World Space Week 2013
This week’s spotlight is on World Space Week – which is going on right now! Every year from October 4-10 thousands of events are held around the world to celebrate science, technology and the benefits of space exploration as well as to educate people of all ages about science and space. The goal is to foster international collaboration in space exploration and excite people about the possibilities. With my daughter being Astronaut Abby, choosing World Space Week for this week’s #SocialSpotlight was a no-brainer!
While World Space Week has been around for over a decade, the use of social media to push its message forward has made a great advance this past year. As a grassroots effort with very little funding, it has taken a massive group of volunteers and a dedicated leader to move the efforts forward. The Executive Director Remco Timmermans is an avid social media user and has made huge strides to leverage the power of social media to help spread the message of World Space Week. This is the first year that World Space Week has begun to use social media to seriously advance their message and this is Remco Timmermans first year working on the project. Since this shift in focus World Space Week’s follower base on Facebook and Twitter is now 5 times larger than they were less than one year ago.
Here are some of the key elements of the 2013 World Space Week Social Media Campaign:
1. Strategic Partnership: As a small grassroots organization, the ability to recognize the need to partner with more robust space organizations has been essential to the success of World Space Week. Although World Space Week partners with many organizations around the world, all of whom help get the word out, they have created one special partnership to help with communications and coordination of the the 2013 effort. The Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) in Innsbruck, Austria has become World Space Week Mission Control center for World Space Week 2013. The team at OeWF has volunteered countless hours to help make the 2013 World Space Week efforts a success.
2. Hashtag Branding: #WSW2013 is a clean and simple hashtag which of course changes slightly every year to announce a new year of the celebration. What is great about this hashtag is that since it is used year after year people instantly recognize the “WSW” as World Space Week. But slapping a hashtag on some @WorldSpaceWeek tweets does little to get it off the ground. To really gain leverage it’s important to curate a dedicated community to grow the hashtag. Some things Remco’s team has done include:
-Year-round outreach with space thought leaders on social media to keep the World Space Week brand present. The relationship with these thought leaders goes beyond just tweets though, as many of these people are also connected to World Space Week and Remco through email and other space related events. Remco serves as an ambassador year-round to cultivate these relationships around the world.
-Hashtag introduction 10-12 weeks prior to the kick-off of World Space Week. Remco and his team begin to use the hashtag both on their personal accounts as well as on the official World Space Week accounts. Beginning the buzz about the event early helps to get people used to the new hashtag and prepares them as the event comes closer.
-Emails to remind the community to use the hashtag during World Space Week. Again, personal outreach to thought leaders right before the event and an email blast the first days of the event to their 4,000+ email list has helped to remind people to start using the hashtag.
-Active use of the hashtag during the event. This means original tweets as well as conversing with people and sharing their materials that are relevant to World Space Week with the hashtag.
-Identifying and using other relevant hashtags along with the #WSW2013 hashtag to help spread the message.
3. Promotion using official World Space Week Social Channels: With thousands of events happening around the world, it’s impossible for World Space Week to promote every event. But Remco and his team monitor all the events as they happen and help to spread the word as organizations worldwide are using social media to share their #WSW2013 events. The World Space Week channels as well as the OeWF channels are sharing these events throughout the week, helping to spotlight great things that are happening. Again, the most important part of their effort is to get their community sharing – which they have done with over 15 million impressions on Twitter alone.
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