Photo Credit: pexels
Arguably, NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover has the most popular social media feed in the solar system. Millions of people around the world love to receive updates on what the lovable little rover has been up to on the Red Planet. Ever since the Twitter feed for Curiosity launched back in 2012, it has been a must-read for space enthusiasts. And now NASA is about to one-up itself with its coverage of the #MarsHelicopter, which is set to make its first-ever flight on Mars in mid-April.
In preparation for the historic launch – NASA is comparing the flight of the #MarsHelicopter to the Wright Brothers’s first-ever manned flight nearly 120 years ago – the social media feeds of NASA have been buzzing in anticipation. NASA definitely has a Mars social media strategy, and all the pieces seem to be coming together perfectly for what could be one of the biggest days in history for space enthusiasts. Here’s a closer look at what you can learn from NASA’s Mars social media strategy.
#1: Cross-promote social media content across platforms to build buzz
For many people on social media, the starting point for learning more about NASA’s Mars adventures has always been the Twitter feed of @MarsCuriosity, which now has 4.1 million followers. And it’s here that you can the NASA social media magic at work – NASA uses its formidable social media presence to cross-promote everything it is doing around a certain event by leveraging different social media platforms. For example, on Twitter, there’s @NASAMars (804K followers) and also @NASAPersevere, with a whopping 2.6 million followers, despite going live in just 2020. (Time of published)
And there are plenty of updates from specific NASA facilities (especially JPL), as well as general updates from NASA itself. There’s so much going on at NASA that you have to give the space agency credit for making it so easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. ISS fans, for example, may not want Mars content cluttering up their social media feeds, and likewise for Mars fans, who may not want constant updates on the International Space Station. But here’s the thing – you always can find what you need, without feeling overwhelmed. For that reason, @NASAMars has become a go-to hub for everything Mars.
#2: Don’t underestimate the power of a good hashtag
For the upcoming flight on the Red Planet, NASA is promoting the hashtag #MarsHelicopter. This has the potential to be one of the biggest-trending hashtags of the year. Once NASA proves that it’s possible to send a four-bladed helicopter whizzing around the atmosphere in Mars, will people finally believe that life on Mars might be possible? Just doing a quick Twitter search, it’s possible to see how NASA completely owns this hashtag. The top Twitter posts are all from NASA social media properties, but there are also great updates from mainstream media accounts like the New York Times and big names like the National Air and Space Museum.
#3: Inject humor and personality into your social media feeds
It’s here that NASA really stands out. Mars Curiosity has always been a fun (and sometimes cheeky) account to follow. When NASA launched a Twitter account for the “friendly neighborhood Mars rover,” the agency had a choice – it could either go for something fun and cute, or it could go for something boring and scientific. Guess which one NASA chose? And this sense of humor and personality has now been injected into the new accounts for @NASAPersevere. Hobbies for the newest rover, for example, include “photography, collecting rocks and off-roading.” And NASA has been playing a fun little game here with the two rovers, with Mars Curiosity acting like a proud mom or dad on social media. “So proud of you” was Curiosity’s Twitter response to Perseverance making it to the Red Planet in February.
So stay tuned for what happens next in April. NASA’s social media engineers are working just as hard as NASA’s Mars engineers to bring a totally out-of-this-world experience to social media in 2021.