Promoting, marketing and launching products to mass audiences are no longer restricted to companies with large budgets. Brands are increasingly turning to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and other social networks to instigate a buzz around the launch of a new product, and it’s not hard to see why.
The popularity of social media makes it the perfect platform to support a product launch. A successful launch requires an engaged audience, a platform for displaying the product that enables comment and feedback, and the facility to share the product information to as large a customer base as possible. There are few channels that can offer these elements for such a minimal spend as social media.
However the product launch should not be your brand’s first introduction to Social Media. To maximize the effectiveness of social media in launching your product your brand should already be engaging and interacting with your customers through social networks.
Consistently posting, sharing and conversing with your customers not only builds your following but it helps bring credibility to the brand. When launching the product through social media you not only want a large following, but a following that feel a genuine affinity with the brand and what they offer.
Pre-launch, build a community of online followers; customers, bloggers, market influencers and maintain active engagement with these followers leading up to, during, and post-launch. They will be key to maximizing the product reach.
Like any marketing strategy, using social media as part of your product launch requires a plan with goals and objectives. Identify each social media tool you plan to utilize and treat each one as a separate promotional entity.
4 Tips – How to Use Social Media to Maximize the Impact of Your Product Launch
1. Create a Buzz
Creating a buzz around a new product launch to market provides a strong platform on which to launch the product and develop customer interest. Word Of Mouth is one of the most powerful means of advertising and social media capitalizes on this like no other tool.
Before launching a new product the brand should engage with their biggest supporters; from industry experts to fans, followers, retweeters and commentators.
Build anticipation by giving them a sneak peak of some element of the product. If companies are able to get people talking about a new product and the upcoming launch across their own social media profiles through shared and likes then this leads to an increase in awareness among existing and potential customers. Promo videos, behind-the-scenes photos, product-specific twitter hastags, and competitions can be great forms of pre-launch buzz generators.
Not limited to just products, the NBA uses social media to generate buzz and introduce new players to NBA fans such as Damien Lillard this year who now has a substantial following and raised profile that wouldn’t have been possible several years ago.
2. Product Testing
When launching a new product it is important for the brand to listen to feedback from the fans and customers. By its very nature social media is perfectly suited to gauge customer and fan opinions and react to and adapt the launch strategy accordingly.
Facebook polls, hastag and YouTube commentary can all be valuable sources of feedback enabling the brand to build a targeted launch with maximum impact on the target market.
Aedle is a Paris based company who have used their blog and facebook page to inform potential customers about the development of their new product and get feedback as to its look and the materials used. They even shared video clips on the machinery used to create the product
They have created an audience of brand ambassadors that not only wait in anticipation for the product launch, but also feel they have been valuable contributors to the products development.
3. Expand Brand Equity
In today’s market social media is essential for a successful product launch but it is at its most effective as a complimentary tool to traditional marketing and advertising. Online video and web documentaries, bonus features and behind-the-scene extras can offer extended information and enhanced brand interaction to online brand enthusiasts.
4. Competitions and Rewards
Competitions, discount offers and give-aways reward loyal brand followers and act as an encouragement for their continued participation in spreading the word for your new product information. Early adopters and fans of a brand are always more likely to share information about a new product or promotional campaign with their own friends and followers.
Launching products online gives brands the opportunity through social media to reward fans and followers that are liking, sharing, posting, re-tweeting and ultimately talking about the new product.
Audi launched their new A1 in Ireland with an online and social media campaign that created huge buzz and customer engagement beyond any offline campaign. Rather than simply announcing the launch of a new model through traditional channels, they decided to actively engage their target audience and encourage campaign interaction and participation of the campaign idea ‘The Chase’.
A first for the auto industry in Ireland, this interactive campaign comprised of a range of different puzzles and clues to solve, utilizing online and offline media. The A1 Chase challenged its audience to solve every clue and track every lead with the aim of locating a missing Audi A1. The eventual winner of the Chase got to drive away in the missing Audi A1!
Social media provides brands with a fantastic opportunity to extend the impact of their product launch far beyond that of traditional marketing. That said, for a truly successful market launch your launch strategy needs to be a comprehensive plan that integrates all marketing tools and not just social media.
Whether you have a product in development or plan on extending your product line in the future start by beginning with expanding your social media presence. Create engagement, boost interaction and generate customer buzz. It could be the first step for future launch success.
• Have you utilized your social media to support a product launch?
• Does your product launch strategy include social media?