Qchat: How to run a successful product launch on social media
In our second Twitter chat of the month, we invited SaaS consultant and community growth specialist Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré to give us a masterclass in product launches. Specifically, we wanted to focus on how to use social media as a tool for success.
Here are the highlights from our #Qchat.
Q1 How should you use social media in your product launch?
Our Qchatters all pointed out that social media is key for building awareness around your new product:
“I don’t know if I’m being too obvious here… but awareness! Let your followers know that you have a product coming out.” — Ruben Richardson
“I think social media is a great way to build awareness for a product, you can tease information and build anticipation.” — Georgia Burgoyne
“If it is a launch the part of the funnel is probably awareness. Paid social is key for targeting, especially if it is not a mass market launch. Influencers may also be effective if they are strategically used.” — Brandi Rand
It’s really important to leverage your network:
“A community is one of the most important ways to build and launch a new idea. People are power!” — Daniel Kempe
“You want to reach out to your network and let them know way in advance to see how they can help support you.” — Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré
“Find influencers & engage. Build anticipation with a countdown. Include any reputable names you can for social proof — customers, partners, as seen on, etc. What Nichole did with the Hotjar podcast launch was a great example.” — Nicki Laycoax
Nichole also shared some tips on what not to do:
“Don’t spam people. Mass-tweeting/emailing people unsolicited, asking for feedback or upvotes, even if they’ve upvoted similar products in the past isn’t effective. If your timeline is filled with dozens of identical messages, you’re spamming. Be authentic.
“If you’re launching on Product Hunt, do not ask for upvotes anywhere. Feel free to ask for feedback, but asking for upvotes is a big no-no. People should upvote the product because they like it, not because they’re peer pressured into doing so.
“If you’re launching on Product Hunt, link directly to your product page. Linking to “http://producthunt.com ” only makes it harder for people to find you and doesn’t have any effect on the algorithm.
“Tools like Thunderclap that shout about your launch are notoriously ineffective — it comes across as spammy, and the super secret algorithm for Product Hunt doesn’t like spammy.”
Q2 What are some creative ways to run a teaser campaign on social media?
Visual teasers can be a really effective way to build anticipation in the pre-launch phase, but to really pique your audience’s interest, you need to tell a story.
“Be visual. So many businesses fail to take full advantage of posting images. You’ll gain far more interest if you use your image to illustrate a how-to post or to tell a story. Buffer’s team is amazing at this!
“Pique curiosity. Use social media to build up to the release of your product. But don’t just Tweet teasers that something is coming. Use this as an exercise in benefits-driven copy.
“Use storytelling. If you want to motivate people to leave social media to visit your landing page, then you’ll have to lure them there with a compelling story.” — Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré
Sam Reader asked how to nail that compelling story:
“In your experience, what % weighting would you give to a brand new product launch regarding how much to focus on A) storytelling & why you exist and B) the feature-set you’ve developed?”
Our Qchatters answered…
“Benefits > features. This doesn’t mean don’t ever discuss features, but people don’t care about your product, they care about their desired outcomes they’ll reach with it.” — Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré
“I think the story of why and how you are building it is really exciting! Share in videos, blogs and on social to get people excited and talking about it.”— Daniel Kempe
“[The] story about why you built the product should create empathy and trust — but most importantly differentiating your product by talking about USPs is critical.” — Jim Berkowitz
“Behind the scenes graphics and video. Where did you start. How did you get here? Retakes of video — funny bloopers like at the end of a movie in credits.” — Nicki Laycoax
Once you’ve got people’s attention, make sure to build an email list. You can use this to ask for feedback and support, meaning not only can you create a better product, but you can also bank on people to spread the word when you launch.
“[Ask] for feedback in return for free access in the future. Pre-launch on BetaList and Ship by Product Hunt, just get as many people involved early in as possible. Build brand advocates before you’ve even launched, and you’ll go far!” — Daniel Kempe
“Ask for beta testers, and get early detailed feedback from users.
Also, getting customers involved early can mean that they’re more likely to adopt the new product and become advocates.” — Georgia Burgoyne
Q3 How can competitions and giveaways support your product launch?
Nichole and the rest of our Qchatters all agreed that special offers or competions can be a fantastic way to drive signups for your new product.
“I’ve seen success with using a ProductHunt + AppSumo combo launch. One of my clients got 4k sign ups from AppSumo. Join the ‘Official AppSumo Fans Group’ on Facebook and talk to Sampath for help with this.” — Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré
“We’re big fans of AppSumo and the team there are amazing. For early stage startups too looking to get some easy cash flow to help them grow this can be a phenomenal option.” — Matthew Spurr
“Competitions and giveaways are great for engagement and awareness. They create a buzz pre-launch and using the goal of winning said product is the appeal for followers. There are many ways to + that up ie: @ a friend, follow us & other brand, UGC campaigns, etc.” — Brandi Rand
However, everyone stressed that you have to carefully consider how much you are willing to give away for free. After all, it would be nice to get paid for all your hard work 😉
“Beware you’re not giving away too much to people who’d pay full whack!” — Matthew Spurr
“Be reasonable in the giveaway. Everyone loves the free product. But design your give strategy carefully — Giveaway is successful only when marketed well in time.” — Pankaj Sharma
“I don’t think that you should give a product away for free, maybe have a compeition within the new product (for example if users sign up to a plan they will be entered in to a draw to win a prize).” — Georgia Burgoyne
Q4 When should you start building hype around your product?
The day before our Qchat, we polled our Twitter followers asking them what they thought was the ideal timeframe for a pre-launch. These were the final results:
Likewise, the general consensus among our Qchatters was to start planning and promoting your launch as soon as you can.
“As early as possible! Spend a significant amount of time focused on pre-launch or a soft launch for it to have an impact on the actual launch. IMO pre-launch is even more important than launch.
“Also, what is your product? A newsletter, a book, a podcast, an app? For my book (http://www.saasgrowthplaybook.com/ ) I’m spending more than a year focusing on pre-launch initiatives while I write it. For ex., I’m writing high-level guest blogs with links to it.
“There’s *so* much you can do during pre-launch to really build up your launch day. People who are truly excited about what your product has to offer won’t get bored during that time, in fact they might assist you with getting the word out.” — Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré
Particularly in the startup world, there is really no time like the present once an idea has begun to form.
“I like the idea of starting building hype a week or so after you’ve 100% decided to go ahead with a new product — then your users are able to follow along with the developments, they’ll feel more involved and in the know.” — Georgia Burgoyne
“As early as you can. If you aren’t quite ready to accept new customers, you can always create a lead gen form to collect early interest. The earlier you start, the more awareness you’ll build, and the more likely people will be to buy when you are ready.” — Nicki Laycoax
“A waitlist is a great way to start figuring out who is interested in your product so you can refine your understanding of your ideal customer and have conversations with them for Customer Development and Customer Success initiatives.” — Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré
Q5 Are some social media channels better than others for product launches?
Whenever your trying to work out where to focus your social media marketing efforts, the answer is always the same: it depends where your audience hangs out.
“It depends where your target audience is located. It’s all about *them*. Share the news about your product launch on these channels. For ex: For SaaS, post in Facebook groups such as ‘SaaS Startup Hacks’ and ‘Startup Product Launches’.” — Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré (Nichole recently did a webinar on the best growth channels for acquiring SaaS customers, which you can watch here)
“It depends on where your network is most active. That could be slack channels, FB groups, twitter feeds, wherever.” — Daniel Kempe
“Any form of live is great for product reveals. We leverage FB and Twitter live for an auto reveal at the New York Auto Show last month. It is important to study the features, attributes and best practices of platforms to decide what to leverage.” — Brandi Rand
Having said this, our Qchatters see huge potential in Instagram Stories right now, especially for storytelling.
“I do like the fluidity of Twitter for quick updates and interactions. But I also think that Insta stories can be a great way to visually build a story around a launch day!” — Matthew Spurr
“I’m super interested in trying Insta stories because I don’t think it’s a saturated channel just yet for product launches, and if your product is visual — something like HIPSTAMATIC, it would be a great channel to test.” — Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré
“I think Instagram stories would be good for behind-the-scenes stuff, showing the team working away.” — Georgia Burgoyne
Q6 What kind of content should you share in the run-up to your launch?
Qchat regular Marijana Kay advises mapping out a strategic campaign made up of several pieces of content ahead of your launch.
“I’ve seen content series, like blog post series, video series etc. work really well, or a mix of mediums in a series! (PS How many times can I type ‘series’ in a single tweet? The answer is apparently 5.)”
As part of this campaign, you have lots of different content options:
“Be sure to have an explainer video (or some kind of video). Introduce your product on Medium. Write educational content on your blog. Use storytelling on social media and within a drip campaign during pre-launch and launch.
“If you have the resources, go ahead and create evergreen content (like an e-book) and share it on Quuu, Zest, GrowthHackers, etc. with that CTA in it, as long as it’s amazing content that isn’t *just* about the product.
“To add to it, you can also share e-books on Product Hunt as long as they’re solid.” — Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré
Q7 Which brands have you seen run a great product launch recently?
Nichole loved how Hotjar handled the launch for their “The Humans Strike Back” podcast:
“They always put an *incredible* amount of effort into pre-launch and they involve their entire network in it.”
So to recap:
- Use social media to build awareness around your product launch
- If you’re launching on Product Hunt, never spam people or ask for upvotes
- Use storytelling to pique curiosity & build anticipation
- Ask for beta testers early on & turn them into brand advocates
- Run competitions and special offers, but don’t give away too much for free
- Start planning and promoting your product launch as early as possible
- Take advantage of Instagram Stories for developing a story around your launch
- Create a content series around your launch (e.g. explainer videos, introduction posts on Medium, educational content on your blog, eBooks)