W hat Astronauts Can Teach Us About Social Media
Astronauts have always captured the public’s imagination, and that extends to our beloved tools of mass communication. The first true tweet from space was delivered by Mike Massimino during his mission to fix the Hubble Telescope in 2009. Since then he has amassed 1.29 million followers, and astronauts from all over the world have shared their amazing experience with the world in real time. What can those of us stuck on the ground learn from the success of these celestial social media mavens?
1) Quality Images
Just because you don’t have access to a zero G environment and an orbital view of the planet doesn’t mean you can’t produce amazing photography. Whether you make sprockets or sell widgets, an inventive and vibrant visual will capture the imagination of your audience.
Luca Parmitano’s @astro_luca Space Selfie:
— Luca Parmitano (@astro_luca) July 10, 2013
…or you can check out the incredible ISS Instagram curated by Commander Steve Swanson.
2) Passion for the Message
There are no “casual astronauts,” no “astronaut hobbyists.” Those chosen to be rocketed out of Earth’s gravitational clutches have endured a grueling selection process where only 0.13% of applicants make it to space. No one is more passionate about space than Astronauts, making them the perfect ambassadors. How would you rate your passion for what you’re communicating?
3) Let it Be Personal
The human part of the story is always the most evocative. Be more than your business – be the human face of your business. Don’t just sell to potential customers – connect with your audience.
Karen L. Nyberg @AstroKarenN:
Going home! pic.twitter.com/jEuhO1F1EA
— Karen L. Nyberg (@AstroKarenN) November 10, 2013
Social Media does more than deliver your messages. These tools work in both directions. If you spend all your time talking at people you’ll never connect with people, and you’ll deny yourself opportunities you never knew were there. William Shatner (Captain Kirk of Star Trek) tweeted at Commander Chris Hatfield, and that conversation lead to one of the greatest interviews on record.
5) Piggy Back Off Current Events
Alexander Gerst @Astro_Alex supporting their teams in the world cup:
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) June 26, 2014
6) Watch for the Next Thing
The first tweet from earth Orbit was in 2009, while the first Vine happened just a month ago.
Reid Wiseman @astro_reid:
— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) June 6, 2014
New opportunities to interact with your audience are emerging faster than ever. The next new thing is already out there waiting to be discovered.
And, in conclusion:
7) You Don’t Have to Go it Alone
The common complaint among business owners and entrepreneurs is no one has the time to properly manage a social media presence. But you don’t have to. Space can be a lonely place, but none of these men and women are doing it by themselves. NASA has provided infrastructure where you can easily follow all their astronauts @NASA_Astronauts. Commander Chris Hatfield, of Canada had his son, Evan Hadfield @Evan_Hadfield work as his Social Media Manager while he Commanded the ISS. The weight of social interaction shouldn’t be carried alone; the best results come from a team.
Our favorite Vine from ISS.
Lightning storm Vine Tweet:
— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) June 27, 2014
Buzz Aldrin recently reminded the world that he took the first Space Selfie back in 1966. Astronaut helmets have changed a lot in 50 years.
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) July 19, 2014