Recently Mullen had a wonderful experience working with Olympus to launch its new E-P1, the world’s smallest interchangeable lens camera. This beautifully designed camera shoots great stills and HD video. As a content creating machine, it seemed the perfect product to bring to life in the social media space. After all, aren’t YouTube, Flickr and Facebook where we show off our photos and videos?
However, you don’t simply appear, announce your presence and hope people pay attention. You start at the beginning. So here’s what we did and what might work for you.
1. Make a commitment
Seems obvious, but it’s important. Social media isn’t a campaign or a program, it’s an ongoing relationship. Olympus understood this and made that commitment.
2. Define your community
The more clearly you define your community and learn how they engage with a category, a brand, content and media, the more effective you’ll be. We weren’t trying to reach a mass audience, but rather to connect with digitally savvy photo enthusiasts who might enjoy learning and talking about the new camera.
3. Determine objectives
True, Olympus signed up for the long term — to listen, learn, share, contribute — but our real objective was to launch the E-P1, generate buzz, get bloggers to pay attention, and have the press pick up the conversation.
4. Engineer your presence
Essentially we constructed a social media brand platform, connecting Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube so we could take our questions, content and conversation to the community rather than ask them to come to us. Of course, Olympus prominently displayed links on its website, too.
5. Build a following
You can let it happen serendipitously, or you can develop a game plan. We chose to follow key influencers, promote their content, contribute to their conversations, and offer them value in hopes they might follow back.
6. Engage, share and inspire participation
Long before we were even ready to talk about the new camera we got fans and followers engaged in discussions. We shared videos, product demos, invited them to submit content, and simply talked.
7. Do something attention getting
Even in the social media space, you have to compete for attention and generate content worth talking about. We did it by partnering with Tom Dickson of Will it Blend fame. We started with a teaser video that generated nearly 200,000 views in the first couple of days, then followed with a full blown product introduction. We didn’t create a viral video for the sake of creating a viral video; rather we came up with a fresh new way to demonstrate the totality of the camera’s features. It worked, evident by this blurb in Wired.
8. Mobilize your community
Ok, in this case we did something social outside the digital realm. We invited bloggers and reporters to a product demo and photo shoot at Coney Island. But we also provided our fans and followers with the full story and useful background about the camera.
9. Measure results
As our head of analytics likes to say, “you can’t put up a weather station and measure yesterday’s weather.” So early on we put in place systems to measure the conversation, sentiment, tweets, RTs, web traffic and impressions from both online and offline media coverage. This gave us a base to compare the conversation at the start of the project with the buzz generated after the announcement. It will also give us a baseline to use in determining actual sales and their relationship to the conversation.
10. Keep on going
As we said, and as Olympus knows, this isn’t a program or a campaign, it’s a commitment. So we’re still at it. Listening, talking, sharing, responding. Of course it’s too soon to see the sales numbers, but feedback from dealers has been very positive. And we know based on previous experience that there is a correlation between buzz and sales. So that’s a good thing, given that bloggers and press are writing, prospective customers are talking, and the videos are getting shout outs everywhere.
Can you think of anything we missed? Are there best practices we didn’t consider? Have you introduced a new product this way? Please share.