Launching a new product is a very exciting moment for any company. In the continuous race to wow their customers with brand new products featuring modern design and more functionalities and benefits, it is extremely important to introduce every new product with a great launch event. Top companies host lavish parties with celebrities in the best locations in the city. Smaller companies plan a local in-store event. But there is one forum where a huge potential audience can be approached and invited to witness the unveiling of your new product: the social media.
Social media product launches have become the norm even for major brands, who cannot afford to ignore their international customers and want to let them experience the same excitement as the attendants of the launching party. For smaller businesses, social media launching is the most affordable (sometimes the only affordable) solution for creating hype around their new products and start the first sale day with a bang.
Today we will discuss the anatomy of a social media product launch event – the dos and don’ts. Remember that you can only launch a product once. If you get it wrong, you can’t come back a few weeks later and do it all over again the right way. You have one shot and it has to hit the bullseye. So, what can be a hit, and what can be a miss? Let’s see!
Do: Select the Social Media Channels for Your Product Launch
Spreading yourself out too thin will result in a weak and inefficient product launch. You don’t have to be present on all social media platforms – but you must prepare a memorable event for the ones you are going to use. Building and adapting your product launch campaign for 2 or 3 social media platforms takes weeks, so you need to be very specific and determined in selecting the right platforms.
Facebook™, Instagram and Pinterest are favoured by many companies because they support the sharing of high quality imagery, both photographs and videos. Twitter is preferred by companies who prefer to address their audience with punchy, short and memorable quotes and great hashtags. Thus, when you select the social media platforms you will use for your product launch, consider what type of content you want to develop for the pre-launch phase.
Don’t: Share the Same Content Everywhere, without Adapting It
Chances are your Facebook™ followers also follow you on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. If they notice the same content, tactics and approach in preparing a product launch on all channels, their first natural question will be: “Why did they bother to do this on so many social media platforms?” Engagement is achieved in a different manner for each platform. A product launch campaign needs to be super engaging, original and fresh, not a bland copy/paste job.
Do: Create Memorable Hashtags to Promote Your New Product
Hashtags are currently available for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook™ and Google+. They are a great help in creating momentum and the right hype for your product launch. You can invite your followers to guess the type of product you will launch, share bits of the ‘making of’ process and behind the scenes of your preparations for the launch event – all easily searchable by people using the hashtag.
Don’t: Use a Popular Hashtag without Investigating It
Many large companies got burned when they grabbed the first popular hashtag of the day and used them for their product launch campaign. One classic (negative) example is an apparel brand which used the hashtag for a hurricane to associate it with their latest spring-summer collection. Whenever you want to associate your new product with an event or hashtag, ask yourself whether this association will still be relevant a few months later or whether you really understand what the hashtag is all about.
Do: Organise a Contest as Part of your Launch Strategy
Everyone loves to take part in a contest, especially when it has an attractive prize. They will not only take part, but tell all their friends about it and ask them to participate as well. Thus, social media contests are the perfect medium for spreading the word and gaining more followers who will be actively watching out for the launch event. Of course, the prize for such a contest should be your new product. The few items you give away for free will be worth the engagement you will be able to create for the launch events, and the first product reviews you will receive from the contest winners.
Don’t: Let the Hype Die out after the Event
The launch event is over? Great! Time to sit back, relax and watch the sales soar… No, that’s not the way of doing it! You must continue to engage your followers, ask for their feedback after the event, invite the first buyers to send their photos and videos using the product and thus generate more content to keep the hype alive for days, even weeks. People have a short attention span. If you let days pass without reminding them about your new product, they will forget about it soon. And this will be visible in the form of declining sales.
The most important take-away from this list of dos and don’ts is that a social media product launch takes time and thought to craft and refine, and that it must come out perfectly from the first try. This is why companies need to plan this event at least a couple of months before the actual date and make sure that they capture and maintain their followers’ interest throughout these months and then reward their engagement with a spectacular launch event.