Instagram is a really powerful social media platform that allows users to share their lives through photos, video, and now, Instagram Stories. We can connect with other people in our niche, establish a community, and grow our brand presence in really unique ways.
Because of the social camaraderie of the platform, Instagram is also a great way to build hype around the launch of a new product or service. With a little forethought and creative out-of-the-box thinking, you can market yourself to people who never knew you existed.
Just two months ago, I launched a podcast and a membership site, and I used Instagram as one of the main marketing tools for both launches, with excellent results. It’s always a good idea to have a pre-launch plan that includes your blog, your email list, and social media, rather than just launching a new thing into the void of the internet.
You need to take a few things into consideration when mapping out your pre-launch plan for Instagram.
Carefully consider what your ultimate goal is for this pre-launch hoopla on Instagram before diving in. For example, are you trying to drop people into your sales funnel, or deliver them directly to a landing page? Are you trying to establish yourself as an authority on a particular subject, or grow an existing customer base?
Your actions should directly lead people to fulfilling your ultimate goal. Marketing for a new product or service that is new for your brand is vastly different than launching a new product that will be added to your existing product catalog.
Determine how far ahead of the big launch day you want to start your pre-launch festivities on Instagram. If you start building hype too soon, people might lose interest and get tired of waiting. Wait too long, however, and Instagram’s new feed may not get your most exciting announcements in front of the people who need to see them.
YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Here’s the thing: We launch new things all the time, right? New products, new services, even new businesses. If your “thing” is super new, like a new business, you might want to consider creating a separate Instagram account specifically for this new business, particularly if it’s not directly related to your original Instagram account’s content.
You want to be sure that you are gearing your Instagram content to the target audience who will be interested in your launch, so if your original Instagram account isn’t going to cut it, do yourself a favor and start fresh, like I did for the Blog Fuel podcast.
Take into account the color scheme or overall feel of your Instagram feed and be sure that your launch plan aligns with your branding. You want whatever you post to fit neatly into your brand’s aesthetic while also standing out just enough to be noticed as something extra special.
If you’re starting from scratch, consider creating a mood board on Pinterest to hammer down your new aesthetic.
INSTAGRAM LAUNCH IDEAS
You can get really creative using Instagram to launch a new product, service, or business. It’s more than just beautiful photos – it truly is a social platform that fosters deep connections and opens the doors for awesome networking, so don’t be afraid to do something a little different from your normal routine.
These ideas will get you started, and I also encourage you to combine a few of these to create an epic launch plan all your own.
Countdowns are great because they build anticipation. Countdowns should be more than just “5 days until the big day!” – think of how you can take people behind the scenes, giving them a tiny taste of what’s to come each day leading up to the launch.
Share the backstory of your upcoming product or service – why did you create this thing? Who does it serve? Why is it important to you, and why should others get excited? That’s all part of building excitement.
A giveaway is a great opportunity for you to grow your Instagram following and get your new shiny thing in the hands of someone who can help spread the word organically.
Launching a book? Give away a couple free copies. Launching a service? Give away a free consultation or coaching call. Partner with members of your blog tribe and do a group giveaway, and consider getting sponsors involved to amp up the winning potential, further building the hype for your launch.
Be sure to start the giveaway a few days before launch day, then announce the winner(s) on launch day as part of the celebration.
People love to see a peek behind the curtain, and sneak peeks allow you to show people what they have to look forward to.
When I was gearing up for the launch of The Mason Jar, I shared several screen shots of the website before it was open to the public, and shared a bit more about what The Mason Jar actually was and why people should get excited to join when the doors opened.
Use hashtags in your favor and get your community involved. Plan a 7-10 day challenge and create your own unique hashtag, then invite your email subscribers, blog readers, and other social media followers to join in on the hashtag madness.
Create a challenge that ties in directly to your new product or service so it makes sense. All that hashtagging will generate buzz on Instagram and get you noticed by new followers. *TIP* This pairs nicely with a giveaway!
An Instagram takeover is when you virtually take over another person’s Instagram account, or they take over yours, typically for one day. This can be done one of two ways:
#1 – Create a series of images, captions & hashtags ahead of time. Send them to the person whose Instagram account you will be taking over and have them post each image at designated times.
#2 – Literally take over their Instagram account. They will give you their Instagram login and password, and you post periodically throughout the day.
Why is this a great idea for a launch? You put yourself in front of an entirely new audience for an entire day! Reach out to members of your blog tribe and ask if you can do an Instagram takeover in the days leading up to your big launch, then plan to share more about your brand and be sure to tease your launch. Include calls-to-action in your captions, and tag yourself in every single picture so people can easily find & follow you.
One Woman Shop has various women entrepreneurs carry the #onewomanshopbaton regularly on their Instagram. It’s a really cool way to interact with a new audience and show a day in the life of your business. *Heads-up: I’m carrying the baton on Tuesday, August 30th, so be sure to come say “hello” over on the One Woman Shop Instagram account!
You knew I had to put this one in there, right? Instagram Stories, in case you’ve been living under a rock, are Instagram’s version of Snapchat. They are meant to be in-the-moment photos or 10-second videos of your blog, your business, or your life. They’re real, they’re raw, they’re (virtually) unfiltered.
Pop into Instagram Stories each day leading up to your big launch day to share what you’re working on, any new announcements or collaborations, any special deals you might be offering, etc. Give people an idea of all the hard work you’re putting into this big launch, and tell them how much it means to you. They’ll appreciate it so much more if you’re transparent.
Now all that remains is figuring out what you’re launching!
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