NASA’s social media strategy: Making space exploration personal [video]

In terms of social media, NASA is one of the most influential brands on the planet. But as the space agency’s social media manager explains, this wasn’t always the case.

In this video filmed at the ClickZ Live San Francisco event, social media manager John Yembrick discusses how NASA’s social media strategy evolved since 2009 to become one of the largest social presences in the world (and, perhaps, the only one outside it too).

Making the keynote speech at the ClickZ Live event, John spoke about Sharing Space – How NASA Makes Space Exploration a Personal Journey for Everyone.

“NASA is doing a lot of stuff, and especially on social media,” John explains. “I feel like this is the golden age for NASA. You see us everywhere.

“When I started at NASA it didn’t feel like that. It felt like there was a void in what we were doing. That’s really changed quite a bit.”

By developing a social media strategy for NASA that emphasises simplicity, re-purposing existing content that NASA publishes, then distributing it via more than 500 social accounts controlled by the agency, John helped transform NASA’s media relations from a reactive basis, to a pro-active one.

“We provided great content, we participate in the conversation, and we ask for feedback and I think that’s really part of our success.

“When I started I thought it was just another distribution method for news and then I quickly realised it was a conversation: people ask questions, you answer them. There’s nothing more important to us than doing that. Sometimes, just being a big government agency, people think NASA has a wall around it, and we try to break that wall down and let people in, both metaphorically and literally.

Implementing NASA’s social media strategy

With just a two-person team managing NASA’s social media presence, John had to enlist the help of other’s within the organisation – leads, as John calls them, based out at individual field centres around the USA.

“There’s me and one other guy who manage everything at NASA headquarters,” John explains. “Then there’s ten field centres across the country, and each field centre has a lead.

“We meet with them every week we talk with them on a telephone… we coordinate and then they at their centre, those leads, they look at all the missions, projects and programmes. That’s how it’s set up, a kind of a pyramid structure.NASAs_social_media_strategy_explained_in_this_video_of_John_Yembrick_NASAsw_social_media_manager-1.png

“What’s important to us is to be able to amplify all those accounts. When you have 500 accounts, if you can get everybody talking with the same voice, at the same time, about the same subject matter, you can be really powerful.”

In the full, on-demand video of John’s talk, he goes into detail about NASA’s shift from reactive to proactive, how NASA leverages existing content throughout the agency, employing brand ambassadorship to meet objectives, and a great deal more including tweets from space. Join the ADBL for free to watch the full, 35-minute on-demand video on NASA’s social media strategy.



ClickZ Live runs events around the world, with an upcoming event in London. To find out more, or to register visit ClickZ Live London. Or, to read more about NASA’s social media strategy, read ClickZ’s coverage at


Stephanie Khan

Posted September 21, 2015