I recently got some lovely feedback on Twitter from a reader of this blog, so I asked him what else he’d like to see me write about. He gave me a great idea — an example of crowdsourcing content at its finest.
This follower mentioned his work in announcing and publicizing independent video games, and the ongoing challenge of building an audience and engagement from the ground up.
You might not work in the gaming industry, but you probably work for a brand that launches a new product line or sub-brand every now and then. So, let’s start at the beginning. It’s a very good place to start. And let’s start, as always, with the data.
Find and connect with influencers in your niche or industry.
Find your influencers on social media. They’re the ones who can offer your new campaign reach, resonance, and relevance, taking it from a drop in the industry bucket to a total deluge.
Your influencers tend to stand at the middle of the industry or audience you’re trying to reach – they get eyes on your product and/or content that wouldn’t be accessible to you otherwise.
First step: Define your market.
The key categories to consider are industry, location, social networks your desired audience is active on, and keywords or topics.
Second step: Identify the influencers within your defined market. Take into consideration Klout score, reach, internal referrals, lists, and competitive analysis when you’re going through this process.
Below you’ll find a list of the top influencers and advocates mentioning @Burberry over a one-week period.
Third step: Reach out.
Scan your LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networks for relatively strong connections to your industry influencers. This will make them more likely to work with you. For example, “Hi Dave! We met at Ashley’s BBQ. I love the work you’re doing at Startup Inc., and was wondering…” works a lot better than “Hi Dave! I found you on LinkedIn and admire your work in analytics at Startup Inc. I was wondering…”
Don’t just send out a message willy-nilly. Plan what you’re going to say carefully. Remember that using influencer marketing might be nontraditional, but it’s still a professional relationship.
Be engaging. Sell yourself. Don’t expect that an influencer will fall to his or her knees to work with you.
Even if you’re reaching out to many influencers at the same time, make sure your message seems personal. Show influencers why working with you would be valuable to them.
Fourth step: Make a solid ask.
I break this out as its own step because it’s such an important one. Here’s what you need to remember:
- Be specific and clear
- Have goals
- Create an experience, not a transaction
- Make it mutually beneficial
Fifth step: Always, always measure your success.
To make sure your influencer marketing efforts are on the right track, get all Type A and track your progress at every turn. It’s the only way to get a clear picture of what’s working. Some influencers will be successful at launching your new product or campaign into the stratosphere. Some will be duds.
Especially on a new product launch with a tight turnaround, you need to know ASAP if your chosen influencers are truly hitting your desired audience, driving downloads and engagement — or if you need to change course.
Blog about it.
- Don’t be afraid to rep the same (good and rich) blog content on your Twitter feed and Facebook page multiple times. Make sure it’s quality – if people associate your new launch with spam, they’re not going to be attracted to your product, no matter how good it is.
- Experiment with cadence. You don’t want to annoy people into never wanting to hear about your product again, but you do want to be top-of-mind.
- Consider guest blogging and participating in Q&A’s on external blogs. For instance, if you’re putting out a new video game, have one of the designers write a guest post for an industry-beloved blog. This widens the net of awareness about your campaign.
- Measure it. Getting data on how well a blog post is doing on an external blog or on your own is a fantastic way to mold future blog content, and gauge the popularity of different topics around your product. For instance, you could run a “7 Days of Designers” campaign, where you have a different in-house designer sound off on a different topic of his or her choosing on each day. Then track it the success of each blog post, figure out why the successful posts are getting so much love, and structure future content accordingly.
Get ’em on your list.
Your email marketing list, that is. Build a strong social audience by getting folks to opt-in with incentives. This can mean:
- Running contests that require email address input to enter
- Providing a discount that requires email address input
- Offering gated content that requires email address input
The email input might be taking place on your site, but you should be promoting this heavily on social media through your handle — then tracking how your social promotion of these incentives is faring by seeing how much traffic is being driven from specific Tweets to specific landing pages, for instance.
Aggressively follow people.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Take a good hard look at the fans and followers of similar products and brands. Where do their interests overlap with your new product? Come up with your own list using this one, and follow/request away. At the very least, you’re raising awareness for your product — even if they don’t follow back.
One way to figure out if you’re going after the correct audience is to run a report like this Lululemon Twitter Audience Analysis on one of your previous products or on a competitive product, and check out the top keywords mentioned in those audiences’ profiles.
This information will tell you if the interests between those audiences and your desired audience are truly aligned.
Directly incorporate a social media connection into your product.
Whether you’re introducing a new cereal or mobile game to market, make sure you’ve got a prominently featured campaign hashtag and product handle on or within the product itself.
Give your customers every way possible to interact with your brand and spread the word on your latest and greatest.
Use the old to advocate for the new.
Rep your new product by leveraging your already-existing, successful brands.
Set a steady and aggressive cadence for Tweets and posts about your new brand on the social profiles of your established brands — especially during the first week of release.
However, it’s important to avoid alienating followers of your established brand by overselling your new product and oversaturating the established brand’s feed with updates. This will lead to a high follower attrition rate on the established brand’s social profile — obviously not what you want.
Make sure this isn’t happening by keeping a daily tally of your follower count.
Know your competition.
You should be looking at your competitive data as often as possible, especially to figure out what’s a reasonable build to expect for your social following and engagement in the first stages of release.
You have three options here — you can measure the progress of a hashtag.
You can measure the progress of a handle or account.
And, if a similar competitive product is releasing at the same time as yours, you can measure your campaign and that campaign side by side.
How do you use social data to launch new products?
What’s important to you? What do you use to measure your progress, social-wise? Let me know in the comments below, or get at me at @LLHitz!