Palm・Social Strategy for a New Product Launch
Social Media Strategy — Here's how I launched a brand new product on Instagram.
Palm is a minimal, incredibly small cellular device, about the size of a credit card. Palm was designed to help people be less absorbed in their screens, without entirely sacrificing their connectivity.
Palm initially launched as a "companion" device— a tiny smartphone that would share the same phone number as your main phone, so you could take Palm with you, leave your phone (and all its distractions) behind— but still have connectivity to your essential apps, calls, and texts. It sat somewhere between a full fledged smartphone and a wearable like Apple Watch.
I joined Palm (8th employee) to manage all things social media related, just before their product launched out of stealth.
Key Challenges + Insights:
– Product did not fit existing market category neatly (not quite a smartphone, not quite a wearable).
– This meant we'd need a lot of education immediately on product differentiators, features, and benefits to purchasing, compared to a typical flagship smartphone which is immediately easy to grasp.
– Scale (i.e. Palm's unique small form factor) is a big differentiator. Communicating a sense of scale through image and video is key.
On my first day joining Palm I was told we would be launching out of stealth into the market the very next week. The team had already prepared rough drafts of what they wanted to post to Instagram (below).
Here's the draft of what they were planning for launch:
🛑 Why this wouldn't work:
The mosaic is pretty— but it doesn't give much information about the product. We needed something that was both beautiful, and helpful for getting our audience to understand and desire our product.
We needed a launch that would be equal parts aesthetic and educational. Our audience needed to be wowed by our imagery, but we also had a lot of explaining to do about a product that was quite different from anything else on the market. Palm's unique functionality and features are not immediately clear— so this needed to be a focus point for us.
Before I joined, the team commissioned excellent lifestyle product photography and video assets. Inspired by a post format used by apparel brand Hill City, I suggest a revised launch strategy, that was both visually striking and layered with more information.
Here's how we launched:
I suggested we take the mosaic concept a step further (focusing on our goal to be both informative and educational).
To start, I proposed we condense each mosaic vignette into a single row, rather than three— allowing for more to be viewed on screen at one time.
Additionally, each vignette row began with a tagline layered into the post thumbnail. Each row's beginning post, when tapped into, showed a lifestyle video from each vignette.
Finally the third posts each contained a carousel of images and a descriptive caption.
The day of launch went extremely well for us. We launched with a cover story on Fast Company, and had investor and advisor Stephen Curry make a post announcing @palm to his 33 million followers— all helping us land over 20,000 followers on Instagram on day one. Views for individual posts averaged upwards of 50,000 views.
Photo credits: While I took just about every other photo you'll find across this site, the photos for our Palm launch were commissioned right before I joined, and created by the talented Nick Kova. The header image above is my own.