As a marketer, product launches are both stressful and exciting. To ensure you stay on top of things, you likely will work diligently on a product launch checklist. These guides can significantly help you launch your product while building brand loyalty, trust, awareness and leads.
The perfect checklist will cover everything from the initial planning until months after the product has been released. However, one thing that is commonly left out of the discussion is your plan of attack on social media.
As a marketer, you have to put trust in your social media marketing team to boost brand exposure online and through each social platform. Using the right tactics on social media helps you not only reach your target audiences but can also help build your brand’s authority and influence.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) December 1, 2015
That’s why it’s essential to include social media in your product launch checklist. In fact, 85% percent of customers think businesses should be active with their social media presence. So if you were releasing a new product, why wouldn’t you plan your strategy around the place where customers expect you?
Where to Start
Launching a product or service takes time and plenty of preparation. According to Social Media Examiner, most product launches need to start at least two months ahead of the launch date. This timeline varies depending on your product or service type, seasonal relevance, staff size and other important factors that can make this strategy process much longer.
However, the main goal is to get started as early as possible and think about how your social channels will work with the launch of your product or service. The worst thing you can do is wait until the last minute to incorporate social media in your campaign strategy.
Planning in waves of impressions is always a good place to start with product launches. Consider how social media will affect your audience’s first, second and even third impression of your product.
What’s the most effective way to make sure you include everything in your strategy? Well, it usually starts with a checklist. Here are a few ways to think about using social media in your product launch:
Which Social Platforms Work Best for You
It’s important to know what the perfect product launch looks like in your mind. Then you will be able to determine what role social media marketing should play in your launch strategy. Simply put, social media platforms are fast-paced channels where consumers often skim, potentially missing your message. If you take the time to plan out your launch strategy, you’ll have a better chance of keeping the attention of your core audience.
First, look at the different ways each social network could possibly play a role in your product launch. Here are some examples on how you can make an impression on the most popular social media channels:
- Make sure your product or service is visually appealing.
- Write enthralling Instagram captions.
- Engage with @mentions and comments.
- Don’t rely on heavily promotional content for each post.
- Consider Facebook advertising for higher outreach.
- Post promotional content only once or twice a day.
- Share weekly behind the scenes video updates.
- Network with your biggest brand advocates.
- Ensure your audience can get more information through links.
- See what potential real-time campaigns could work.
Social media provides unique opportunities for you to make a product launch fun. While you put your blood, sweat and tears into a launch, you should consider how your audience will receive your campaign.
According to 100 Startup, it’s crucial to think about both buyers and non-buyers. Make sure your campaign is engaging and fun for both sides so even the people who don’t want to buy still have an enjoyable time hearing about your product.
Research Your Twitter Analytics
Do you know which Tweets you sent throughout the year have received the most Likes, Retweets or impressions? Analytics are a crucial tool for getting to know your audience and understanding how to engage them with a new product. With Sprout Social’s Twitter Analytics reports, you can see exactly which Tweets were most popular and had the highest level of engagement.
Maybe you already know this information and want to go farther. Through Sprout’s Brand Keyword search, you can find what your audience is saying about your brand on social media, even if they don’t @mention or tag you. To be successful with your audience, you have to engage in social listening and not just monitor the number of Likes and inbound messages. When you know what your audience is talking about, you can more strategically approach conversations with them during your product launch campaign.
Social media posts can have a brief lifecycle, and this is especially true on Twitter. You have to give your audience some sort of reason to engage with your content. That means each Tweet, post or Instagram image needs to give people an incentive to respond, share or take whatever action you’ve set as your purpose.
When you do this correctly, you can help push your audience into wanting the product or service even more. People tend to make the final purchasing decision when there’s a sense of urgency. To encourage your audience to take action on your posts, try one of these tactics:
- Offer limited quantities.
- Give first-time buyer discounts.
- Use limited time discounts.
- Update the amount of product remaining in stock as availability decreases.
You also want to make your campaign easy to share. When your influencers and affiliates help you build buzz around your product launch, word gets out faster. You can do this by giving affiliates sample of Tweets, Instagram images and captions, Facebook posts and LinkedIn posts that only require the affiliate to add their own link.
— Tanner Zagarino (@TannerZagarino) October 21, 2015
Providing partners, affiliates and influencers with simple, foolproof examples will make it easier for them to share your product while focusing on your key messages.
Create a Unique Hashtag
Throughout your product launch planning process, it is important to differentiate your brand from competitors in the market—in other words, be unique. Try creating a distinctive hashtag specifically for marketing the product launch. If you look closely, you’ll notice brands get a lot of traction with their production launch through hashtags.
— EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) November 30, 2015
According to research by Twitter, which inspected more than 2 million Tweets, when a Tweet features a hashtag, there’s a 16% boost in engagement. Hashtags are a breeding ground for conversation and anticipation. This means you should strongly consider including a hashtag campaign in your social media product launch strategy. Besides stirring the pot with a usable and catchy hashtag, you also can get the data behind its use through Sprout.
In fact, with our Trends report, you can actually see what hashtags people are mentioning, and how frequently, with your Twitter handle. This will give you insight into just how much your audience is engaged with a specific promotional hashtag.
For the truly data-hungry marketers out there, Sprout also allows you to see your audience growth through Twitter Profile reports. These metrics are critical to any social media marketer who wants to evaluate how a specific hashtag campaign brings in new followers and conversations surrounding your brand.
Target Your Exact Audience
As a social media marketer, accurate targeting during a product launch is absolutely essential. As the price of your marketing campaign increases, you need focus even more on the people you’re targeting.
Reaching out to a specifically targeted audience during your product launch is how you sell to your core followers and brand loyalists. For example, Cadbury, one of the world’s largest chocolate producers, saw the benefits of a precisely targeted audience through Twitter when it began tracking words like “chocolate” and “Wispa” (a previously discontinued chocolate bar). The company wanted to find those who were posting to social media about bringing back the chocolate bar.
“Since the impassioned voices that helped bring Wispa Gold back were so effective, we decided to use similar voices to help spread awareness of its relaunch,” said Jerry Daykin, social media manager for Cadbury. “Twitter is ideal for this because of its real-time conversational platform and actively engaged user base.”
The results from the relaunch were successful as the company relied on Twitter keyword searches to find the exact audience that would want their product. Cadbury found three major statistics that proved their relaunch was effective through Twitter:
Get to the Point
Your sales funnel should be fluid from the time your customer engages until they purchase the product. One of the easiest ways to keep a sales funnel moving is through easy-to-read and direct call-to-action phrases. If you constantly change the release date or information about the launch or product itself, consumers will immediately become disengaged.
Instead, marketers have to be clear and concise with the information they release on social media. The less confusion for your audience the better. You can be much clearer by using:
- Simple landing page links
- Quick descriptions of the product’s benefits
- Call-to-action phrases that are to the point
- Immediate confirmation of any signup or preorder
- Friendly reminders about the launch
By following these steps in your sales funnel, you leave your audience little room for error or confusion. The whole point of your product launch is to spread the word and to get your audience engaged. Simplicity always works in your favor in these instances.
Add Plenty of Visuals
There’s no doubt about it, we’re simply more engaged when it comes to visuals vs. text. The Pew Research Center found adult Instagram users grew by the largest percentage (9%) over the last three years.
While Facebook continues to dominate, the user base of Instagram’s engaging photo-sharing platform is growing rapidly. Additionally, 2013 Edison Research report showed Americans spend around four hours a week watching videos online. Your product launch should have a visual aspect through media-rich content.
— Le Roy Gwladys (@LeRoyGwladys) December 12, 2014
Using media-rich content makes your company seem fun, relatable and interesting. Not only that, but your visual media can help keep the attention of your audience when you plan a launch campaign. By including visual content in your social media strategy, you spread the word while educating new customers on your product.
Your Next Move
Whether product launches make you nervous or excited, it’s still always great to be well-prepared throughout your campaign. That’s why so many social media managers ensure their part in the launch is backed with social analytics. If you want to see the engagement rates, Instagram posts with the most impressions or Twitter analytics that releate with your product launch, try Sprout Social for a 30-day free trial today!
This post Why Social Media Is Needed in Your Product Launch Checklist originally appeared on Sprout Social.