Social media is an inexpensive, yet potentially highly powerful, marketing tool to aid in the launching of a new product. Scheduling a series of online events to create buzz and excitement properly primes your target audience to be both informed and eager to purchase.
Ben & Jerry's, for example, already had an extensive social media following when it launched its new line of Cores. Their Facebook promotion of the launch garnered 35,000 likes and more than 8,000 shares, and Twitter performance was equally impressive with 2,400 retweets. As pointed out by search and digital marketing company ZOG Digital, every like, share and retweet for Ben & Jerry’s resulted in greater visibility and increased the likelihood of people clicking to the product announcement and, ultimately, buying the product.
Here are some key considerations to keep in mind to create and promote your product launch online.
Tailor Your Messages to Multiple Audiences, Locations, and Platforms
Social media lets you target different audiences with promotions to address their specific interests. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ Circles and, to a limited extent, Twitter allow you to create different groups or lists of users.
For example, a new car model might tout its WiFi capabilities and mobile phone interfaces to millennials, while fuel efficiency is the main point for Sierra Club members, and cargo space is stressed to young families. Similarly, consumers in differing geographic locations may require their own unique messaging.
Keep in mind that different platforms have different audiences and different capabilities. LinkedIn, for example, generally has a more professional and businesslike tone than Facebook, which is more social and conversational.
Related Article: How and Why to Start a Twitter Chat
Create Some Buzz
You want to create excitement, and a little mystery gets people talking. Social media posts that refer to a new product without a lot of detail get people curious. While Apple is notorious about keeping details about new product releases close to the vest, its PR department is probably grateful for all the anticipation and discussion created by the speculation posted to sites such as MacRumors.
Post a Video
Video marketing is extremely engaging and when done well, is one of the more shared types of content. It's relatively easy to create a professional-looking video and upload it, and then link to it from your website and social media. Keeping in mind the idea of creating buzz, release a weekly series of videos that reveal a specific feature or application, or a behind-the-scenes interview of a product developer in anticipation of the official product launch.
Related Article: Why Products Fail and How to Avoid a Bad Launch
Appeal to Early Adopters
Neil Young raised more than $6 million dollars on Kickstarter for a product and service that doesn't yet exist. The success is in part attributed to an appeal to early adopters who like to be first in line for a new and exciting product. Early adopters also become the best brand ambassadors to spread the work for new products.
Ways to attract early adopters include:
- Send invitation-only memberships to a target audience that entitles them to exclusive news, early purchases, and/or discounts.
- Keep the membership small, otherwise you dilute the value and prestige of exclusivity.
- Sponsor member-only chats, email lists, online discussions, events webpages restricted for their access only.
- Partner with early adopters, providing them with product brochures, announcements, and links to help them help you spread the word about new products to a more general audience.
Once you've spent all this effort creating anticipation, you have to follow through. You've hinted at something exciting. If the product launch itself doesn't live up to the expectations you've created, it might not achieve liftoff.