Two weeks ago, NASA has posted a fascinating high-resolution image of Pluto on the Facebook-owned photo sharing service Instagram. Users of the popular app got the exclusive sneak-peek of the photograph taken by the NASA spacecraft New Horizons.
In 2006, NASA launched New Horizons, an interplanetary space probe devised to study and explore the dwarf planet Pluto, its moons and the Kuiper belt. On July 14, the spacecraft did a 20-hour flyby past Pluto, making its closest approach and capturing amazing and even closer images taken more than 3 billion miles away, along with important data about the dwarf planet.
Taking advantage of social media, NASA decided to publish the most detailed image photo of Pluto to Instagram first. This is the first time that the premier space agency has shared the news to social media instead of posting first on its official government website. It looks like they see it to be the perfect platform for the photo’s major debut.
It was a clever move on the part of NASA if you ask me as the premier space agency currently has over four million followers on the photo sharing network and normally clocks up over a hundred thousand likes per image. The Pluto photo alone was bombarded by ‘likes’ and comments just a few hours after its posting.
NASA is very active on social media and loves sharing posts and images to their followers. Through social media, they can connect, communicate and engage with their fans. The space agency also has programs and events wherein followers of their social media channels are given the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at NASA facilities, participate in different events and even talk with astronauts, scientists and engineers.
NASA’s social media strategy is simple – it’s providing their audience information combined with great experience through a collection of incredible images and videos – something that has proven to be a successful strategy for them to win even more followers.
The premier space agency chose to post the Pluto image to Instagram first because Instagram consistently produces higher levels of engagement. Users of this app generally have the tendency to be more engaged and active than fans on other social media sites, and this is exactly the quality of traffic NASA is looking for.
Aside from Instagram, they have other social media accounts like Twitter, Google+ and Facebook among others, all with millions and millions of followers and fans.