Facebook reporting on its Q4 2018 earnings call that Stories now draws more than 500 million users each day.