4. Build and/or join a community. "Tap into the power of community early on," says Gregg Pollack, founder & CEO, Code School. "In other words, find a community of like-minded people who would use your product or service and engage that community either via social media or in person," he says. "This is especially valuable in the tech world. There are a multitude of meet-ups for all kinds of tech, so engaging these communities in person is very doable [and advisable]."
5. Cultivate influencers in your industry or niche. "Reach out to people who influence your target audience," says Chandra. "Well before you launch, get to know how your audience hears about new products and services. Is it through high profile bloggers or analysts or maybe an influential person in their community? Reach out to those people in advance, get their feedback on what you are doing and invite them to get early or exclusive access to your product," she says. Then, "when you launch, enlist these people (either for free or as a paid service) to spread the word about your product."
To find key influencers, "you can use Pitchbox, which defines influencers according to your keywords," says Dmitry Davydov, CMO, Bitrix24, a social collaboration and communications platform. Or you can search Twitter and LinkedIn, "[which] is great for getting in touch with the influencers." And remember, even if you don't have a large influencer list, "one successful contact can introduce your product or service to thousands of people," he says.
6. Ask people to spread the word and give them free product or pay them to talk about it, if necessary. "Just because you have the next big idea, this doesn't mean people will find it and use it," says Tuchscherer. "One free Facebook post is not going to bring in new clients. You need to spend money and time on the product for it to grow," he says. And one proven way to generate buzz is to "reach out to blogs and websites in your industry, letting them know about your new app or website. Not everyone will pick it up, but some will."
Brandon Olson, content marketing manager at AWeber, which provides email marketing software, agrees. "User-generated content is powerful," he says. And "one way to get people generating buzz about your new product or service is to simply get it in their hands. Send samples or trials to a handful of influential people, and ask them to share their feedback with you and their social networks," he says. Then "encourage them to post on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with their honest feedback of your product or service. If it's a product, invite them to even snap a photo of themselves using it."
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