When it comes to the launch of new products, an increasing number of brands and PR companies are now looking to social media to compliment their traditional marketing and PR activities. In doing so, brands are seeing success in extending and enhancing their campaigns in a way that builds upon existing fan acquisition and engagement on networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, enabling them to interact with customers and introduce product and campaign concepts in a way previously unavailable. Below are four reasons as to why more and more brands are now integrating social media as a key part of their marketing and PR strategies for new product launches. 

1. Create early ‘buzz’ around the product – Creating early consumer ‘buzz’ around a new product is key to ensuring a product launch has a good platform from which to develop. With a notable number of Facebook and Twitter fans also being early adopters of new products, interacting with fans through social media is a fantastic way to increase and develop word-of-mouth. Certainly, if companies are able to get people talking about a new product and the launch campaign across their own social media profiles via “likes” and shared posts, this will ultimately result in an increase in consumer awareness. As more and more conversations start to take place around a new product, social media networks such as Facebook become the perfect place for brands to push things even further by posting teasers, promo videos and even apps to create and develop anticipation and consumer hype for what is to come.

2. Utilise customer and fan feedback – The interactive nature of social media presents companies with the perfect opportunity to measure effectiveness, tweak, react and adapt their product launch strategy in line with fan and customer feedback gained through social media engagement. With the launch of new products, it is always important for brands to listen to what customers and fans are feeding back to them as much as possible, as this provides companies with an insight into the consumer perception of a campaign or product enabling them to adjust their approach accordingly. Additionally, social media also presents brands with an opportunity to test new ideas such as the use of QR codes or location-based services, inviting companies to be innovative in their approach and take on board feedback on new ideas in order to develop and focus upon the ideas that work.

3. Enhance and extend traditional marketing and PR activities – Announcing the launch of its latest smart phone via a fantastic Super Bowl ad, Sony Ericsson tied its Xperia PLAY commercial in with a range of announcements, competitions and videos posted to the Sony Ericsson Facebook page to engage fans even further. Through a series of intriguing mystery posts and competitions, Sony Ericsson was able to utilise its social media channels to raise awareness and anticipation for the Super Bowl ad spot as well as increase engagement and fan conversations. A perfect example of taking a well thought-out traditional marketing and PR campaign platform such as a Super Bowl commercial, and extending the conversation, activity, awareness, and overall consumer buzz around the launch of the product via various social media channels. Additionally, through social media, brands can also tie in their marketing and PR strategies with mobile marketing, SMS and exclusive content accessible on smart phones - all of which help to maximise the launch of a new product as well as extend the brand experience.

4. Competitions and rewards – Early adopters and fans of a brand will always be more likely to talk about a new product or promotional campaign to their own friends and followers, increasing both awareness and word-of-mouth. In light of this, companies are presented with a great opportunity through social media to reward those fans and followers that are sharing, liking, posting, re-tweeting and generally talking about their new products. By aligning new product launches with Facebook and Twitter competitions, brands can both increase fan acquisition and engagement, as well as present customers with special offers, exclusive discounts, additional content, and even free products. 

With an increasing number of brands now creating innovative, fresh and unique social media campaigns alongside their new product launches, it is important that the focus remains on ‘utilising’ social media as part of a wider strategy, rather than ‘relying’ on social media to launch the product. Social media certainly presents companies with a fantastic opportunity to extend and compliment the impact of their more traditional marketing and online PR activities. Interestingly, the most success is often seen by those brands that are able to effectively integrate their social media, marketing and PR efforts into a focused, innovative and overarching narrative - creating engagement, interaction and consumer ‘buzz’ across multiple platforms as a result.