Does anyone have experience building up social media presences prior to the launch of a product/service? We know our target customer and target user (different in this case) and want to build an audience to inform upon launch.
It can certainly be tough to build up a substantial follower base, starting from nothing or very little, especially if you haven't launched your product yet. But here are a few tactics to help you get in front of more people pre-launch:
1) Start sharing tons of useful content. Before you bother sending people to your Twitter feed or Facebook page, you want to make sure they'll find something valuable once they get there. If you have the time, create original content that ties into your industry, your product, or your company in some way (without directly promoting yourself, though). If you don't have the bandwidth to create your own content, find other articles from bloggers you admire or experts in your industry, and share their content. Just make sure you're putting out information that's highly relevant and valuable to the audience you're trying to attract so you can engage them once they find you.
2) Create conversation. The people who aren't following you yet aren't seeing your tweets, so how do you show them value and get them to discover you? Start a conversation! At Change Collective, we're rolling out our first course on Becoming an Early Riser. So I'll do a Twitter search for "need to wake up earlier" and find a bunch of people who are tweeting about the exact problem we're setting out to solve. By favoriting their tweets or replying with -- "That's great! We think we can help - check out our newest course & let us know what you think!" -- I'm getting our product on their radar and simultaneously providing value to them.
3) Ask for help. Start with your fellow team members, and ask them to share the company's Facebook posts or retweet some of your tweets. You can even create lazy tweets for them to share. What about your board members? Advisors? VCs? They all have a stake in helping your company grow awareness and adoption, so find an easy and appropriate way for them to help by leveraging their networks. And if you have friends and family who are excited about your business and supportive of what you're doing, they probably won't mind a friendly request to help spread the news every once in a while.
Hope this helps! I just joined an early-stage startup and I'm currently building up our marketing from scratch. Happy to jump on a call and offer some tips from the trenches if you'd like. Best of luck!