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NASA’s Social Media Marketing – A Quintessential Example of Engagement Strategy

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About NASA:

NASA(National Aeronautics and Space Administrationis in charge of U.S. science and technology that has to do with airplanes or space. NASA makes satellites. The satellites help scientists learn more about Earth. NASA sends probes out into space. NASA scientists study things in the solar system, and even farther away. You must have heard of these lately:

NASA-inspired fashion by Vivienne Tam @NewYorkFashionWeek.”

NASA Documentary Operation Avalanche – is now playing in theaters near you.”

“This Gallery Is Selling Vintage NASA Photos Like High Art.

What comes to your mind when you come across such headlines?

NASA as a brand or a government entity?

Confused?

Who would not be? After all, a government is known for its systems, its protocols – and not for social manfulness, creativity.

The credit goes to NASA’s Social Media Marketing Team.

But HOW did they establish? How did they become one of the most discernible, identifiable social media brands? Well, it takes an effort to be so relevant every single time. But before how is WHY? Why did they feel this need to connect with common people?

Business Objectives:

Their objective is to share content to inspire young people to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, to inform people of little-known spinoff technologies and how it affects humanity. Their product is space exploration. NASA Does Social Media Marketing for all of the Humanity.

Strategy Adopted and Results Achieved:

Let’s take a tour of their social media action and followers’ reaction:

  1. @NASA-landers, rovers, and satellites talk

Yes, you heard it right. They speak to you, they send selfies too. This was a crazy idea by Veronica McGregor, head of communications at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, that worked wonders for NASA.

She purposefully let Phoenix Lander speak in first person telling its own story in a humorous manner. And in a matter of seconds, Phoenix Mission built up tens of millions of fans. See for yourself.

This was a master stroke!

Heard of Curiosity Rover sending selfies from Mars or New Horizons tweeting pictures of the dwarf planet-Pluto?

  1. NASA Meet-ups

nasa-socials

NASA holds events for its fans. It organizes occasions for its followers on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, and more (They have around 500 social media accounts across the agency starting from broad agency accounts to specific accounts dedicated to certain NASA missions.) with the name “NASA Socials”. (The latest event that has happened is “The Launch of NASA’s First-Ever Asteroid Sample Return Mission” on Sept 7-8, 2016.)

Here, selected social media users get to see behind-the-scenes proceedings, hear from scientists, speak with representatives, view and take photographs, meet fellow space enthusiasts and converse with the  members of NASA’s social media team at the establishment.

Wow! Is there a better way to keep your apostles excited, engaged?

Involving followers in your content not just engage them but it gives them the opportunity to be a part of you making your story their story. And when a fan tells a story, it is more influencing.

@NASA is the 67th most popular Twitter account in the world, with over 18.7 million followers.

  1. NASA sells inspiration. NASA sells value.

Well, they have a trump card of having the out-of-the-world content but the right content used in a not-so-right way holds limited worth.

You reach new audiences seamlessly when you are original, sincere. This is what happened when NASA posted a the-best-ever photo of Pluto on Instagram where, within a few seconds, it generated 100,000 likes.

Did you notice a big heart splashing across half the dwarf planet’s surface, like something, left it there on purpose for us to see?

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A #PlutoFlyBy image NASA shared on social media. 
  1. NASA’s Reddit Account-Ask them Anything.

How will you feel if you get a chance to talk to those in space?

NASA Astronauts answer questions real time. This is when a strong relationship is built.

They also use Google Hangouts to hold live (and free) Q & As and informational meet-ups for their followers. And not-to-forget live press briefings on twitter.

Learnings:

John Yembrick, Social Media Manager at NASA, once said in an interview: “My mantra when I go to work every day is: How do I take this content and make people care about it?”

This is the hack! NASA’s engagement strategy is enticing. It is unbeatable but it is definitely emulatable. Wondering how to exploit this? Let me help you :

  • Be understandable

    Let your prospects feel comfortable with you. Be interactive, talk to them, and at times you can be humorous too to get them in a better mood. When you show that you’re comfortable and relaxed, your prospect will feel the same way.

  • Be Social.

    Be easily accessible. Allow your customers to feel connected. Generate their genuine interest in your brand by organizing contests, events, etc. It gets them excited about your business and products whether they win or not.

  • Don’t be pushy

    Engage them with quality content. Add value. Well, I know, you feel pressured to get each prospect to buy from you. But remember! Pressure makes you unreasonable. In this case,Sit back. Take time. Realize you have long-term interests vested. So, focus on their concerns, not your products

  • Answer your customer’s questions.

    Clear their doubts. Encourage their inputs.

So, enough of the learnings now. Time to experiment! Don’t forget to come back and which idea did the magic for you!

By the way, Curiosity Mars Rover turned 4 last month and you know something? It hums Happy B’day to itself! Don’t believe me? Go find out!

Photo Credits: NASA, Chris Gunn, Blueshift

  • social-media-training

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