Product Launches in the Age of Social Media


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As a former product manager who has launched literally dozens of products and new business lines, I had a checklist of all of the touch points needed for a successful launch. However, in the age of Web 2.0 and social media that checklist now has some new steps with more extended new timelines, and some old steps have either been eliminated or diminished in terms of the amount of effort put into them.

The rule in the past was to line up everyone within your organization to be trained and ready to go on Day 1 of a product launch. It still holds true that sales, customer support, and operations need to be fully trained and ready to go when a product is put on the shelves. For services and software that go through a Beta release stage, there is often a more extended launch period, not just one day when everyone symbolically cuts a ribbon. How to roll out a product internally has not changed that much.

What has changed is the external process. The communication to those outside the company is now a slow roll and there are multiple ways to get your story out. Gone are the days of a press release that creates a story in the old-style media. A direct mail push seldom happens anymore. And a big advertising campaign is only for people with excess cash. (In 2009, there aren’t many companies that fall into that category.)

This soft product rollout happens in the social media. Facebook Fan Pages, Twitter, YouTube and other social sites are where product managers need to communicate. They need to have lots of Friends and Followers to get their job done. They need to get them excited. They need them to pass the word along to their Friends and Follower. They need to be established in the right groups and forums so that they can tell their story to individuals that are highly predisposed to buy their product.

Product Launch Process 2.0 | Interrelationship of Web & Social Media Sites

So today’s product rollout is a series of tweets postings and uploads that build momentum and create a clear message. It is also a lot of time spent in answering questions, confronting concerns, and thanking those that show their enthusiasm.

And another critical difference – product managers can’t wait until the last minute to make all of these connections. They need to make sure that these social avenues of communication are developed many months before they are needed. Then they need to nurture their connections until the next new product or product feature is released.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Catherine Sherwood
Catherine Sherwood is a consultant specializing in social media, strategic marketing and common-sense search engine optimization. Her insights and expertise are backed by 20+ years of business experience at the senior executive level.


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