How Microsoft & National Geographic Got 3.5M Likes In One Day
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Instagram Marketing Case Study: How Microsoft And National Geographic Got 3.5M Likes on International Women's Day
For International Women’s Day, Microsoft leveraged National Geographic’s wide-reaching social media audience as well as some of the most renowned adventure photographers to build an Instagram marketing campaign. In this case study, we’ll take a closer look at Microsoft’s partnership with National Geographic and why it succeeded.
Approach & Background
Microsoft’s International Women’s Day Instagram marketing campaign was part of their “Make What’s Next” campaign. The campaign, which Microsoft launched last year for International Women’s Day and picked back up this year, aims to encourage young girls to work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Other components of the campaign include a 60-second TV ad, a career explorer tool created in partnership with LinkedIn, and a workshop that will be available in stores and on Facebook Live on March 18, 2017.
For the Instagram component of the campaign:
- A total of 30 photos were posted on five of National Geographic’s Instagram channels: @natgeo, @natgeotravel, @natgeaoadventue, @natgeoyourshot, and @natgeochannel.
- The photos were taken by several popular adventure photographers, most of which are affiliated with National Geographic.
- Each photo caption featured the story of a prominent female scientist or adventurer.
- Each photo caption also included: @Microsoft - Empowering girls to change the world, stay in STEM, and be the ones to #MakeWhatsNext. Microsoft welcomes girls for a free workshop with @natgeo personalities at select Microsoft stores on 3/18/2017.
- Build brand awareness and foster positive public perception.
- Create genuine messaging that encourage girls to pursue jobs in STEM.
- Capitalize on a trending, worldwide event, International Women's Day.
- Over 3.5 million total likes on the 30 photos posted on International Women’s Day (over 115K likes per post)
- Potential reach of 91 million people (total followers across National Geographic's five accounts)
- Over 1,000 pieces of content generated on Instagram with #MakeWhatsNext
Why Microsoft Succeeded
1. Leveraged National Geographic’s established social media reach
National Geographic has an extraordinarily strong social media presence. It was recently named the #1 brand on social media by Shareablee based on a combination of followers and engagement data. By partnering with a well established and credible brand publisher on social, Microsoft was able to reach an enormous audience of 91 million.
2. Aligned campaign messaging and date with an international holiday
By planning its campaign in conjunction with International Women’s Day, Microsoft was able to contribute relevant content to the IWD conversation and maximize its campaign’s impact.
3. Showcased authentic stories and powerful imagery through sponsored posts on Instagram
Microsoft crafted its sponsored posts around stories of real human experiences. The faces of this campaign were real faces with real stories, and that was a powerful core element. This strategy helped Microsoft connect and engage with audiences on a deeper level and build long-term brand awareness and approval.
Best Examples From Microsoft's Instagram Marketing Campaign
Photographer and marine biologist @CristinaMittermeier explores the clear waters of a “cenote” in the Yucatan Peninsula. Being a photographer on assignment @natgeo is exciting but it requires tremendous sacrifice. It demands boundless energy, unflagging enthusiasm, a spirit of adventure, the ability to survive under difficult circumstances, and the courage to confront danger. For me, this all-consuming career is fueled by a passion to make a difference to the conservation to our beautiful planet. The life that we have chosen is frenetic, exciting and sometimes dangerous but, for the chance of making a difference, every minute of it is worth it. Photo by @PaulNicklen #InternationalWomensDay - @Microsoft - Empowering girls to change the world, stay in STEM, and be the ones to #MakeWhatsNext. Microsoft welcomes girls for a free workshop with @natgeo personalities at select Microsoft stores on 3/18. Visit makewhatsnext.com for details. #IWD2017 #sponsored A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on
In this post, Mittermeier’s passion for her work as a marine biologist shines through. Coupled with a stunning visual, this creates a compelling image that helped deliver Microsoft’s message to millions in an elegant way that lent itself to sharing (tags) and organic engagement (likes, comments, and social sentiment).
Photo by @amivitale | In the incubator room at Bifengxia panda base, part of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, cub keeper Liu Juan nuzzles a furry charge. Despite the pressure of keeping the babies alive and well, there are rare moments when the caretakers get to relax and enjoy the animals that depend on them. It's an important and stressful job and Liu Juan is working a 24-hour shift, her second one that week. She has a toddler son who stays at home with family. “This job is more intense,” she says of mothering the pandas, “but I love being with them.” After decades of hard work and research and because of the work of people like Liu Juan, the giant panda was recently taken off the endangered species list. #InternationalWomensDay - @Microsoft - Empowering girls to change the world, stay in STEM, and be the ones to #MakeWhatsNext. Microsoft welcomes girls for a free workshop with @natgeo personalities at select Microsoft stores on 3/18. Visit makewhatsnext.com for details. #IWD2017 #sponsored A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on
This post, which highlights the role Juan served in helping save the giant panda from extinction, is an excellent example of why women in STEM matter. By highlighting a central idea as a part of an important theme, Microsoft's message became a part of a larger message likely to resonate with many.
[4 of 6] Photo by @krystlejwright // Not only is Moab home to some of Utah’s most diverse national parks, it offers world-class terrain for rock climbers who are seeking sport climbing, traditional climbing, and even soloing. Engineering and mathematics have advanced the sport of rock climbing and helped athletes understand how to stay safe on the cliff's face. A balance of fall ratios and well-placed gear is essential to the sport. @Microsoft - Empowering girls to change the world, stay in STEM, and be the ones to #MakeWhatsNext. Microsoft welcomes girls for a free, workshop with @natgeo personalities at select Microsoft Stores on 3/18. Visit makewhatsnext.com for details. #IWD2017 #sponsored A post shared by National Geographic Travel (@natgeotravel) on
This post appeared on the adventure focused National Geographic sub-account and shows how STEM is vital to activities like rock climbing, which rely on math and engineering to make the sport safe and possible. By finding a real-world application of vital STEM principles, this post helps align relevant, real-world applications with Microsoft's campaign message.
Photo by @kitracahana | Eighteen-year-old Elinore Millstein takes a measurement for a science experiment she is conducting at the Gulkana Glacier in Alaska. Ellinore is a member of the Girls on Ice program for high school students. Along with their all-female team leaders who consist of a special group of scientists, an artist and a wilderness guide, the tight-knit group spends their time on the glacier exploring the terrain and carrying out their own scientific projects. #InternationalWomensDay - @Microsoft - Empowering girls to change the world, stay in STEM, and be the ones to #MakeWhatsNext. Microsoft welcomes girls for a free workshop with @natgeo personalities at select Microsoft stores on 3/18. Visit makewhatsnext.com for details. #IWD2017 #sponsored A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on
By focusing on community and the impact women working together in science, this image of a young female scientist serves to inspire other girls to follow their passion in STEM. The human element in this post helped bring a strong, resounding idea to Microsoft's messaging that extends beyond the brand itself.
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March 10, 2017 By Mediakix Team