#SMWF: NASA’s ‘Out-Of-This-World’ Social Media Engagement Success

NASA has quite an impressive social media plan in place that has already created quite a social buzz. There innovative and interactive ideas has gained them a solid reputation for achieving success with social engagement. At the Social Media World Forum in New York, I had a chance to hear Stephanie L. Schierholz, Social Media Manager talk about what NASA has been doing with Social Media, and specfically location based services recently.

NASA Partners with Gowalla

Gowella, a mobile and web service, partnered with NASA in 2010 to provide them with an interactive contest where users check in via Gowalla to help locate four NASA-related virtual items. Those items were a NASA patch, a spacesuit, space shuttle, and a moon rock. NASA displays moon rocks from past moon missions at expositions, planetariums, and museums throughout the world. Moon rocks were easily located when users checked in to any location where an actual moon rock was on display.

Gowlla in collaboration with JESS3 created a special edition of a visual map to help users locate the moon rocks and the other required treasure hunt items could be found by checking in through Gowalla at any one of the over 400 science centers, observatories, nature centers, aquariums, museums, and planetariums that are part of NASA’s large Museum Alliance. Gowalla users that collected at least three of the four required items received a special pin in their digital Gowalla passport.

Plus, the first one hundred people who collected three of the four items also received a hardcopy version of the map in the mail.

Tweets from Above and Beyond

During this impressive social media campaign, NASA also had Astronaut Douglas Wheelock, or @Astro_Wheels, check in from Space Station announcing. “Houston, I’ve just unlocked FourSquares’ NASA Explorers badge.”

Check out the NASA Explorers Badge at FourSquare.

Campaign Statistics

This NASA social media campaign turned up some pretty impressive stats for Gowalla and Twitter. Gowalla had never had a past completed by so many, so quickly. Over thirty-thousand of each of the four required items were located through check-ins, and followers were increased by 4,278 during this campaign.

Since this campaign began more than 10,000 people have unlocked the NASA Explorer badge, and over 130,000 people now follow NASA on Foursquare.

Aside from the statistics, NASA’s campaign on Twitter has had other benefits as well. Some of the photos posted by any given @Astro to Twitpic can be what Douglas Wheelock referred to as ‘life-changing’ such as this photo of the earth’s aurora from space.


You Don’t Have to Be an Astronaut to Learn from NASA

Check out what the social media manager for NASA has to say about their relationship with Twitter and how they engage with their followers, as well as how you can engage yours!

Some lessons that NASA social media staff has taken away from their campaigns may help you as well.

  1. Use Twitter yourself first. Know the format and how it works. Get familiar.
  2. Identify the specific business case for your use.
  3. Locate new resources for growth.
  4. Keep the account active.

“You may not have a spaceship, but your company has a fan base. They won’t think of themselves as fans until they’re in a room with like-minded people. They won’t think of themselves as members of a community until YOU bring them together.”

-David Rosen, @davidhrosen (group VP, Makovsky + Company)



SmB Digital Trends: LivingSocial

LivingSocial offers a system similar to Groupon where users can jot in their local zip code and browse over offers that can be purchased online for personal use, or even sent to others as gifts. This social discovery and networking tool allows business owners to read and review what others are saying about their business, and cater their advertising and promotional ventures accordingly.

LivingSocial isn’t limited to any specific area of commerce. Commonly movie tickets, books and even pet store coupons appear on the LivingSocial site in chosen local areas. As of early 2011, LivingSocial may not have the coverage that larger sites like Groupon currently has, but they are definitely growing, sometimes with cities expanding coverage in just a matter of days.

LivingSocial.com claims to be the most comprehensive and interest-based community online that is helping over 6.4 million users to catalogue their interest. And where would they get such incredible numbers? It seems LivingSocial has been using Facebook.

Full Facebook integration makes LivingSocial easy to use and even easier to share with family and friends. As they also promise the bigger the crowd, the better the deal, this encourages all users to share and equally encourage others to participate. Top notch marketing ideas like this on LivingSocial.com may indeed make it far more widely recognized and used once the traffic starts to bring in more deals, with better coverage.

So What is the Encouragement to Share?

Really, doesn’t every site online these days encourage you to share? And sometimes, when you see a great deal, you may share it, and just as often, you may mean to but forget, or just have no intention of sharing what you think may interest only you. So how does LivingSocial.com succeed in nudging users into sharing?

Simple. Each day a new discount deal will be available, either by viewing the site or by signing up for their daily emails. If this deal interest you, click the Buy Now option. Once you have purchased the deal you will receive a unique link to share with friends, family and those coveted Facebook followers and if three people also purchase the deal using your link, your originally purchased deal is entirely free.


Who Likes LivingSocial.com?

Alexa says that LivingSocial.com has a global traffic ranking of 514 and a US traffic rank of 147. In comparison to race based internet statistics, LivingSocial.com’s users are disproportionately white, moderately college educated, and childless females over the age of 65, who earn over $30,000 per year and are most likely browsing from work. The sites regional traffic ranks actually show that 79% of its users are logging in from the United States. With a solid page ranking of 6 across multiple Google datacenters, over half of the daily page views are simple one page bounces.

Although the site is nearly four years old, trends in daily deal sites recently have certainly improved significantly since just after the beginning of 2011.


Digital Media Monthly

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