How to Plan a New Product Launch on Social Media: Step-by-Step Guide with Examples

Planning a new product launch on social media can feel daunting, but it’s also a huge opportunity to attract new followers, make sales, and convert your existing audience into customers!

In this comprehensive blog post, I’ll be walking you through every stage of launching a new product on social media, from setting your goals to developing a creative concept, working with influencers, and planning a stunning Instagram feed that sells.

You’ll learn from real social media product launch examples in both the B2B and B2C space, and I’ll be sharing all of the product marketing secrets that have worked for us here at Later.

Ready to plan your new product launch on social media? Grab a comfy seat, and let’s go!

how to plan new product launch social media

How to Plan a New Product Launch on Social Media – Step #1: Define Your Goal

When it comes to planning a social media campaign, it’s important to start with the end in mind: your goals and KPIs!

If you want your new product launch to be a success on social media, it’s important that you define what success is.

Once you have a clearly defined goal for your social media campaign, you’ll be able to come up with strategies to achieve your goal.

For example, the cult beauty brand Summer Fridays recently launched a new face mask on Instagram. Since most of their marketing is focused on social media (and Instagram specifically), we can assume that their main goal was to generate sales of their new product through social media.

how to launch a new product on social media with examples

But just because you’re launching a new product, your goal doesn’t have to be ‘sales’.

Your goal could be building brand awareness, building engagement in your community, growing your email list, or having more people walk through your physical store.

For example, when we launched Instagram Stories scheduling for Later, our overall marketing goal was to encourage more Later users to upgrade to a Later paid plan so they could schedule stories.

But because we’re a B2B company, we have a longer customer journey than a B2C beauty brand, so we had different goals for our new product launch on social media.

Our social media campaign goal was to increase awareness about our new product, which meant that we focused more on driving impressions, traffic, and engagement instead of pushing upgrades through Instagram and social media.

 

If you haven’t already, it’s time to get clear on what action you want to inspire with your campaign. Once you have that goal set for your campaign, make sure you keep that ambition front and center of your mind as you start working on the next steps to building your social media campaign.

(Editor’s note: we’ll be using both the Summer Fridays and Later campaigns as social media product launch examples in this post, so whether you’re a B2C or B2B company, or selling a physical or digital product, you’ll have concrete examples to learn from!).

How to Plan a New Product Launch on Social Media – Step #2: Nail Down Your Timeline

Timing is everything when it comes to launching a new product on social media, and you’ll want to set your timeline well in advance of your launch date.

The big deadline you should be thinking about is the new product launch date – let that act as your starting point and then build your timeline backwards from there.

This will give you a clear idea of how much lead time you’re working with and the potential scope of the project. If you’re running to a tight deadline, you may have to scale back on some of your more ambitious ideas for your campaign.

But if you have plenty of time to play with (you super-organized marketer you!), you can really level-up your campaign to help you meet your goals.

To give some perspective, we started planning the general marketing campaign for our Instagram Stories launch about 2 months before, and started planning the social media aspect of the campaign about 1 month before launch.

But if you’re launching a physical product instead of a digital product or service, you may need to start planning 2 months in advance to account for photo shoots with packaging, influencer and media mail outs, etc.

When planning a new product launch on social media, it’s important to factor in how long your campaign will run. Remember to keep it snappy, creative and engaging!

You may want to think about a launch timeline that runs something along the lines of:

  • Day 0-7: Pre-launch hype
  • Day 8: Launch day
  • Day 9-13: Post-launch follow-up
  • Day 14-30: Integrating your new product into your regular content schedule, or planning additional activations to keep up the momentum

By breaking it down per day, or pre- and post-launch, you’ll be able to start thinking of creative ways to incorporate your new product into the campaign, without having dull, repetitive content.

For example, we spent a solid week promoting our Instagram Stories scheduling feature on social media, and then we launched our free Instagram Stories for Business course one week later.

The course acted as a free lead magnet for us to attract new customers, while also allowing us to indirectly promote our scheduling feature with a free course that was full of fun and helpful content to share.

Once you’ve set your timeframe, it becomes easier to plan out your content knowing how feasible it will be to deliver it on time. Plus you’ll be able to take an objective, bird’s-eye view on how long it will run and how your audience will respond to it.

To help ensure everything runs smoothly for your launch, we’ve created a free Social Media Product Launch checklist! Just enter your email below to get the checklist delivered to your inbox:

  

How to Plan a New Product Launch – Step #3: Choose Your Social Media Channels

Now that you have a goal and a timeline, you’re ready to start choosing what social media channels you’re going to light up when you launch your social media campaign.

Hint: You’re probably going to be active on most of your social channels to maximize on impact!

But each channel you choose – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube and more! – should all have a slightly different strategy and approach, because of how your audience responds, and how the platform functions is different on each.

For example, what you create for your Instagram Stories will be hugely different to what you create for your Instagram grid, so they deserve different strategies!

Here’s an example of what our social media strategist Mel Brittner created for our recent launch:

Don’t be afraid to let your creative juices flow at this stage – get every idea down on paper and assign it to a suitable social channel. But, do keep in mind your timeline and just how feasible it is to create each idea — it’s always better to have less, but truly strong and engaging content, than more, poorly-executed content.

How to Plan a New Product Launch – Step #4: Decide on Your Creative Direction

Now that you have all the (kind of boring) details like goals, timeline, and channels locked down, it’s time for the fun part: what will your campaign look like?

It may sound like a fancy marketing term, but having an overarching creative direction is what separates your product launch campaign from your other day-to-day social posts.

The creative direction of your product launch is what’s going to make your campaign stand out and be seen on your social platforms, and it’s so important to get it right! Especially on Instagram, since it is such a visual platform.

We are pretty obsessed with the creative direction and overall concept for Summer Fridays’ new product launch of their R+R face mask. Their Instagram feed looks amazing, and their stories are both educational and beautiful, and it was all executed so well.

Here’s what their Instagram feed looked like when launching:

And here’s what their Instagram Stories announcement looked like:

 

Not sure where to start? There are two elements to your creative direction you need to think about.

Firstly, the overall visual style of your campaign needs to be defined in your creative concept. This should include a color palette, some inspirational imagery, a design style guide, or design templates that will work across your social channels.

If you need some inspiration or help to create a color palette for your product, you can use Adobe Color! You can choose the “color harmony” you want – whether you are looking for different shades, complementary colors, or a monochromatic look.

Your color palette can also come from your product or packaging itself. For example, Summer Fridays’ main color was the same dusty pink shade as the bottle itself, and the complementary blue shade came from their existing brand colors.

Mood boards are a great idea at this stage of planning! You can easily create a mood board by pinning inspiration images on Pinterest or check out this blog post from Canva on how to build a mood board for your future campaign.

So if you wanted an Instagram feed that looked like Summer Fridays’ feed, then you might have started with a moodboard that looked something like this:

new product launch moodboard for social media

Secondly, your creative direction should outline your campaign message and editorial style.

This will help you fine-tune your content and make sure how your introducing, explaining or selling your product throughout the campaign remains consistent. It’s a good idea to nail down a couple of terms or core messages you want to weave through each of your campaign assets.

For example, the Summer Fridays product launch was centered around the “refine your wild” concept, which was highlighted in both their imagery, copy, and brand hashtag. Without understanding what the product even is, you can start to understand how it will make you feel in their teaser video, which guides the rest of the visuals in their social media campaign:

View this post on Instagram

refine your wild.

A post shared by Summer Fridays (@summerfridays) on

If you’re running your own business, this might mean that you are coming up with the creative direction, managing the photo shoot, editing the content, and posting everything yourself – which is a lot of work!

But as long as you can stick to your timeline, and you’ve got a clear creative direction you’ll 100% be able to achieve a successful product launch campaign!

How to Plan a New Product Launch on Social Media – Step #5: Offline Activations

When you’re planning a new product launch on social media, you’re probably focused on the digital planning: photos, videos, graphics, copy.

But in 2019, offline activations are becoming a big part of online campaigns.

From influencer events and launch parties to wall murals and coffee cups, more and more brands are starting to integrate an Instagrammable moment into their new product launches.

For example, Summer Fridays had two Insta-ready offline activations for their product launch, one in LA and one in New York City.

In LA, they set up this beautiful vintage phone booth and covered it in roses, which fit with the theme of their rose face mask.

They also integrated their branding into the phone booth, but in a very natural way that wasn’t overbearing, and they also ran a contest to get more people to tag the brand and share their brand message as well.

Who wouldn’t want to post a photo of themselves here to their Instagram? The key is that their branding isn’t overpowering, which inspires both customers and passersby alike to take a photo and share it to their Instagram feeds.

They also set up a beautiful rose display with matching coffee cups for their New York City fans:

Depending on how big your launch is, or if you have a physical location, you may want to come up with a creative offline concept to help get the conversation started online too.

If the goal of your campaign is brand awareness, this is a great way to inspire user-generated content and get people to post and tag your brand in a natural way.

Don’t forget that this kind of offline campaign asset may require more lead time than creating digital assets, so you should start working on it near the beginning of your planning process!

Plus, this could use a lot of budget for your campaign, so you want to make sure you’re really committed to the idea and that it will add to your overall campaign efforts.

How to Plan a New Product Launch on Social Media – Step #6: Influencer Marketing Strategy

When it comes to launching a new product on social media, an influencer marketing strategy is not only a good idea, but it’s now almost essential.

Especially when it comes to Instagram!

Working with influencers is a great way to reach more people and get the word out about your new product on social media.

One influencer marketing strategy I’ve seen on Instagram lately has been to have all of your influencers post on the same day. Casper employed this strategy recently for the launch of their Glow light.

Influencer marketing was at the heart of their product launch strategy on social media, and they let the influencers do most of the talking, choosing to amplify their content instead of focusing on creating original content.

Because they had invested heavily in influencers that reached their target market (like myself) and had them all post on the same day, I saw about 3-5 posts about the #casperglow on my Instagram feed on launch day. This made the product launch unavoidable and piqued my interest to learn more.

Even if you have no budget to pay popular influencers, you can gift your product to your micro-influencers ahead of your launch and encourage them to post if they love it on launch day. This creates a cascading effect where people can see the product posted multiple times in their feed on launch day.

Another popular way to get influencers to post about your new product launch on social media is to host an event.  For example, Summer Fridays had a small influencer breakfast on the morning of launch day in LA:

And then they hosted a larger launch event with influencers in NYC:

When planning influencer events, it’s important that you account for aesthetic. Make sure that your decor is Instagrammable, and that you choose a venue that has great natural light. Influencers will be more likely to post about your event without payment if you create a beautiful backdrop that looks great on their feed, too.

If you’re launching a digital product, you can still involve influencers in your social media launch strategy!  At Later, we gave Instagram educators and influencers access to our new Instagram Stories scheduling feature to test it out before we launched.

Since they loved scheduling their stories so much, we had influencers create blog posts about the feature during our launch week. Plus, we had two influencers host an Instagram Stories takeover on our Instagram account to show our community how they were using the tool to schedule stories for their feeds.

It was a simple, but effective way to have real-life users share their experiences with our product.

Need help creating an influencer marketing strategy? Download our free Instagram Influencer Marketing strategy guide:

 

How to Plan a New Product Launch on Social Media – Step #7: Create Your Campaign Assets

Once you have the overall strategy nailed down for each channel, you now get to create the actual assets for your new product launch on social media!

Your campaign assets would be things like photos, videos, graphics, GIFs, or anything else you’re planning for your social media campaign.

When it comes to actually creating content for your new product launch on social media, this is going to vary heavily depending on the size of your company, and whether you’re selling a physical or digital product.

For a physical product, you will obviously be creating photos and videos with the actual product. You’ll want to have a mix of both product photos and lifestyle photos, and your creative shoot could range from a small photo session with your iPhone to a multi-day, big budget shoot with multiple photographers and videographers.

For a digital product, most of the content creation will probably come in the form of graphic images or videos, or if you’re selling a service then you may do a photo shoot of yourself instead.

You might get to have creative control over social specific assets, or you might just have to work with whatever your marketing team gives you.

As we said, this part of the planning process varies greatly, but the most important thing is that you are sticking to your creative direction and creating high-quality content for your social channels.

Here are a few things to think about when the time comes to creating your campaign assets:

#1: Do You Have a Design Brief for Designers?

If you’re lucky enough to work with a design or creative team, you’ll want to create a clear design brief for your social assets. Make sure you have your moodboard, style guide and design assets like logo and slogan nailed down and shared with your designers and contractors at this point. This is where all the planning for your creative direction comes into play, so don’t let it go to waste.

#2: Do You Have a Branded Hashtag for Your Product Launch Campaign?

If you plan to gather user-generated content or if your campaign will be running for a long time over Instagram, you may want to create a branded hashtag specifically for this product launch.

Don’t forget to include this hashtag in your asset copy and even integrated into the design of your content or Instagram Stories!

#3: Can You Repurpose Content For Different Channels?

When you’re creating digital assets, you don’t want to let any piece of content go to waste. Think about how to squeeze the most out of each asset!

In order to make your product launch go smooth on social media, you’ll want to map out exactly what piece of content you need for each channel, and what their size dimensions are before your assets are created.

For example, for Later’s Instagram Stories Scheduling we had our product launch video created by Trevor Holmes. Since we were investing in a product launch video, we wanted to be able to repurpose the same video for multiple channels.

With just one video created, he sized and repurposed it for multiple channels and different format requirements. We included the video in our blog post as a standard 9:16 video and posted this to our Instagram feed and our Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook channels.

We also created a 16:9 vertical version, which was then cut into 15-second intervals for our Instagram Stories, and posted in full to our IGTV channel.

 

Summer Fridays had a similar strategy with their launch video, which they posted to both their regular Instagram feed and resized it for Instagram Stories too.

#4: Have You Forgotten Anything?

Easier said than done, right? There are so many moving parts to a multi-channel campaign that it’s easy to forget some assets that need your attention or design work.

To help you, here’s a checklist for assets (that often fly under the radar!) to consider before moving on to the next step:

Instagram:

  • Cover photo for IGTV videos
  • Cover photo for your Instagram grid videos
  • Instagram Stories Highlights cover icon or image.
  • Supplemental UGC or grid assets to keep the conversation going passed the launch
  • Instagram Stories content
  • Instagram feed photos or videos

YouTube:

  • Your video’s script and SRT file for any video footage with speech
  • YouTube thumbnail image

Pinterest:

Blog Content:

  • Meta images for any blog content you plan to share on Facebook and Twitter should be optimized for their size and dimensions.

Twitter & Facebook:

  • Share images for Twitter and Facebook posts.

Trackable URL: 

  • If you’re driving traffic to a blog post or website, you will probably also want to create a trackable link using Bit.ly or custom URL parameters so you can measure and track your KPIs. Here at Later we like to use Google’s free campaign URL builder, and we also create separate links for Instagram and Instagram Stories so we can track the success of each in Google Analytics.

Cross-Promotional Material:

  • For example, if you’re planning to host a Facebook Live or Instagram Live, make sure you have design assets to drive to that event from other channels. For Later’s  Facebook Live event, we shared it on Twitter, our community Facebook page and Instagram Stories so our followers on all channels knew about the Live event.

How to Plan a New Product Launch – Step #8: Prep Your Social Media Content Calendar

Once you have all your content and assets, it’s time to put everything together and plan out your social media content calendar!

Now’s the time to plan when each piece of the puzzle goes live across your social channels for maximum impact for your campaign. This often takes up more time than you think, so make sure to factor that into your timeline and schedule!

While you may have an official “launch” day for when your new product is available and on sale, you might want to have a different timeline for social media or different launch “phases.”

For example, Summer Fridays “launched” their new product on Instagram with an announcement video and stories, but the actual “go live day” of their product came 5 days later when people could purchase it:

new product launch social media examples

They used the 5 days in between announcing their new product and when it was live for purchase to drum up excitement, and also to educate their followers about the features and benefits of their new face mask. This way, they could build more buzz without the pressure to fit everything into one day.

When you’re planning your social media calendar, it’s also worth thinking about the lifespan of each piece of content. For example, a blog post may only appear in a newsletter once, but it could be shared multiple times across your social media platforms over the course of a week or month.

What’s important here is how you can keep the campaign concept fresh throughout the timeline — recycling content just won’t cut it these days, so brainstorm ways you can prolong the concept, keep the campaign fresh and ensure you’re always bringing new life to the launch!

This will help you reach out to your audiences that are positioned at different places in your marketing funnel, as well as figuring out how to reach multiple time zones and across multiple social channels.

Later’s intuitive and easy-to-use content calendar helps you view all of your social media content together by day, week, or month.

You can schedule your photos and videos to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest with Later, and view all of your social posts on a content calendar together to have a comprehensive view of everything that’s going out.

Even if you’re not ready to actually schedule your posts yet, you can still plan out your social posts with Later’s new calendar notes feature. You can add notes to remind yourself to post on that day or time, create placeholder content, or indicate which posts will be a part of your new product launch.

Don’t forget to schedule your teaser content ahead of your campaign launch date too!

If you’re posting about your new product launch across multiple social platforms, that means you’ll have a lot of different photos and videos to manage.

Instead of scrambling to find the right content for the right channel close to the deadline, you can upload all of your content to Later’s media library so everything is together and easily accessible in one place.

You can use labels to tag all of your campaign assets and keep them organized, so they’re just a click of a button away when you need them.

This stage of your campaign planning is tricky, so it’s important to find ways to streamline your tasks and make life a little easier!

 

How to Plan a New Product Launch – Step #9: Schedule Social Media Posts & Prep for Launch Day

You’ve planned, you’ve prepped, and finally – launch day is almost here!

Before you launch your new product, you’ll want to ensure that you have scheduled all of your content for launch day (at least – ideally you would be scheduling the whole week!)

That means photos edited, captions created, hashtags added, and everything scheduled and ready to go so you can focus on engaging and responding on launch day, instead of posting.

You’ll also want to ensure that you have all of your Instagram Stories content ready to go for launch day too, and you can even storyboard your product launch stories ahead of time and then schedule them with Later.

Due to restrictions with the Instagram API, your Instagram Stories won’t automatically publish, but your photos and videos will be automatically sent to your phone when it’s time to post, making it easy to post to stories in seconds.

You can also add links to your scheduled stories, which will be copied to your phone at posting time, making it easy to keep track of those long custom URLs.

Instagram Stories scheduling is available on all Later paid plans, starting at $9/month.

 

Here are some tips for planning and scheduling social content for a product launch, with examples:

Tip #1: Build Hype for Your New Product Launch with Instagram Stories Countdown Sticker

The new Instagram Stories countdown sticker is a fun and easy way to get people excited about your new product launch.

For Later’s Instagram Stories scheduling launch, we started to build buzz by sharing that we were releasing *something new* a week before our official launch. We didn’t give many details, but we did share the countdown sticker to our stories.

The cool thing about the countdown sticker is that people can opt-in to get notified when the timer is up, and they’ll receive a reminder from Instagram.

Also, other people can share your countdown sticker too! The day before our launch, we encouraged Later employees to share the countdown sticker to their personal profiles too.

If you prefer to keep your launch a secret until the big day, you can still use the countdown sticker! Summer Fridays used the sticker on a ton of their stories when they announced their new product, which counted down the days until it was available for sale.

Tip #2: Plan Your Instagram Aesthetic Ahead of Time

When it comes to Instagram marketing, it’s all about the visuals. Your Instagram profile is now acting like a website, so you’ll want to make sure that it’s in tip-top shape for all the new visitors you’ll have scrolling your feed on launch day!

An easy way to do this is to use a free visual Instagram planner like Later to see what your feed will look like before you post. You can easily drag-and-drop to re-arrange your posts until you have the look and feel that you want.

This is great for planning out what your feed will look like for launch week, ensuring that you have a good mix of product and lifestyle shots.

You’ll also want to make sure that you’ve planned a transition between your regular content and your upcoming campaign content.

You can see how Summer Fridays posted a photo before and after their launch video to bring everything together and create a transition from their blue-focused aesthetic to their new monochromatic pink aesthetic.

Depending on how dramatically different your campaign visuals are, you may want to start slowly integrating the colors of your campaign into posts a week before you actually launch.

How to Plan a New Product Launch on Social Media- Step #10: Go Live for Launch Day!

Start chilling the champagne, because launch day is almost here! 🥂

With your scheduled content ready to go, all you have to do is set your alarm and get ready to monitor the excitement, answer questions, and engage with your community.

Here are a couple other things you might need to do on the big day to make sure your launch day goes smoothly:

#1: Update Your Instagram Bio

You may want or need to change the link in your bio to a specific campaign landing page, or use a trackable link. You can also update your Instagram bio to include a call-to-action to purchase your new product at the link in your bio, or add the campaign messaging to your bio.

Summer Fridays changed the color of their Instagram profile photo to match the color of their campaign and it really worked to help announce something has changed! Remember, your profile photo appears in your Instagram Stories feed, so this is a nice way to tie everything together.

#2: Save Your Instagram Stories to Highlights

Your beautifully crafted launch day Instagram Stories posts don’t have to disappear after 24 hours! Save your stories to an Instagram Highlight to make it easy for people to shop or learn more about your new product throughout the duration of your campaign. Don’t forget to have a clear cover image or icon to help it stand out from the others, like we’ve done on Later’s Instagram account @latermedia!

#3: Be Speedy With Your DM Responses

Now is not the time to leave your followers on read. Make sure you spend enough time responding, engaging and answering your followers’ questions across all your platforms. You may need to enlist help from your wider team to achieve this, but it’s really important for valuing your community and also making sales!

#4: Reshare Content From Your Followers

There’s going to be a lot of chatter about your campaign and product launch and one of the best ways to show your appreciation for your followers’ positivity and excitement around your product is to reshare their posts! The more user-generated hype you can share the better.

#5: Host a Live Q&A

Making yourself available on launch day to answer your followers questions really shows that you’re invested in the product and you’ll be building better connections with your potential customers. If you can set time aside on launch day to host a live Q&A on Instagram or Facebook it’s a great way to keep the excitement levels up and the conversation flowing about your product launch.

How to Plan a New Product Launch – Step #11: Track and Measure Your Social Media Success

Remember all the way back in step #1 when you created your campaign goals and KPIs?

Now’s the time to check in on those goals and measure them!

Success looks different to every brand and business, but you should spend time reviewing how successful your campaign was and how it tallied up against your goals.

At Later, we tracked brand awareness KPIs like engagement rate and impressions, along with tracking signups and upgrades from social media.

Beyond tracking leads, signups, or e-commerce purchases, you’ll also want to take a holistic look at how your campaign performed and where you could improve for next time.

For example, you can glean insights about your followers’ preferences and what content resonated best with them, what medium they liked most, and what channel performed best.

All of this knowledge can then be put into your next product launch campaign!

Also, congratulations! You did it, your launch was a success! You also somehow managed to make it to the end of this incredibly long and comprehensive blog post. If you have any questions or you think we left something out, feel free to send me a DM on Instagram at @taylor.loren.

Don’t forget to download your free Social Media Product Launch checklist, which you can fill out as you plan your campaign!

 

Editor’s note: this post was co-written with Nikki Canning, and wouldn’t have been possible without contributions from Later’s social media strategist Mel Brittner. Thank you!

Written By

Taylor Loren

Taylor Loren is the Head of Marketing at Later. She was named a LinkedIn Top Voice for social media marketing, and you can follow her on Instagram at @taylor.loren for more Instagram tips and a look inside life at Later.