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Social Tips and Tricks from the Top 10 U.S. Media Publishers

Top media publishing brands like Complex, National Geographic (which passed the 1 billion mark in Instagram Likes earlier this year), and Maxim are the best in breed when it comes to filling their massive social audiences’ feeds with alluring content that keeps ’em coming back for more.

Shareablee recently conducted research to find out who the most engaging U.S. media publishers were during the month of August.

Social Tips and Tricks from the Top 10 U.S. Media Publishers

Here are the high-level stats you need to know:

1. The top U.S. media publishers the study focused on — including National Geographic, Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, Hollywood Life, Complex, People, and Playboy — generated 1.5 billion total social actions.

2. 729 million of those social actions came from Instagram, making this the first time that social interactions on Instagram have surpassed Facebook.

3. The media publishing industry represents 31% of all actions taken on content published by brands in August.

But what can your brand learn tactically from the success of top media publishers on social? 

Find Your Kanye

Of the top ten, Complex saw the highest growth in engagement at 16%, jumping to number seven from number nine in July 2015, driven by a 73% increase in Likes and comments on Instagram.

Could it have something to do with Kanye?

40% of Complex’s top-performing posts on Instagram in August included images of Kanye.

These images weren’t Complex-centric or taken at Complex-sponsored events — they simply featured the man himself in both formal and more playful, behind-the-scenes moments.

instagram top posts
Complex‘s top posts between August 1, 2015-August 31, 2015.

Who is your industry/audience’s Kanye? And how can you play the Instagram “long game” by feeding Instagram users’ desire for content which entertains but doesn’t make your brand the focus?

Reliably Good Content = More Followers

National Geographic ranked number one for Instagram engagement, as well as total actions across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

I ran our Instagram Account Report to find out which kinds of posts National Geographic drove the most engagement for the media brand during this time period.

The results didn’t differ from the results I reported on in my last post about National Geographic on Instagram (spoiler alert: adorable animals and awe-inspiring landscapes taken by photographers with their own massive social followings FTW), but what is attention-grabbing is the impact that reliably high-quality content can have on follower count.

followers national geographic
National Geographic’s follower growth between August 1, 2015-August 31, 2015, as reported by the Simply Measured app.

National Geographic drove 3 million in follower growth in August alone.

This is during a time period when National Geographic’s average engagement per post on Instagram is over 386k.

That’s no coincidence: although we don’t know whether National Geographic is spending ad dollars on Instagram to help drive these gigantic numbers, we do know that by building a reputation for solid, consistent content — not just flash-in-the-pan engagement-driving posts sandwiched by unworthy content — National Geographic is showing up on Instagram’s Discover feature, picking up strong press and word-of-mouth awareness about its Instagram presence, and generating follower and engagement growth which makes most other media brands turn green with envy.

Social Users Want to Be Entertained

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.37.13 AM

One thing holds true for social users across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube: they come to these networks for entertainment first and foremost, whether that comes in the form of the Entertainment category itself or Fashion & Style. Stories in these realms catch the most buzz.

However, the fastest growing categories by total social engagement for August were Men’s Interest (+30%), Auto (+7%) and Travel (7%).

Maxim had the highest growth in the Men’s Interest category at 77%.

In the Automotive category, Autoweek and Motor Trend Magazine saw the highest growth rates at 64% and 51%, respectively.

Midwest Living and Coastal Living had the highest growth for the Travel category at 15% and 14%, respectively.

Barstool Sports saw the highest growth of any publisher in August at 125 percent.

Want an Even Bigger Picture?

Click below to download our 2015 State of Social Marketing Report, which includes everything from major social network stats, to vertical-by-vertical breakdowns, to real survey data from hard-working social marketers about what their biggest challenges are and what the social org looks like in 2015.

Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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