A launch strategy for buzz-worthy social media content
Just because someone’s been on Facebook for over a decade doesn’t mean they automatically know the ins and outs of social media marketing! Of course, social media content can be vital for brands ready to present a new product or service. Crafting a truly effective launch strategy is critical for getting your message out there and creating a healthy sales funnel. However, flooding the company’s new social media channels with ads, calls-to-action, and product shots can really backfire.
Because let’s be honest: nobody likes being marketed to.
Beyond “making the unaware aware”, the principle behind a successful launch strategy is to cultivate a relationship with your brand’s audience. Therefore, instead of bombarding your audience with ads, you should focus on communicating a strong brand identity. This is the key to creating and publishing social media content that consistently resonates with your customer base.
However, creating meaningful content is only half the equation. Achieving a high level of engagement across social media channels comes with its own set of rules.
Throughout my years helping innovators create content as a tech-focused marketing consultant, I’ve seen the effectiveness of having a strong online presence firsthand. For this article, I was curious to learn expert tips for kickstarting an effective social media launch strategy. This is why I’ve reached out to marketing wiz James Nieves, the Director of Product Marketing at Future. As a specialist in growing online communities, he guided me through the most important aspects of setting up your social media content launch strategy.
These are some of the golden nuggets he offered!
A strong launch strategy only thrives on the right social platforms
With so many social media platforms now available, a startup must be particularly intentional when choosing their primary channel. When I asked James about this, his response was simple: “It’s going to be all about where the audience is.”
He elaborated that in order to be effective on social platforms, social media content should be created purposefully. And he’s so right! The audience for short TikTok videos is totally different from what it would be for longer form videos on YouTube. As James put it, “It’s super important for brands to take the time to understand on which platform they should establish their presence.” Because clearly, they’re not created equal!
James offered these key pointers to help you choose the right set of platforms for your product launch strategy:
1. Where is your audience?
Begin by figuring out where your target demographic is most likely to be found online. A common mistake is for people to gravitate toward the familiar platforms they feel most comfortable with. Then, they try and force their audience to come to them.
Instead, the brand’s aim should be to seamlessly integrate onto its audience’s social media feeds. This means finding out which platform your target demographic actively uses the most. Once you identify their preference, then you can seek to open social media accounts on those platforms. This may require having to learning to use a platform you’ve never heard of before.
A great way to find your audience online is by studying the online strategies of your competitors. Once you’re sure you have similar target markets, see which platforms they use in their strategy and study which ones have the most engagement. You can also use tools such as the Pew Research Center’s publicly available survey data, or tools such as Google Analytics’ referral traffic report.
Pro Tip: A great way to identify your competitors is by finding out who is ranking for the keywords and hashtags you’ll use to promote your new offering!
2. What do you want to achieve through your social media content?
Each platform has its own characteristics. For instance, Instagram’s dynamic visuals help you build brand image, whereas Twitter’s real-time tweeting allows for quick replies and customer support for your audience.
Figure out what kind of conversations you want to start with your product launch and how you want to cultivate your customer relationships going forward.
3. How many channels should you be on?
Choosing multiple channels means you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket when you’re ready for your product launch. But remember you don’t need to be EVERYWHERE. Just pick a couple of social channels that will be the most meaningful to your primary and secondary audiences.
When selling physical goods or services, it’s particularly important to single out the main platform where you’ll establish your presence. Use that platform for your product launch and to build your relationships, then focus on supporting that channel elsewhere.
Pro tip: Never publish the same piece of content on different channels. If your audience is already following you on Twitter, what’s the point of following you on Instagram if they’ll see the same content again?
Reinforce your brand identity through your social media content
If your aim is to be part of your audience’s community, you can’t stick out like a sore thumb. Regarding this topic, James bluntly said, “In order to cultivate an engaging relationship with your target demographic, your social media content must fit seamlessly within their world.”
I couldn’t agree more when he added that in order to achieve this, you should investigate the kind of content your customer base is most likely to like, follow, and re-share. Understanding the context in which your social media content will exist will help you create media that feels organic in your audience’s feeds.
This step shouldn’t be too difficult if you have a solid idea of who your target audience is.
However, what you must keep in mind when you’re creating content is that you have to be VERY realistic about what your audience’s mentality will be when they see your content. James says that, “People won’t be browsing social media with their wallets out. I’m not alone when I say when I usually scroll through my social feeds, I’m usually a little bored. I’m on the lookout for interesting media that sparks my interest or gets my brain going.”
Creating an easily consumable piece of content for people’s tiny attention spans is critical for a successful launch strategy. A good piece of online marketing content needs to catch your viewer’s eye and steer their train of thought in a new direction.
Posting frequency and social media calendar
When you’re starting out, keeping a consistent publishing schedule requires commitment and thorough strategizing. You don’t want to just recycle the same piece of content if you actually want to build a following. Therefore, planning, creating and scheduling your posts in advance is key.
Be realistic about how often you can put meaningful original content out there, so you can begin by posting once a week. Then, you can increase the number of weekly posts as you start building your visual media kit and getting more comfortable with your style. My take on this is that unless you have REALLY good content that consistently yields high engagement, avoid posting more than once a day.
Using mixed media for your launch strategy
When I asked James about the best content to share across social media platforms, he told me, “The secret to maintaining audience attention over time is to create content with a diverse mix of media.”
This concept should be a no-brainer. Visual diversity creates a more exciting social media content stream. This means continuously offering a varied array of formats after your product launch, such as:
-memes or quotes,
Whatever format it may be, James emphasized to always make sure that every piece of content you share is in line with your core brand identity and enriches your audience somehow. That can include offering simple entertainment value! I wrote an article about anchoring digital content to your brand identity where you can find a general outline of these principles.
Build relationships and trust through networking
When it comes to digital marketing strategies, a lot of people leverage social networks. However, James pointed out that they’re not necessarily doing the networking right.
I know exactly what he’s talking about. I always tell my clients that their brand voice is meant to attract an audience who’s willing to communicate back. Beyond mechanically posting social media content, a brand must ENGAGE their audience.
My philosophy is ‘stop thinking of your audience as a faceless mass of people.’
When addressing a customer base, a brand needs to talk to them, listen to them, and agree with them. Therefore, as you share content, ask questions and start conversations! Your audience must see the company as a genuine brand with integrity to be open to interacting with it. Remember, nobody likes to be marketed to, especially not by a faceless company.
For an audience to feel comfortable enough to have a conversation, James mentioned a brand needs to be a little vulnerable. He continued, “Vulnerability stems from showing your true colors. This includes opening up about the things the company believes in and stands for.”
If you’re genuine and up-front, your audience will be able to figure out whether they like you and whether your views and general ‘vibe’ fits theirs. If it’s a match, then you can expect to have a conversation.
James revealed, “When you’re starting out, experiment and try new things. Don’t expect to resonate with EVERYONE. But don’t niche yourself down to a narrow audience so quickly that you miss out on potential opportunities, communities, and customers.”
Most importantly: adjust as you go!
When I asked James which would be the most important tip of our article, he was very candid: “A lot of people strive for perfection, thinking they can’t get on social until they have all their branding figured out and become master content creators.” I know I’ve been guilty of this myself! You have to realize that it’s a process. When it comes to sharing content, you’ll learn about your audience with every post. The feedback from your customer base will be really valuable. After your product launch, you can adjust your strategy based on your audience’s reactions to the different media you publish.
What I’ve learned through my own experience is that when you’re just starting out, you just don’t know what you don’t know yet! As long as you have your brand identity established and in focus, don’t be afraid to kickstart your digital content strategy and improve along the way. The beauty of starting out is that you can experiment. Through the process, you’ll figure out the best way to represent your brand and what your audience responds to.
As James put it for me, “Invite your audience to go on the journey with you. This is what ultimately builds trust and leads to true, lifelong fans and customers.”
He added, “Don’t worry so much about not seeing a direct return on investment or key performance indicators in your first three to six months. Instead, focus on how you can communicate the value you offer through strong branding.”
Build a strong launch strategy and profits will follow
A social media content strategy after a product launch requires a lot of trial and error. Even understanding your market segments can take time and lots of message-tweaking.
If you have a marketing budget, first invest in constructing your brand identity and understanding how to talk to your audience. Then you can start thinking about investing in ads.
I know it’s intimidating to start without expecting an immediate ROI on your product launch. However, it’s important to first generate awareness. As more people learn what your brand represents and the value it offers, they’ll be more open to interacting and listening to your value proposition. That’s how they’ll start coming down your marketing funnel and turning into $ales!
The concept of launching a brand and creating social media content for it can be overwhelming. If you have questions about how to creating engaging digital content, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!