How National Geographic Improved Following INSTA-ntly

Today, millions of young people sit on their phones reading Twitter, scrolling through Instagram, and clicking through Pinterest. But what grabs their attention? Tweets with links to magazine articles? Maybe. Tweets about free stuff or the chance to WIN free stuff? Definitely.

A survey done by the MPA revealed that readers love promotions and giveaways, and they are a big part of their interest in following a magazine on social media. Incentives of any kind will draw people to a specific user’s social media account.

According to Lauren Wasley, “Contesting can be highly effective when executed as part of a broader public relations and marketing campaign, but no campaign can rely solely on this tactic. What’s great about contests is they provide a way to reach new and existing fans through the channels they use, which today is often social media platforms.”


A well recognized magazine, National Geographic, took advantage of the “giveaway” idea.

National Geographic also owns a cable television channel: National Geographic Channel. The channel broadcast a mini-series, called Untamed Americas. This show focused on the beauty of the Americas. National Geographic then challenged viewers to show them their “untamed America” by posting wildlife photos and landscape images from their own backyards (hometown, literal backyard, etc) on Instagram. Users just had to use #UntamedAmericas on their Instagram photos to be entered to win.

3 judges, Casey Anderson, Cole Rise, and Cynthia Drescher chose the winning photo (pictured below).


The winner’s photo was displayed on Nat Geo’s website and they received Instagram-worthy prizes including (info taken from

  • a National Geographic camera bag filled with a Nikon D3100 SLR Digital Camera with 18-55mm VR & 55-200mm VR Lenses & basic kit
  • a Glif (a fantastic tool for iphoneography)
  • a subscription to National Geographic Magazine
  • a National Geographic Channel Jacket, Hat, Water Bottle, Binoculars
  • “Untamed Americas” DVDs
  • a limited edition signed print by Cole Rise.

According to PR News Daily, “Over 6,900 photos were submitted with the hashtag #UntamedAmericas in just over five weeks. Followers on Instagram increased by 55% from 10,781 to 16,817, average likes/photo increased by 205% from 126.2 to 384.81 and average comments/photo increased by 239% percent from 3.5 to 11.88.”

By just looking at those numbers, it can be seen how successful these contests can be. Magazines should be willing to try these contests/giveaways and reap the benefits!


#IAMPORTER: How Net-A-Porter Listened, Learned, & Launched


Image courtesy of

The main focus of this blog was to take a look at how print magazines use social media to assist them in the promotion of their publication. And it has been said many times that this industry of print magazines is slowly dying, and that social and digital media is the future. So why would a successful luxury ecommerce site,, feel the need to delve backwards into the print industry?

Net-A-Porter was launched in 2000 by Natalie Massenet. The idea of online shopping was not nearly as intriguing as it is nowadays.

Image courtesy of Vogue Media

Image courtesy of Vogue Media

“In the first four years,” Massenet says, “there was a lot of desperate hand-wringing, tears and pleading with brands… You’d go through a pitch and say: ‘And then you can click and buy it from pictures and it’s delivered anywhere in the world.’ And they’d listen and they’d nod and then afterwards they’d say: ‘Just tell me one more thing: where is your store?'”

Now, Net-A-Porter is a desirable location for all luxury brands—Stella McCartney, Gucci, Chanel, and many more.

So, let’s go back to my main question—why did Massenet desire to enter the print industry?

After listening to their consumers, the VP of publishing and media at Net-A-Porter said that they discovered many people do not read digital versions of magazines on mobile devices, and she thought that perhaps it was because these magazines don’t offer an easy way to shop. When you read a magazine, you want to be able to find what you see on the page quickly and easily. Porter allows just that. They have integrated their website with the print magazine, and with the swipe of a finger, readers can shop the best fashions that Porter has to offer on Check out this article to learn more about the reason behind the launch of Porter.

Check out this interview with The Business of Fashion’s Inman Amed. Yes, it is 37 minutes long, but after watching the whole video, Porter makes so much more sense. These three women really have a passion for looking out for their constituents and it shows in this interview. [An abridged version can be found here.]

The magazine is published 6 times a year, and as stated in the interview, the magazine is not made to be “disposable”. It is designed to be a magazine you are proud to display on your coffee table and keep for a long time (perhaps this is why it comes with a $9.99 price tag). The Net-A-Porter group knows precisely who they are targeting, women who love luxury, and the design of this publication definitely mirrors that target market’s lifestyle.

How did Net-A-Porter create buzz for their new publication?

Simple. User Generated Content.

Net-A-Porter hosted a contest, the prize being an $8,000 shopping spree on All users had to do was download the “I Am Porter” app from the App Store, take a selfie with that app, and post the result on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with #IAMPORTER. By allowing users to be cover models for the magazine, Porter captured the essence of their constituents and learned about them. They created excitement and conversation before the magazine even launched all by taking hold of the “selfie” craze that is sweeping across social media.


Image courtesy of


Image courtesy of

Here is a snippet from an interview Massenet and Yeomans had with Life + Times about this app.

“L+T: Tell me a little bit about the app you launched to help get the word out there about the first cover for PORTER. 

NM: We have this brilliant mobile team who has this dangerous ability to go from idea to execution quite quickly. When Lucy and I started talking about the name PORTER, we were at the shows and afterwards while we were re-capping we would say ‘that’s so Porter’ or ‘she’s so Porter’ and what not. We started using the word to describe things and with our app, we wanted to tease the cover. So, we used this mentality. It just seemed like a natural thing to do.

Lucy Yeomans: What’s so interesting to me is that before we even released the cover, we already had 4,000 women (and men and dogs and cats) that had already been our ‘cover models.’ It feels very democratic and very real… and very now. I was shocked by how global it went and how quickly… and it’s not stopping either. You can be ‘Porter’ anytime. This issue is all about ‘A Celebration of Incredible Women’ and the app has worked to our advantage.”

Net-A-Porter is also present in about 11 other social media platforms. Each platform’s approach is different. Twitter is more news-driven and focuses on service, while Facebook is more like “a dinner conversation, in which interesting, light-hearted banter is welcome but blatant product pushing would be jarring and alienate audiences,” according to social media manager Michelle Sadlier.

I am excited to see what the next issue of Porter has to offer, and how it continues to keep the best interest of the “Incredible Woman” in mind, as well as create genuine content by listening to their readers through social media platforms.


Image courtesy of