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Why Product Launch Plans Need to Include Social Networking

by Jennifer Beever on May 3, 2011

Product LaunchI recently provided some marketing consulting and services for a technology start-up about to launch a new product. They contacted me with little time to spare before their intended product launch at an industry event. My first question was“How well are you connected to thought leaders in your industry?”

Their answer?“We haven’t done much – we’ve been very busy with product development.”

The old approach to product development and launch – develop the product and then work on the launch in a linear fashion – isn’t effective in today’s fast-paced technology world. Today it’s important to leverage social media by connecting and engaging with the right people far in advance of your product launch. It takes time to establish a following, a rapport with your connections, and credibility on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and even LinkedIn.

Once you have relationships with thought leaders in your space, you’ve built social equity. With consistent messaging  and value-add content you’ve become credible and trustworthy. You tweet relevant article links, you comment on blogs, you provide your opinion on happenings in the industry. As you get closer to your launch date, you hint to your contacts that something special is about to happen. You build suspense and get the right people’s attention from your social media “platform” before you launch. This makes  it much easier to get bloggers to review your product, editors to feature it in their publications, and others to comment about it and share your new product content with their colleagues and friends.

So, for both start-ups and established companies, when that new product idea is just a glimmer in your eye or a vague concept in your head, don’t forget to plan ahead and invest in time to build relationships in the industries appropriate for your new product, and leverage social media to do so. It’ll make your launch that much more effective and help you reduce time-to-revenue for your business.

Photo from Flickr, NoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

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