social media how toAre you looking for creative ideas to help launch your next product (or company)?

Want some actionable tips to employ social media in your next launch?

If so, keep reading as I explore nine ways we used social media to help launch a new project.

You’re sure to find unusual tactics that will help you with your next launch.

Why Social Media for a Launch?

Social media has changed everything when it comes to marketing.

Now, instead of spending a ton of money hoping to get in front of the “press,” you are the media.  Social media allows you to connect with people and encourage engagement with very little money and only a nominal effort.

Like Social Media Examiner, you may have a blog or podcast—or perhaps a video series.  This means you are a media outlet and can leverage that following every time you launch.

Even if you don’t produce content, chances are pretty good you’ve developed relationships across social channels. All of these outposts provide a great opportunity to take the launch process to an entirely new level.

Let me show you how. Below are nine ways we employed social media to help launch a new initiative called My Kids’ Adventures.

Tip #1: Create a Teaser Campaign on Facebook

When your idea is nothing more than a thought, start brainstorming ways you can employ social media to hint that something exciting is coming.

My teaser campaign was code-named “Project Torch” and I referred to it every now and again on Facebook. As you can see below, a lot of folks were intrigued and wondered what I had up my sleeve.

I posted the result of a brainstorming session on Facebook, with the words blurred on the clipboard

Starting months before launch, I regularly posted random images of torches, Indiana Jones and updates about my progress on “Project Torch.”

People were private messaging me, calling me and emailing me (family, friends and business peers) wondering what in the world this secret project was.

Tips when doing a teaser campaign:

  • Experiment using Facebook posts with and without images.
  • Share progress images (I showed fuzzed-out logos we were working on).
  • Reference your “code name” in all of your updates to create natural curiosity.
  • Be very careful not to reveal too much too early (even to your closest friends and employees!).

Tip #2: Create a Video That’s Personal

Social media provides an amazing opportunity to connect with people. Why not create a video that reveals the need you hope to address while simply hinting at the solution?

The video below was put together in less than two weeks. Part was filmed with my iPhone while I was on vacation and the other part was done with the help of a guy at my church on a Saturday afternoon.

This video played an instrumental role in setting the tone for our new project.

How I unveiled the video

The above video was first formally revealed at Social Media Marketing World, following my keynote presentation.

I pulled a Steve Jobs and said, “But wait, there’s one more thing…”  I showed the video and spoke for about 5 minutes and that was it.

This is me smiling as the audience applauds the video.

The response was crazy. Nearly 100 people came up to me and said they loved it and wanted to help.

The key take-home message here is this: Reveal your video to a live crowd if possible for maximum effect.

Tips on creating a good teaser video:

  • Start with a script and record yourself talking.
  • It’s okay to record in segments and sew the audio together.
  • Find photos that support your video (I asked my dad to mail old photos of me as a kid).
  • Create a bunch of working video clips that support your script.
  • Put the entire movie together. You can do this yourself using a tool like iMovie or ask a friend who is more experienced to help bring everything together.
  • Consider having an original music score done after you record the audio (as I did here).

Tip #3: Start a Founders List

People love to belong to special groups. Consider creating a unique email interest list for people who want to learn more about your launch.

I created a special page I could direct people to. On that page was the video and a simple option for folks to sign up for a special list where they’d get insider updates.

This was how people signed up for the Founders List.

The goal here is to build up a list of people with whom the video resonated. The hope is that you can build a little army that will later help you get the word out when you launch.

Tip #4: Create Weekly “Behind the Scenes” Videos

Once you have a Founders List, it’s important to provide something of value to them. With nothing more than a smartphone, you can create personalized “behind the scenes” videos that get people excited about your launch.

This video was created with my iPhone and directly uploaded to YouTube.

Each week I created short videos that showed people what we were doing behind the scenes to prepare for our launch. Sometimes the videos included design mockups or some of the articles we were working on.

Each week I emailed the folks on the Founders List.

Here's an example of the very simple email I sent, with a thumbnail of the video I created.

Tips on creating good “behind the scenes” videos:

  • Use a smartphone, but hold it in landscape mode so your video fills the entire frame.
  • Look directly into the camera and get someone to hold your phone for you if possible.
  • You can film yourself if you have a phone with two cameras (like the iPhone).
  • Consider showing your screen and what you are working on (outlines, schedules, images and so on).
  • Keep it short and sweet.

Tip #5: Make the Launch Educational

If you already have some kind of platform (like a blog or podcast), consider creating useful tips about how you are launching. Said another way, teach your audience how to launch while using your launch as the case example.

Here’s how I did it.

In my Social Media Marketing podcast I added a short segment at the beginning of the show on how to launch.

I ran this segment for five weeks. Each segment lasted from 5 to 10 minutes and focused on a different part of the launch process with take-home lessons.

Here is a summary of what I discussed in one of my podcasts.

I know our audience is largely comprised of marketers, not all of whom are parents, but I still wanted this content to be very useful to all of them. By doing this, I am accomplishing two objectives. First I am delivering value to everyone with the educational content. Second, some of the audience is naturally going to want to discover more about our My Kids’ Adventures project.

Tips on creating educational content about your launch:

  • Make sure the content truly provides value.
  • Under-emphasize the launch and over-emphasize the tips and techniques.
  • Use your launch as the case example when possible.

Tip #6: Use “Coming Soon” Messages Across Your Best Channels

Close to launch is the right time to let your audience know that something is coming soon.

There are many ways to do this effectively. One of the best ways is to leverage some of the existing assets you have already created, such as your Founders List page and your video.

I uploaded the full video I created in Tip #2 directly to our Facebook Page.

Facebook displays videos better when you upload them directly into Facebook as shown above.

I also shared the video on my personal profile and paid the $6.99 to promote it to all of my friends. Depending on your Facebook Page fan base size it may make sense to promote the post to your full fan base. In our case this would have cost thousands of dollars and I decided not to do that.

We also made sure to mention the new site was coming in our newsletter.

I also leveraged our newsletter to let folks know about the upcoming launch.

In both the Facebook update and the newsletter blurb, I made sure to link to a special page with the video and the option to get on the Founders List.

The benefits of doing this:

  • Many of our friends reached out and said “How can I help?”
  • We landed numerous podcast interviews that we were able to schedule to correspond with our launch.
  • We grew our Founders List, which allowed us to get more folks to help spread the word during the launch.

Tip #7: Have Someone Interview You on Your Platform

Would you rather toot your own horn or have someone else do it for you?

When you have a platform of any kind, the concept of a guest blogger or guest host is not uncommon. But how about you becoming the guest on your own show?

In my case, I am the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. I have built a loyal following by interviewing experts. I decided to turn the tables and let a friend interview me—on my own show!

I selected Cliff Ravenscraft from the Podcast Answer Man show to be the guest host and I became the guest.

We spoke about the process of doing a launch and slightly touched on the My Kids’ Adventure project. Again the focus was more on providing value and less on promoting the launch.

I chose Cliff because he has a great on-air personality, is a good friend and is also a dad, so he could relate to the project.

Tips for appearing as a guest on your own show:

  • Do the heavy lifting for the guest host, including providing a few questions he or she can ask you.
  • Let the guest host run the show (step back and enjoy the spotlight).
  • Focus on providing a ton of value.
  • Pick a host who can relate to your launch and perhaps resonate with the ideal target market.

Tip #8: Integrate Your Launch Into Your Platforms

Don’t forget to mention your new product or company across your various platforms.

We leveraged some prime real estate on Social Media Examiner to get the word out.

Here are some possible places you may want to mention your new launch:

  • In a banner ad on your blog
  • In your Twitter bio and background image
  • In your podcast
  • On your Facebook page cover image
  • On your Google+ page
  • On your LinkedIn company page
  • On your “About us” page

Tip #9: Encourage People to Help Spread the Word

A key advantage to all the tips listed above is that you can build a loyal following of people who are very interested in your launch. When the time is right, why not ask the people on your list to help spread the word?

The easiest way to do this is to create a simple clickable tweet like this one (try it out by clicking here).

ClicktoTweet is a great service for making this easy.

This what the tweet looks like when someone clicks on the link.

Here's a simple tweet I created.

An easy way to ask for the share is to include it in your email communications.

Tips on creating shareable tweets:

  • Reference your Twitter ID and a hashtag so you can easily track the number of people who participate.
  • Respond to everyone who shares that tweet (a thank-you goes a long way!).
  • Write the tweet the way someone else would likely write it (informal language).

Consider creating a page with detailed social sharing instructions.

On this page you could include videos, images, tweets and other forms of content that help people share.  Click here to see an example of the one we used for My Kids’ Adventures.

We created a very detailed page to help folks share our launch.

Well, there you have it. Nine unique ways to launch your next product or service with social media.

Click here to learn more about My Kids’ Adventures.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comment box below. I’d love to hear from you.

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  • Great piece Michael and I’ve really enjoyed watching the creation of this much needed product over the last several weeks. The videos personal touch was fantastic. I really enjoyed watching even the detailed concerns shared, down to your thoughts on the original design of the “characters” was great. This was absolutely fantastic.

    Love the first few post you started with. Raising Entrepreneurs ~ Mike

  • Thanks Mike and glad you found value in it

  • Mike Peterson

    Very interesting indeed. I’ve read posts from time-to-time. It looks like I might have to review some of those in the recent past relating to this subject. What a great blueprint, thanks for sharing.

  • Love the word-of-mouth creation technique. I also appreciate you sharing that resource “clicktotweet” seems very easy to use and I can really see incorporating this into my email communication. Thanks

  • Glad you found it useful Mike 🙂

  • Thanks Patrick for your feedback. I like that little tool and find it very useful.

  • Great suggestions. I work in the luxury real estate advertising sector for preconstruction developments and we employ many of the same tactics for our social channels. It’s really perfect for social, that insider aspect is critical when you don’t have an actual product to show off yet.

  • Kathy Perry

    Great article Michael – I’ve been following your work for some time now and loved this. Congrats on your new Kids Adventure program, keep up the great work that you do!

  • Thanks Kathy! Appreciate your kind words

  • Thanks Jorden and fully agree

  • Mike this is such an amazing resource – thank you for sharing! I especially like #2: personal videos are so key and can make such a huge difference.

  • Love this article Michael. The personal video is awesome because it highlights your transparency. I love the behind the scenes videos as well because they build anticipation. I love this process and the fact that you shared it with us.

  • Yeah that ClickToTweet looks very enticing Patrick haha.

  • Great content Michael and the idea to do “behind the scene” videos is a great way to educate and connect with your founder’s list and visitors.

  • Arif Rizwy

    Very interesting indeed. I’ve read the entire post and was reminded of my Things to Do for one of my Digital Marketing initiatives.i started DM was managing digital marketing for my company before taking over Business functions.

  • Vivek G Maudgalya

    Nice tips. Can I implement this for B2B products ?
    Can anyone add few pointers to launch a B2B products ?

  • Rashmi

    A very good article indeed! Am definitely going to reference this in future….thanking you for sharing your thoughts!

  • Thanks for the nice informative article. This will help us a lot and guide & teach us to launch products online effectively and gain greater result.its very much important to engage audience properly and effectively through social media and gain extra advantage. So, marketers must know the exact time and schedule and appropriate promotional strategy and launch their products.

  • Alison Campbell

    Hi Michael,
    Comment from across the pond! Another valuable and informative post (as ever!). I just wonder if it is worth mentioning the difference between creating hype and interest in an up-coming launch. I guess the difference is in the quality and value in the actual thing that is being launched. I’ve seen some campaigns that have been really effectively at creating a great deal of interest and then when the thing is launched there is almost an audible sigh of disappointment because the ‘thing’ itself is not that exciting. I think it’s important to stress that the build up has to match the value of what’s being launched. I’d be interested in reading other people’s views on this……… I just too cynical or do I have a point?

  • Thanks Jon – Everyone loves the behind-the-scenes stuff

  • Thanks Praverb, glad you found it valuable

  • Thanks Media Junky

  • Glad you found it useful Arif

  • Hey Vivek, why not? Of course you can. You would use the exact same process because you are communicating with people (whether the topic is work or play).

  • Thanks Rashmi

  • glad it will help you

  • Hey Alison,

    Oh for sure you better have a darn good product or service or company coming if you are doing a launch like this. Otherwise it would be a huge let down.

    The good news about this process is you can solicit feedback and change your plans as you go to make sure you have something great. In fact we did that here.

  • Of course, that is why I signed up to the mailing list haha. Do you have any blog posts that detail what you do after you post a new blog?

  • I think Product launch through Social Media Platforms will be fun not just for the founder but for the consumers as well. This will definitely create curiosity among the
    users to know more about the product.

    An entrepreneur can actually use these steps & get good amount of word mouth generated for his/her product. Posts on Social Media examiner have always been insightful & useful!

  • Thank You! once again.

  • Thanks Dave and glad you found it helpful!

  • Bev

    This was an INCREDIBLE post! I’ve read so many “Social media tips” but this was actually truly helpful and gave me so many great ideas. Good job- good luck with the launch!

  • Michael Wilson

    I think this has been one of the best ways to launch a new product or service that I have seen in quite some time! This just proves that you should never underestimate the power of social media. Things can spread like wildfire, and once you share a content somewhere, it can get shared somewhere else like on someone else’s feed. I think that creating hype and excitement is something that should always be done because you want your fan base to look forward to something, and in this case, it worked. I think that it’s critical to make sure that you have some engaging content to hype up, and even though it might add some extra pressure on you, I bet the payoff will be better than you expected.

  • Vivek G Maudgalya

    Right.. Thanks Michael.

  • Really generous of you to share this story and tips Mike. Congratulations on the launch.

  • Bev

    Also, is there a way to do something like click to tweet, but with Facebook?

  • Thanks Bev! Really appreciate it. And to your question about how to do a click to tweet type thing on Facebook, yes it can be done. See how we did it here:

  • Thanks Michael. I hope it makes a difference and indeed think it will

  • Thanks Lee!

  • Karen Godfrey

    Tip #10 – Write an article all about how to launch a new product featuring your new product!! 😉

  • Tony Au

    thanks for sharing the plan, it lists out more than posting on different channels, but how to create extra content for the launch of new products. Great works!
    Also, love to know the clicktotweek website, it is awesome!

    anyone knows how to do it for linkedin or facebook?
    I am not good at those javascript or html settings.

  • Carolyn Cross Ward

    Thanks for all of your great advice! I’d love to hear more that are specifically tailored to promoting a middle grade novel to kids ages 9-15. If you have any past articles on this topic, a link would be great.

    Thanks again!

  • Thanks Karen, as you can see I did that here 🙂

  • Thanks Tony – Google LinkedIn Share URL and Facebook Share URL

  • Hey Carolyn – All of these techniques can be tweaked to any audience. You won’t find much with that narrow of a search (try looking for ideas in “out of the box” places)

  • Mike, absolutely great content. #7 is brilliant. Loved the episode with you and Cliff.

  • Thanks Steve, glad you enjoyed the interview

  • Barb Smith

    ☆ Awesomely creative ideas here! Yet another great post, thanks Michael~

  • Sarah Jocson

    We are planning to launch a webinar soon and I am looking for the greatest topic about small business. I think these points you have written here has given some ideas on what more to add before launching a webinar.

  • Stanley

    That video you made really draws me in eventhough I’m not a father or in need of kid’s adventures. Good work on it! and thanks for the tips. I picked up quite a few of them here.

  • GeorgeSpelvin

    tip 10- post an article on your blog about the techniques you used to promote your product… 😉

  • Faruk

    I’m so happy that I found this. I knew I should do this but wasn’t sure how to. I was playing the guessing game. Now that I have directions I know how to get there.

    Thanks Michael

  • Josh

    Thanks…I needed this! God bless you; you just gave me a million dollar idea that I am going to use to launch my product!

  • Thanks for the wonderful post once again Michael!! Good to see the post
    update from your end . Amazing tips on social media. Really appreciate
    your efforts!! Insightful Post.

  • Maclenella

    How wonderfully refreshing to find something that brings us back to the grass roots of family life. It is scary the way, seemingly overnight, we adults have robbed our children of the blessing of childhood and turned them into miniature adults without roots to sustain healthy growth. Is this a model that you would be happy for others to follow in their own cultures? This is God inspired for the sake of our children. Thank you.

  • Erik Clevering

    An amazing article, tank your for sharing!

  • Astrid

    Great article! Thank you 🙂

  • michael bian

    Good article. Thanks for sharing it.

  • The video was very inspirational about launching “project tourch”, We are the Indiana Jones generation!

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  • Joe Rutland

    I just finished reading this, Michael, and found it quite informative. I’m in the “hatching” stage of a digital marketing company and really am learning a LOT. I have a strong content creation background and have learned lots about SEO last year, too. Thanks so much.

  • Great Tips for use in Social Web. I will relaunch my Ebook soon. Lets GO!

  • Stuart

    This is Awesome!! I’ll defo be taking some of your knowledge on board for future projects! Great stuff!!

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  • GP

    Thank you

  • I’m late to this piece, but found it very informational nonetheless. It actually supports my current launching plan, so thank you for sharing! Surely My Kids Adventures is a hit, but I still wanted to say congratulations and that I love the verse you chose for the project.