ISM Episode 17: NASA Social Media Head, John Yembrick - Rick Mulready

rick mulready

ISM Episode 17: NASA Social Media Head, John Yembrick

July 7, 2013

john yembrick nasa

NASA’s John Yembrick

NASA’s Head of Social Media, John Yembrick is my guest this week on The Inside Social Media Podcast.

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NASA is in the top 10 of most engaged with brands on Twitter and is regularly talked about these days as being one brand that really “gets” social  media.

John can directly relate with small businesses in that even though they’re a huge government agency, they have no budget other than the salaries of those people on the social media team.

Kinda makes their success that much more impressive, eh?

In this episode, we’re chatting about:

  • NASA’s 500 social media accounts, yes 500!, why they have so many and how in the world they manage all of them.
  • How The Mars Rover Curiosity checks in on Foursquare and how it won an award for Foursquare Mayor of the Year.
  • Google+ and how NASA is finding so much success on the channel.  A lot of great ideas here for how we might want to model their strategy.
  • Where John thinks brands get social media wrong. 

And there’s a ton more with John, this one’s chock full of tips.

Links Discussed During the Show

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MP3 Download

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John’s Social Media Strategy Tips & NASA Social Media Insights

Suggestions for Ways to Look at Social Media

  • Spend time listening.  Respond to things on social media almost as much as you put things out there.
  • Think about how you want to communicate as a business and then consider that when you’re on each of your social media channels.
  • Social media allows you to tell the story of your business.
  • Ask yourself why you’re doing social media.  What is your goal?  What are your objectives?  It shouldn’t be considered the answer to all your communications problems.
  • Don’t post something on social media and then walk away.  Take the time to listen and engage with people.  Answer questions.  See what people are saying about your business and your products.
  • If you have multiple franchises within your business, make sure you’re regularly communicating with them to ensure everyone is on the same page with their social communications strategy.

On Creating Content…

  • The high-priced social media tools that are available aren’t necessary if you have great content that’s moving your business forward.
  • If you have a flagship product in your business that’s really popular, could you create a social media account for that product and start communicating from the voice of that product?
  • Have multiple business units within your business?  You may want to have a social media voice for each of those units rather than one over-arching account.  You need to be able to tell personalized stories from each business unit.
  • When you’re faced with a situation where you have a ton of content, make sure you’re prioritizing it.  Is it interesting?  Does it fit with your organizational priorities?  If so, put that content to the top of your distribution priorities.

On Choosing the Social Channels With Which to Work…

  • Understand where your customers are and have a presence there.  Don’t just go on Twitter to go on Twitter, for example
  • Look at the social tools you have available to you.  Understand what purpose they serve and how they work and then see how you might be able to tell your business’ story using that tool.  Does it align with your audience?  Does it align with your business objective?
  • Be thoughtful and take the time to evaluate the latest social tools that come out.  Jumping on a new channel too quickly can be a hazard to your brand.  It’s ok not to have an official presence on channels, especially when people might already be talking a lot about you already.  You don’t have to be on every single platform. 
  • Do you really want to talk to the whole world if your audience and customers are local?
  • Google+ has a real intellectual base of users.  Very tech savvy people.
  • Google+ Hangouts are a great free way to connect with your audience on video.  Allows them to ask you questions.  Have multiple business locations?  You can use a Google Hangout as a free video conferencing capability.

Improving Your Business Through Social Media

  • How can the social media tools we have available allow you to improve the way you do your job?
  • Create live events for your customers and promote them through social media.  Invite your followers to exclusive events.  This creates raving fans who will spread the word about you.
  • Leverage social media to invite some loyal customers into your business and give them a behind-the-scenes look.

Simplifying Social Media Measurement

  • Simple factors to measure include: week-over-week growth for your social presence.  What do people engage with the most?
  • You can use the simple free measurement tools, like Twitter’s stats and Facebook Insights, that are available to everyone to get general information.

Until next time, keep rockin’ —




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