One of the biggest challenges for a small business is getting word out when you add something new and excited to your product or service offering. Your social media presence can help immensely, but it doesn’t happen automatically … so, here are seven key DOs and DON’Ts for getting the most out of social media on your next product launch.
1. DON’T wait until your launch to start using social media.
I can’t tell you how many inquiries our agency gets along these lines: “Hi, we’re launching a new product next week and want you to set us up a Facebook page to promote it.” Nope. It takes months, sometimes a year or more, to build a following on social media that you can market to. You have to build your community first, and then market.
2. DO have an incredible, mind-blowing offer.
You may be as excited as all get-out about your new product, but people outside your company couldn’t care less. It’s a serious mistake to think features and benefits alone will sell your new product – you have to give people a reason to take action now. Blogs and Facebook are especially effective for promoting special offers, but Twitter works, too. Proven offers include time-sensitive and generous discounts, free trials, rebates, gifts, and extended warranty options.
3. DO integrate social media with your other promotional activity.
Sending an email blast? Include a link to your Facebook page where people can see scores of photos of your new product. Creating a PDF brochure about your new service? Design in a blurb encouraging customers to follow you on Twitter, where they can learn more about its exciting features and value.
4. DO add the personal touch to your social promotion.
Alert influential bloggers and social media connections about your launch via email, Twitter direct message, etc. Ask for their support by retweeting your launch announcements, mentioning the product in a blog post, or commenting on your blog post announcing the new item. Perhaps you can even offer the product to bloggers at no charge, in return for a review of the product on their blog. In social media, there’s an underlying spirit of cooperation, but you still have to ask.
5. DON’T get personal with people you don’t know.
When doing #4 above, be careful not to approach people you don’t know or barely know as if they were lifelong friends. That type of phoniness goes over like a lead balloon in general, and like a lead zeppelin in social media. The good news is, high profile social media people may be willing to help you, especially if you approach them in a professional manner and give them legitimate reasons why it makes sense for them to lend support.
6. Don’t promote something old as if it were new.
Social media is all about authenticity. If your new product is really an old product in a new wrapper, there’s a good chance social media participants will call you on it. If your launch generates negative conversation, it can damage your brand. Remember: when people do Google searches for your company or your “new” product, they will see social media content in the results – including negative Yelp reviews, blog posts with negative comments, etc.
7. DO encourage social sharing, gently.
When people place an online order for your new product, add a feature to the thank-you/order confirmation page that allows them to tweet or publish a Facebook comment about their new purchase. Offer people a small incentive to leave a comment on your blog about the new product, such as a coffee mug or a tee shirt. Too much of this can backfire, as it could be viewed as manipulative. However, when kept low-key and entertaining, a consistent drive for social media sharing can produce a prodigious word-of-mouth effect.
Guest Author – Brad Shorr is Director of Content and Social Media for Straight North, one of the best Chicago marketing agencies out there for small and midsized firms. They’ve been doing lots of work with niche automotive clients recently, including a small firm that does rebuilt Volvo transmissions and another that specializes in hydraulic motor parts. Be sure to follow Brad on Twitter.