And finally they put out a call for suggestions as to what to name the new product and wisely tied it to a push to gain more fans.
Over the next week or so, there was hot debate over the name, which ended up narrowed down to a four or five selection poll. A vocal faction wanted to call it "Cloud Poop," but the eventual winner was "Liquid Glass."
They reported as they made their way through various production tests and worked out a packaging design. Finally, the big announcement came that it was available for sale.
However, it was a limited production run, so they were able to build on the excitement they'd generated and come close to selling out pretty much right away:
All in all, it was one of the most fun fan engagement initiatives I've seen on Facebook. Best of all, it was completely carried out on the wall and the company website, so there was minimal cost involved.
Did I buy some? Well, no. I already have an ample supply of other colors of Thinking Putty and if I were to buy an additional variety it would probably be Strange Attractor (which I have previously purchased as a gift for my cousin). However, it's clear (no pun intended) that lots of other people stepped up and bought some.
Obviously not every product is as outwardly fun as Thinking Putty, but companies would do well to follow their example when it comes to sharing the new product development process to generate anticipation.
My job title is Social Media Strategist. That means I help devise strategies for clients to incorporate social media into their corporate communications, marketing and even customer service practices. It includes blogger relations (which is interesting for me considering that I'm often on the receiving end of blogger pitches), and sometimes even handling a company's Facebook/Twitter/YouTube, etc. accounts on a day-to-day basis.
I've mostly been putting this expertise to personal use when it comes to promoting my bands. My current cover band, Rock Machine, has a Facebook fan page and a MySpace page, both of which come in handy for inviting people to come out and see us play.
I also recently started a Facebook account for Soroptimist International of Kansas City, MO. Even if you're not a member, you might enjoy "liking" the page to see how this venerable businesswomen's service organization is continuing into the 21st Century.
Just yesterday, I became an admin of the Facebook page for The Animal Rescue Alliance (TARA), a local foster-based animal rescue group for which I volunteer. Up to now, my work for them has been mainly to take a shift each Sunday morning caring for the cats that are up for adoption at a Petco store. The volunteer who had been handling the Facebook page recently passed away, so it seemed almost selfish not to offer to take on the updates considering how well-versed I am in the medium.
In addition to all that, I had an idea this week that I think will be a great value-added service for my husband's recording studio clients. He was talking to a band that had just recorded an album, urging them to start their promotion now - before the final CD copies are completed. I was eavesdropping (we were in my car) and said, "Tell them to submit it to Pandora now because they take a long time to evaluate songs."
Even though I could only hear my husband's half of the conversation, it's obvious that the reply was, "What's Pandora?"
That led me to a train of thought about offering a Band Promotion 101 session for the bands that record in the studio. I could spend a couple of hours teaching one or two of the most marketing-oriented members of a band how to optimize their Facebook and MySpace presences to promote their gigs and sell their songs. I could introduce them to the top online radio outlets, talk them through submitting their music to iTunes, CDBaby and other online stores, and basically just get them started down the path of growing their base of fans and customers. Sounds like fun!
I already eat, sleep and breathe social media, so I'm always happy to jump in and do something new there. It's work, but it's also fun. How great a career is that?!