Celebate and Spread the Word: Using Social Media for Product Launches

Social media marketing, as you know, is about building relationships rather than shouting to an audience, about long-term credibility rather than quick, flashy attention-getting stunts. It pays to put long-term effort into your social media presence, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also use it to make a big splash for a special occasion. And is there any occasion more special than the debut of your new product or service?

Here are some tips on harnessing the power of social networking to launch your new product:

Social media is still a two-way conversation

Don’t forget that social media is about starting a conversation, not just sending out a message. Give your customers reasons and opportunities to respond back to you, and to talk amongst themselves. Ask for their opinions. Contests, giveaways, and product-related forums (“Share a picture of yourself using this product!” for example) can also get people involved. Always keep in mind that this is a two-way relationship.

Build a presence long before the launch

A social media strategy has to be built slowly and organically, taking time to create real relationships. This means that you need to start long before you have a particular product to launch. From book authors to big-time players like Cisco, effective social media marketers start slow and early, and build up to the big launch.

Jon Ferrara, Founder and CEO at Nimble has done a superb job of this. His Social CRM product is in beta but he has been out talking about it and engaging on social networks long before he ever had a product to show.

Let customers in on the planning process

You can gain a lot by sharing some news about your product before the launch. You don’t have to give up all of the details, but by letting your customers in on the process, you let them start early building buzz for you. Ask for (and truly listen to) their opinions as the product is created, and you’ll give them a sense of ownership that will spur them on to promote your business further. American Express OPEN Forum has more advice on letting customers help you plan the product and the launch.

Integrate social media with traditional PR

To get a message out fast and big, use all of the tools available. Create a traditional press release, and a press conference if appropriate. Seek out bloggers in your industry, just as you would a traditional journalists. Schedule personal appearances, if your industry warrants this. Then boost the power of these traditional approaches with social media: tweet, blog, Facebook, tell LinkedIn members, and send email blasts—and create a YouTube video to feed traditional and new media outlets. PageOne PR has posted a great step-by-step guide to integrated approach to product launches and for start-ups the StartUp Portal has a great startup launch timeline.

Social media marketing is best seen as a long-term strategy, but it’s when you need to do something big and fast, like a product launch, that the hard work you put into building a presence will really pay off.

Do you need help integrating social media into your go-to-market plan? Contact us today.

We look forward to making sure you get the most out of your next launch!