I was talking to a coworker in the kitchen today. He’s co-writing a children’s book with his kids (aww!). The launch date is the end of this year, and he asked for some advice about how to promote the project on social.
A few ideas immediately came to mind. My coworker is a gifted artist and draws dragons on the whiteboards around our office. These dragons will also play a central part in his book. I suggested that he build affinity, attachment, and awareness for his book and the human story behind it—a dad writing a book with his kids—by posting images of the whiteboard drawings on Instagram, and behind-the-scenes content of the book creation process with his kids on Instagram Stories.
Instagram is a social network where a lot of parents spend time posting pictures of their children, as well as interacting with other parents and brands. It’s where his target audience is, and more importantly, where they are receptive to content like his.
As I continued the discussion with my coworker, it occurred to me that many of the principles I walked through with him could be useful to any business or individual launching just about anything. Here are the five noble truths of preparing for a product and/or brand launch with social media.
1. Get the Lay of the Land
- What your target audience is talking about. This is the organic conversation happening between likely buyers in your industry and around major events in your industry.
- What feelings provoke action in your target audience. Does your target audience engage most with content that inspires? That gets a laugh? That exposes vulnerability? That shows exactly what a product can do? That educates?
- Which content types provoke action in your target audience. Does your target audience engage most with produced videos, more unpolished videos, photos, carousels, etc.?
Sure, you can scroll through your various feeds to get the lay of the land, but we suggest investing in a listening solution for a broader, deeper view—with less heavy lifting.
Taking the time to research and gather this information gives you a prescription for exactly what you should do as you prepare to launch.
2. What’s Your Goal?
What are you trying to accomplish on social media? More awareness of your brand among people who have never heard of it before? Consideration for buying your new product among people who already know about your brand? Get as specific as possible with both your goal (“Generate X% more awareness”) and your audience (“People who have never interacted with our brand before on social”).
The 2018 Metrics Map can help you determine how to match your goal with KPIs, so you know what to track as you go along.
Finally, you’ll want to get your social media analytics solution nailed down. This will enable you to track your progress towards goals, from 0…to infinity and beyond.
3. Choose Your Network(s) + Your Top 3
Once you’ve picked your specific goal, and gotten very specific about what achieving that goal looks like, it’s time to choose the social network(s) and three major strategies that ladder up to your goals. Here’s what you need to know.
- Don’t choose too many social networks. Only choose as many social networks as you are able to nurture and/or maintain staff to focus on. Social media is not a second thought—it is a primary promotion and distribution channel. If you only have the time or resources to focus on one social channel, choose one social channel and make that your content hub.
- Create unique content for each network. Posting the same content across various networks is rarely successful and will dilute your social success and results.
- Choose the networks where your ads will be successful, too. Your social strategy should be a hybrid of organic and paid. That’s how you’ll have the most impact. Make sure that the social networks you focus on work well for brands like you for both organic and paid. That means it’s time to read some case studies.
- Choose the three strategies you will focus on before, during, and immediately after your launch. Distill all your bold ideas and excitement about the launch down to three strategies you will employ over the course of your launch timeline: three in the lead-up to the launch, three during the launch phase, and three immediately post-launch.
4. Create a Launch Schedule
Did you know there’s an app for that? Use a solution like Sprout Social to plan out your pre-launch, launch, and post-launch schedule.
Upload all your visual content, and partner with stakeholders across different parts of the organization or geographical locations.
This process will ensure that your efforts are strategic and aligned—and that you’re not scrambling for content at the last minute and/or having to focus on social scheduling when there’s so much else to deal with on launch day/week/month.
5. Prime the Pump
Don’t wait. Get started now. Begin telling your story. Is your team spending long days and nights agonizing over the details of your upcoming launch? Share this experience on your social network of choice. When people see your struggle and passion, they are more likely to become invested in your success—and, ultimately, buy your product.
You can even ask your growing social audience for advice. Let’s say you’re opening a perfume shop. Should the walls be painted bright yellow or light green? Run a poll.
Offer a deluxe sample for the best advice. Make your audience feel like they’re a part of your growth.
Encourage content sharing—especially if awareness with totally new audiences is your primary goal. Build an in-person events schedule, and ask influencers and/or guests to share as much content as possible. Fuel your influencers/guests with everything they need to share your news, including messaging guidelines, images, video content, etc.
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