Using Social Media as Part of a Product Launch

Conventional wisdom about social media marketing includes a few truisms, among them:

  1. Social media marketing is a slow, steady burn.
  2. It’s hard to turn social media marketing all the way up, like you can with a big ad buy or a big PR push.
  3. Social media marketing isn’t about selling, it’s about talking about the topic and hoping sales will gravitate to you.

jafSomething Joseph Jaffe has been doing all day Sunday turns that conventional wisdom on its ear. Joseph has a new book, called Join the Conversation, a fact I learned because I follow him on Twitter. I’ve not read it yet, but it’s in the same area as the book I’m finishing up.

So he has a new book. He wants to sell them. He wants to sell a lot, quickly. So he thinks, I guess, “I’m pretty well versed on this social networking/social media stuff. What if I unleash all of it at once? Maybe I can sell a bunch of books all at once and shoot up the best seller charts at” Ok, gotta give him props. That’s brilliant. Here’s what he’s done that you can learn from:

  1. Set up a Facebook event, even though it’s not a traditional “event”
  2. Do some video blogging to explain what you’re doing and, heck, plug your customer while you’re at it.
  3. Be available using audio chat using Skype
  4. Do blogging and podcasting about it.
  5. Provide a feedback loop (in his case, writing on the Facebook event wall).
    According to his Twitter feed, it’s working well. He’s currently at #26 overall and is the second best selling business book, behind only Alan Greenspan. That’s pretty cool.

So what did Joseph do to kick-start his book sales using a social media marketing campaign? Here are the lessons:

  1. He built personal credibility online, well before he wanted anything. (515 people, including me, follow him on Twitter.)
  2. He used a wide variety of tools and unleashed them all at once.
  3. He made it fun and made it feel like a big group activity even though he’s the sole beneficiary. (He is donating the affiliate fees today, which is nice, but honestly, this benefits only him.)
  4. He didn’t pretend to be doing anything other than what he was doing.
  5. He didn’t ask anything too hard–you’re just buying a book, which is likely to be pretty decent.

These lessons go well beyond book selling. You can use social media to kick off a campaign after all, IF you follow these rules and IF you’ve invested in the space properly before you do. If you’re a chief marketing officer (CMO) still waiting to figure this whole social media thing out, the boat is sailing. Jump on board now and start figuring it out. If you don’t know how, get help. Call me. It’s what we do. (Gratuitous plug…)

I haven’t bought Join the Conversation yet, but since it’s a topic I’m very interested in and since I’ve got to give Joseph props for being clever enough to figure out this little ploy of his, I think I’ll go buy it now, and write on his wall…

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