#BetterBees by National Geographic


Beekeepers across the United States lost 44% of their honey bee colony populations from April 2015 to April 2016 (beeinformed.org). Amongst many factors contributing to the endangerment of bee colonies is the common bee mite Varroa, a parasite which feeds on hemolymph (a fluid which circulates throughout the body) and has the ability to transmit other diseases such as Deformed Wing Virus, which largely leads to Colony Collapse Disorder.

In order to fight this parasite, National Geographic will implement the #BetterBee campaign to raise awareness of threats to bee survival by selling specially branded honey and donating to research about how to combat Varroa in bee communities. 50% of profits will go to Varroa research and 50% of profits will go to local beekeeping and flower planting initiatives which will help those in the industry increase viable areas for bees to live and pollinate.

The time is now. Harm to bees is mostly human caused. It's not too late to change the course of history, because without bees, we'll all be history.

The campaign will use scholarly TED talks, YouTube videos, and professionals in the biological field to show the importance of #BetterBees.


The campaign will utilize Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to increase awareness to the challenges bees face. By posting primarily about bees on preexisting National Geographic social media channels, and linking all these posts to newly created #BetterBees initiative, the audience of National Geographic will increase. #BetterBees will track audience involvement with posts through Google Analytics. The campaign will also use the software HootSuite to plan posting times so that postings across social media accounts will be consistent every day.

National Geographic currently has 44 million Facebook likes, 16.4 million Twitter followers, and 73.5 million followers on Instagram. The #BetterBees campaign aims to increase the Facebook page followership to 50 million likes, the Twitter followership to 20 million users, and the Instagram account followership to 76 million users. Instagram post likes range from 300k to 800k, and the #BetterBees campaign aims to raise annual post likes to 600k.

Instagram will be used as the primary story sharing platform for the campaign. On this account, short stories from beekeepers across the country will be posted along with a variety of images of bees (both healthy and sick) along with uniquely #BetterBees branded honey, and the National Geographic Instagram biography will include a link to the website selling honey for the duration of August.

Examples of the images #BetterBees will post in the campaign. The video below is also an example of promotional material.

Honey will be available for purchase online through a marketplace that allows customers to buy honey by the state it is produced in. Though customers will be able to buy whichever state's honey they choose, #BetterBee will explain the significance and benefits behind buying honey produced in one's state of residence. #BetterBee will partner with beekeeping communities in target states. Each jar of honey will have unique information about bees in the home state.



#BringBackTheBees is Cheerios' current campaign attempting to bring attention to how dramatic the death of worldwide bee populations is. Their campaign is centered around removing the cartoon bee from their cereal box, which leads audiences to look for more information on why Cheerios would do such a thing. Attempting to have participants plant more flowers for bees across the country, Cheerios have distributed 1.5 billion wildflower seeds to participants who signed up online. Cheerios is unfortunately receiving bad press for this marketing plan because the seed packets distributed contain plants that are invasive to some areas, which can be bad both for the areas the invasive seeds are planted and for the bee populations in those areas who are not used to a newly introduced plant.


Their website explains what the world would be like without bees and what participants can do to help. They have youth ambassadors, a photo gallery, fun bee facts, and a TED talk on their website. Cheerios has also utilized their Facebook page by changing their header and profile images to reference the campaign.



The social media campaign can also be used to draw attention to projects that people who have contributed to Nat Geo are currently working on, as they are relevant to the #BetterBees campaign.


Tweets like this will include links to the websites they reference, such as the National Geographic website, the #BetterBee honey marketplace, or specific Instagram posts highlighting the winners of weekly contests.


Instagram photos for the #BetterBees campaign will tag the photographer who took the picture along with tagging the location of the partnering honey farm where the photo was taken. Captions will tell the audience to click the link in the Instagram's bio, which will take them to a website with more information about how they can participate.

#BetterBees HoneyGRAM Contest

The Honeygram contest is the primary method of increasing audience participation in the social media campaign. To participate, an audience member is first required to purchase #BetterBees honey from the #BetterBees marketplace, which returns profits to local beekeepers and varroa virus research.

After someone purchases #BetterBees honey, he/she will be able to participate in the Honeygram contest. To be entered to win a weekly prize of a tour of a local bee farm and August's issue of National Geographic, a person must post how they have used their #BetterBees honey on Instagram with both the hashtags #BetterBees and #NatGeo.

The winner of each week will get a prize of a tour of a honey farm and August's issue of National Geographic. One grand prize winner will get a a tour of a local bee farm, a Canon Mark IV Camera, and a photography session with a National Geographic photographer.

These are examples of the types of Instagram submissions acceptable for the contest.
Social Media Post Schedule
Week 1 Post Details
Week 5 Post Details

A 10 a.m. post will hit the West Coast at 7 a.m., catching audience members before they go to work. On the East Coast, it will hit audience members as they arrive at work or take a coffee break. If the 10 a.m. time does not seem to be working, the campaign will move the time to 11 a.m. to see if that engages more participants across the country.

Important Dates

August 1st: #BetterBees social media campaign begins

August 5th: 1st week campaign winner announced via Instagram, reposted to Twitter and Facebook (first push)

August 12th: 2st week campaign winner announced via Instagram, reposted to Twitter and Facebook

August 19th: 3rd week campaign winner announced via Instagram, reposted to Twitter and Facebook, special social media posts recognizing National Honey Bee Day

August 26th: 4th week campaign winner announced via Instagram, reposted to Twitter and Facebook (last push)

August 31st: #BetterBees campaign ends, grand prize winner announced via Instagram, reposted to Twitter and Facebook

Partners: Canon, American Beekeeping Association, regional honey farms and bee specialists

Companies and organizations that partner with #BetterBees will receive advertising in exchange for donating to and also posting about the #BetterBees campaign.

The Honeygram Grand Prize


The #BetterBees campaign aims to increase the Facebook page followership to 50 million likes, the Twitter followership to 20 million users, and the Instagram account followership to 76 million users. Instagram post likes range from 300k to 800k, and the #BetterBees campaign aims to raise annual post likes to 600k.

The #BetterBees campaign aims to draw attention to the widespread national threats to bees including the Varroa virus, endangering pollutants, and pesticides. Through #BetterBees, National Geographic will raise funds to be donated directly to bee virus research and raise funds to recycle back to beekeepers across the country to improve sustainable honey farming and beekeeping practices to ensure the health of bees.

National Geographic will use Google Analytics to measure audience participation through each social media channel including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Data specialists will consider the collected data and decide if it is a worthwhile investment to continue with the #BetterBees campaign, possibly making it an annual campaign, or to use the campaign interaction results as a way to redesign how National Geographic advertises and campaigns social and environmental justice causes.

  1. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2017/03/20/cheerios-gave-away-flower-seeds-save-bees-but-they-could-do-harm/99416524/
  2. https://beecare.bayer.com/media-center/news/detail/a-new-way-of-protecting-bees-against-varroa-mites
  3. https://beeinformed.org/2016/05/10/nations-beekeepers-lost-44-percent-of-bees-in-2015-16/

Above are examples of current bee-related press. The #BetterBees campaign aims to create enough positive impact in the bee community that articles can talk about how the health of bees nationwide is improving, and that the death of bees is leveling off and decreasing within an amount of time deemed appropriate to save the bees from overall extinction.

Created By
Bridie O'Connell


Created with images by cocoparisienne - "forget me not hoverfly fly" • xlibber - "Bee" • Matthew Straubmuller - "Bumble Bee" • YLev - "Flower and Bee" • Mister-Mastro - "2010 09 11 Garden again 5" • maohlin - "bee wasp spring" • twodolla - "Honey" • Daria-Yakovleva - "pancakes pancake hash browns" • emmajanehw - "Filtering honey" • marker_photography - "breakfast tea honey" • Jason Riedy - "Bottled honey" • 955169 - "lemon bread honey" • bfishadow - "Honey" • NH53 - "Honey for sale" • Don Hankins - "Honey bees" • luctheo - "device camera digital"

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