When should you start social media engagement?

@Kevin | Strategy

In the last month I have been brought into three companies looking to start using social media, all three are either startups or established companies that are about to launch a new product. The common thread with all three is that they wanted to launch their social media campaigns the day their startup launched or the day when their new product was released.

The reasoning behind waiting until their respective launches was because they didn’t want to tip their hand to competitors (a pretty logical fear) and they wanted to launch “everything at once” (not a strategy I agree with). While each situation had a few additional layers to them there were a few main points I made with each company.

1) If you launch a website and a product to an audience of zero what do you really gain?

With the established company they had a mailing list that they could send out a release to and they planned on a typical PR push but they were missing out with connecting to their audience on social media. Imagine if they had a social media base when they launched this revolutionary product? Brand advocates sharing the news of the release would spread the word tenfold. For the startups they could have already created some sort of thought leadership or relationships within social media that would amplify their launch.

We are all very close to our work and always believe what we do and what we make is important. But without a mechanism to share what we do or make that passion stops at the doorway of your company.

2) You can display knowledge without tipping your hand.

 

While you are working on the everlasting gobstopper you can build your brand without revealing the details of the gobstopper. Within an industry you can talk about general topics, you can strategically plan your content to work for your launch. This can even work to your advantage by creating an editorial calendar ahead of time and building a case for the problem you are going to solve.

3) Social media isn’t a switch you can flip.

Research and planning before you engage is a must if you want your use of the various available tools to be effective. Also just because you start to use a tool doesn’t mean you are going to have an audience overnight, well unless you are Bill Gates. Just like the products they are developing or the businesses they are preparing to launch, time needs to be reserved for planning and development.

When doing engagement before you feel your company or product is ready you don’t have to use all the tools that you are planning to once you fully launch. I think that is where a lot of companies get lost is that they struggle to see how they can use specific tools before the actual launch of their product as opposed to breaking down the possible content they can produce pre launch and post launch.

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