The Most Popular Man In Space – Chris Hadfield and getting social media right

In Customer Engagement, Featured on App, Social media, Technology by Vaughn Highfield

The Most Popular Man In Space – Chris Hadfield and getting social media right

For some, social media seems to be a task that seems somewhat unfathomable unless you're safe behind the veneer of a corporate logo or brand.

A look at the Fortune 100's top 20 most social CMOs just goes to show that only a few in the business actually make use of their own personal Twitter and Facebook accounts successfully.

Many of those who use their own personal social media channels – of which, worryingly, there aren't many in the Fortune 100 – use it as a corporate tool rather than a means of engagement.

Would you like to follow an account of the CMO of a hugely influential business, only to hear the same regurgitated marketing message thrown your way?

Surely not.

Instead you want an insight into their lives. A way into their brain to see how they think about situations and moments so you too can grow to understand how they come up with the strategies they do. You want to see a more personal side of their lives and the business they work for.

One man has managed to do this better than any other, better than he or his employer could have ever imagined, and – to really drive the point home – he did it all from space.

Commander Chris Hadfield, a moustachioed Canadian astronaut who is part of the Canadian Space Agency, prepared himself for a journey home from the International Space Station with 900,000 Twitter followers hanging on his every word – or softly played guitar note.

Commander Hadfield, who has had absolutely no social media training beyond teaching him how to use a high-end camera to record video and take photos in space, took to Twitter and went down an absolute storm in the process.

Because of his photo, video and general tweets, traffic to the CSA website increased by 70 per cent. He's not just tapped into the hearts and minds of Canadian citizens – like CSA were hoping – he's managed to inspire people all across the world.

He did have a hand in his expansion thanks to former Star Trek actor William Shatner tweeting him with a question.

Obviously you may well shun this social media realisation by placing it entirely on the idea that the man is in space – who can resist a man in space after all? But you'd be wrong as many other astronauts have used the social media platform in space before to no avail.

What sets Hadfield apart from the rest is what he tweeted. Instead of spouting corporate messages or endorsements for the CSA, he put up images he'd taken, videos he'd made, he talked about his kids, sport and make absolutely terrible jokes.

His extraordinary situation and role connected with people across the globe because they realised he was just like everyone else.

That's the key to winning over social media.


You can find out more about how to utilise social media at this year's Europe's Customer Festival as many social media, omni-channel and loyalty specialists share their knowledge of this lucrative space.

The Most Popular Man In Space – Chris Hadfield and getting social media right