NASA’s Social Media Success From Pluto and Beyond

The American space agency’s social media marketing strategy is out of this world - and we’ve got the data to prove it. We looked at what NASA has been launching into the social media universe from January 2015 to March 2016 to find out how they’ve managed to engage their fans and followers.

NASA’s Social Media Success From Pluto and Beyond

Blasting off on Facebook 

NASA’s largest audience is on Facebook, with 15.1 million Fans – they captured 5.6 million of them since January of last year! Take notice of their astronomical growth in July. The reason?

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On July 14, NASA made history when its New Horizons mission successfully explored Pluto and its moons, and sent pictures back to Earth. It is the first-ever flyby of Pluto – and NASA gave the exclusive to Instagram by sharing the first high-resolution photo with the world on their profile hours before releasing it on their official website.

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The picture also became NASA’s most popular post on Facebook, racking up over 320,000 total interactions, and is attributed with being the main reason NASA gained over 152,000 new Facebook Fans on that day alone! This was a big step for man, as they leveraged the use of social media platforms with their giant communities to generate buzz naturally, which of course brought them galaxies of earned media. 

Explore NASA’s Instagram Strategy

Their content in July received a total of 5.7 million interactions; to put that into perspective, they average 3.6 million interactions a month with more than 200 posts per month. NASA’s Facebook social media strategy has them posting an average of 7 times per day, 24% of which consists of video content, although, photos still get the largest share of interactions.

Tip> Making your Followers feel that they’re part of an exclusive group (by offering special deals, competitions, news, etc.) can do wonders for your brand. Try and emulate NASA by allowing your communities to spread the word first to stimulate organic buzz. Give them something to talk about!

Masters of visual storytelling 

NASA’s 10.6 million followers on Instagram are far more engaged with their content than anywhere else. As we said in 2015, Instagram has become the dominant force for branded visual storytelling because it has elements of a high-end digital magazine. What makes NASA an effective storyteller is their ability to take advantage of the space Instagram offers to build the story around the image and educate their community. Followers can then walk away with having learned something really interesting.

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Screenshot taken from Socialbakers Analytics – this was their second most engaging post on Instagram.

Tweets from outer space

NASA is also killing it on Twitter, where they have 15.5 million Followers and produce an average of nearly 300 Tweets per month that achieve an average of nearly 700,000 interactions monthly. Not only is NASA engaging their Followers, but they receive more than 350,000 Mentions per month.

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Their most popular Tweet received nearly 103,900 interactions alone! You may not have pop stars making music videos at your office, but this demonstrates the power of collaborating with influencers for your social media marketing goals.

Mission control on YouTube

When it comes to videos, NASA is no stranger to YouTube with over 800,000 Subscribers. Similarly to all of the agency’s performance across social media platforms during the month of July, NASA added an additional 54,000 Subscribers after their Pluto campaign. They publish a ton of video content on the platform – an average of more than 40 videos per month, totalling 675 last year.

The Takeaway

No matter which official NASA profile you scroll through, it’s easy to see what incredible storytellers they are. With pictures and high-def videos from two dozen space missions studying the Earth, planets, asteroids, comets, stars and galaxies, it’s no wonder they can keep the world spinningly engaged.

NASA’s Veronica McGregor spoke at Engage Prague 2016 about their strategy, and how she has built – and leads – NASA’s award-winning social media marketing team. One of which was in 2013, when they took home the Webby Award and the SXSW Interactive Award for their Mars Curiosity rover Campaign.

Global Editor

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