Are you considering launching a product or service and not sure how to use social media in your marketing plan? With products being the number one content type for top global brands for engagement, a marketing strategy that emphasizes your social presence is critical. We recently had the pleasure of helping Toon Boom Animation launch Harmony 15, a revolutionary new edition of their flagship offering (FYI, Harmony is a 2D animation program). Based on our experience, here are some of key learnings and tips for supporting your own product launch via social.
Plan Ahead with a Calendar
Product launches are intense periods; a calendar mapping your actions and content will ensure no details are lost. We built a 3-month calendar for Harmony 15, including 8 weeks of hype-building and campaigns, our support of the launch, and a month of post-launch activities.
A social calendar brings so many benefits. It ensures a steady stream of content is released at the optimal time to resonate with your target audience. It also serves as a great reference for a ‘helicopter view’ of your plans, letting you incorporate inevitable changes as they pop up. This larger view also lets you quickly scan for consistency… or inconsistency… across campaigns.
Use a Teaser Campaign
Teaser campaigns are a great way to support your product launch, particularly if you incorporate strong creative content (i.e. images and videos, which are a must!). A good teaser campaign should give the audience a sneak peak at important aspect(s) of the offering, like new features, but not reveal too much. Naturally, it should also be easily shareable to maximize your reach.
For Harmony 15, we worked with a graphic designer to create a series of images that would work cross-platform and generate buzz online. The images named new features to be added and the text was kept exceptionally short, not providing any specifics. This encouraged followers to ask questions and engage in conversations and speculation on how the feature would be implemented.
Hold a Contest
Who doesn’t love a good contest? Instagram in particular makes it easy to host contests as their rules are more lenient than Facebook and their algorithm supports organic views of your posts for longer than Twitter (in other words: your post won’t disappear so quickly from feeds).
We knew the main prize was going to be the new product itself, but what about secondary prizes? Smaller giveaways like Amazon gift cards are an effective and easy way to drive engagement but we opted against this for Harmony 15. Why? We didn’t want to divert attention from the product itself, nor did we see this extra prize driving further engagement. Here’s a link to the video that launched the contest we held for Toon Boom’s Harmony 15.
Quick reminder: do not forget to support your contest with Calls-to-Action (CTAs) on your other accounts!
Match Campaigns with Channels
Social media campaigns must be designed with the intended platform in mind. For the teaser campaign, we wanted to keep things light but generate engagement, so we ran it on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but not LinkedIn. For the contest, we held it on Instagram but supported it with CTAs on Facebook and Twitter. We also ensured not to overlap the timing of key posts of the two, which we outlined in our campaign calendar.
What about LinkedIn? With a very targeted audience of animators and industry professionals, we provided a modified and exclusive version of the teaser campaign, using a tone that was more suited to the platform.
Engage, Engage, Engage
We cannot forget about the ‘social’ part of social media and, as a product launch is a time when many eyes will be on your accounts, engagement with your online community is more important than ever. You can expect comments to increase in volume and to address new issues and topics. How can you best manage this influx and stay on top of your community management? We recommend:
- Scheduling your posts and media according to your campaign calendar
- Building an internal database of likely FAQs and outlines of responses
- Identifying contacts who can address special cases promptly
- Setting aside extra time for monitoring and responding
There is no shortcut when it comes to proper online community management; it requires listening to your audience and responding openly, honestly, and promptly. We knew the team at Toon Boom Animation was going to be busy with many other aspects of the launch, so we worked with them in advance on the plan so we could act independently. In doing so, when we reached out for their input on a critical case they knew it was important and prioritized resolving the issue.
Key Take-Away? Planning and Flexibility are Key
Product launches can be a little unpredictable; will your audience love your new offering? Hate it? Will it go viral? How engaged will your audience be? To achieve your marketing goals, it’s important to set your objectives and plan and prepare as much as possible, but be ready to adapt to what your audience is saying. By employing some of these tips, you can support your new product or service launch and stay on top of your social media presence. Make sure to reach out to us if you would like to use our expertise in supporting product launches on social media.
What are some of your tips on supporting a product launch on social media? We’d love to hear them, so feel free to share in the comments section below!
Author: Alexander Nowak