Social Media Publishing Tools Are Key: Just Ask Nat Geo

Which social media publishing tools does one of the most successful magazines on the planet prefer?

Social media publishing tools are proliferate, and often the options are overwhelming. Do you ever wonder how the best in the business appropriate their social efforts? Which platforms they lean on? We’re always after the latest best practices, so we were excited to see that the International Periodical Distributors Association is on top of it after the latest Magazines at Retail Conference.

Nat Geo’s Masterful Use of Social Media Publishing Tools

When it comes to expertly negotiating the print-digital divide, few magazines can match National Geographic. To wit: 100 social media accounts with cumulative fans totaling more than 100 million. The breakdown, according to IPDA: 35% on Facebook, 20% on Instagram, over 9% on Twitter, 8% on Google+, and almost 1% on Pinterest, along with assorted other presences.

Recently, staff gathered at the Magazines at Retail Conference to discuss social media publishing tools and strategy.

“Our goal is to connect with all of these people and drive them to purchase or take action – not just collect large numbers of ‘likes.’ The follow-through [on social engagement activities] is critical – you need to tell them to go out and buy the issue and/or provide links to learn more. You need to make specific calls to action,” says Nat Geo Senior Manager of Social Media Kate Coughlin.

“We were test partners with Facebook on Instant Articles, and we were skeptical about the traffic-generating potential. But we were pleasantly surprised: We reached 2.8 million people, and got 45,000 engagements. And again, we included calls to action to subscribe or buy the magazine – so it was a great test for us. One thing we are always doing is looking at new platforms.”


In addition, Nat Geo has also invested resources in event production, IPDA reports, which Coughlin says has paid off, as well.

“This has generated huge response – we try to do one per week, usually tied to content in the magazine. … We are always on the lookout for new opportunities, and we’re confident that Millennials and younger people will continue to come to the magazine – in part because we engage them on social with content and events, like a recent live-stream event on meerkats that was tied to an upcoming article.”

Converting Consumers: The Newsstand Conundrum

The IPDA is focused on retail magazines, but its scope is wide in the digital age. Especially since it’s well-understood that sales are not mutually exclusive: The better you do online, the better your chances at the newsstand – and vice-versa. So, how do you go about it? According to HGTV mag Publisher and CRO Dan Fuchs, shopping partnerships and appealing to analog preferences of Millennials could pay off. HGTV mag parent company Hearst Senior Director of Retail Sales Will Michalopoulos, meanwhile, advocated for bundled products, the IPDA reports.

Do you use social media publishing tools to propel your efforts? Tell us about your favorites in the comments!

To read more about social media publishing tools in the news, visit the International Periodical Distributors Association.


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