One of the key things you can do to ensure a successful new product launch is to incorporate it into your social media strategy. Doing it right will help you reap fame and fortune (or something like that)...
Below you'll learn why Instagram is the platform you should leverage to promote and create buzz around your new release, along with 8 pointers to help you achieve success. 🐝
Let's do this.
@adidasoriginals, you tease!
We live in funny times, don't we? Where most people research things on social media before pulling the trigger on purchases. We have so much at our fingertips that our expectations have never been so high. We want to know everything at the very moment it crosses our brains, and if it's not available at the click of a button or the tap of a finger, then it's not good enough.
Well, that's fair. Because it's 2017 and there's no going back to anything slower than what we've become accustomed to.
In a sense, it makes things a lot more profitable and fruitful for businesses, as there are more consumer touch points than ever before. Marketers now have a direct access line to their target markets and are therefore able to reach them at lightning speed. Brands born in this era are intrinsically weaved into the fabric of social (here's looking at you, @forloveandlemons) and particularly excel at this practice.
The @forloveandlemons social team uses Insta to tease their customer about a new release.
Your Majesty the Instagram
In fact, anything business-related warrants an Instagram promotion nowadays, whether it's to drive sales or traffic, engage in influencer marketing, timely campaigns, to promote a TV spot, make your brick and mortar locations famous, decide who you put on your magazine cover, or throw a party. The list goes on.
But to assist in a product launch? It can mean the difference between uneventful and crazy successful. Just ask Glossier, another ultra social-savvy company that has made Instagram a core pillar of their marketing strategy.
But out of all the social channels that exist, why choose Instagram as the primary promotional platform for your product publicity? Because:
It's visual. Instagram is the perfect place to titillate fans with beautifully displayed, high-quality imagery. The whole platform revolves around sharing photographed moments, as well as visual and aesthetic stimulation.
It's still really great for organic reach. Sure, the implementation of the algorithm and the ongoing, never-ending series of updates has a lot of marketers growing weary of the app's evolution, but so far, so good. Regular folks and brands alike are both still granted equal organic reach opportunities. Maximize it with the use of hashtags and by engaging with your community!
It's in real time (sort of, almost). I'm adding the caveat because depending on the algorithm, the post frequency and a bunch of other factors, your followers might only see your content 24 hours after it's been posted. Which is still pretty darn real time. Using Instagram to spread the word about your new merch brings it instant visibility, as well as ensures that it gets in front of as many people as possible.
It allows for spontaneity. You should always have a well thought-through content plan to execute on, but at the end of the day, the beauty of social lies in its potential for spur-of-the-moment deliveries and proclamations. Having that flexibility is priceless, especially when reminiscing on the degree of finality that loomed over ad placements of yesteryear.
It's not ephemeral. Unlike Snapchat or Instagram Stories, the images you post to your Instagram gallery technically live forever, even though a photo's active lifespan might be temporary. However, your audience or its prospective members always have the opportunity to scroll down your profile page to check them out.
Besides, a feed's overall aesthetic is now just as important as each individual post - anyone who does Instagram marketing should know this. Potential followers are always inspecting the look of the grid before committing to a follow, making each piece of content an ongoing contributor to your visual narrative.
@adidasoriginals uses Instagram to tease their new collection by reavealing just enough to get people excited.
Bearing all of those Instagram tips in mind, here are 8 things you should implement when promoting product launches on Instagram.
1. Make a plan. Sure, it's mentioned above that the spontaneity element is part of the beauty of social, but that certainly does not undermine the importance of having a plan and concrete course of action. What date will you start promoting? How many posts per day? What is the message you want to relay? How much do you want to reveal? Questions, questions. Better have the answers.
2. Know your audience. This is something you should already be excruciatingly familiar with, but just for kicks, I'm repeating it. Get learnt on the type of content that resonates with your followers and then serve it to them on a pedestal prime for double-taps.
3. Hire influencers. This is obviously optional, but commissioning influential Instagrammers to publicize your endeavors is always a great way to create buzz. For example, timepiece megabrand Larsson & Jennings rose to stardom by sending heaps of products out to influencers for them to hype their watches. The results were substantial, to put it mildly.
A recent post by @harperandharley, which was repurposed by the brand.
4. Run a contest. What can truly propel a product launch on Instagram is the common denominator that unites every single human being on this planet: the uncontrollable desire for winning things and the yearning for free stuff. Lure your followers with the ploy of a costless acquisition and watch your engagement reach new peaks.
5. Strike a balance between secretive and informational. Creating content teasers before launching a product is all about being revealing while being sneaky. Yeah, not the most obvious thing to pull off. But listen here: think of your brand strategy, bear in mind your audience, and be creative.
For example, Glossier just pulled off yet another insanely successful product launch by posting teaser content leading up to D-day, where their feed looked like this:
The emotions were palpable when reading the comments on each individual post:
6. Create a unique hashtag. Sure we've been talking a whole lot about hashtags recently, but in this case, a unique Instagram tag can serve as a communication tool, relaying to your followers that there is something special going on. Can you hear that sound? That's buzz. It's also a great way to categorize all of your launch-related content to refer back to at a later time.
7. Produce high quality content. This is something you should be doing at all times, but as you're preparing for a product launch initiative, the content needs to be extra appealing to garner the most hype. High quality, brand-serving and aesthetically-pleasing - all things you should be aiming for.
8. Milk the multichannel opps. Don't be afraid to use call-to-actions (CTAs) to cross-promote your launch on various channels. This practice will keep your audience engaged while getting its members to experience your brand on different platforms. For example, when @nike announced the release of their HyperAdapt sneaker on Instagram, they asked their followers to go read about the details on their blog:
They then shared a video with the designers a few months later as the launch was happening:
If there ever was a magic formula for leveraging a product launch on Instagram, these 8 pointers are it. Now pair these learnings with your brand knowledge and your smart marketer's instinct and you'll be collecting $200 after passing Go.
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