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Two people hold hands.

OPINION: How to pull off a successful ‘soft launch’


With Valentine's Day approaching, ‘tis the season to “soft launch” your new partner. If you’re wondering what a soft launch is, think back to every cryptic Instagram story of two people holding hands with no tagged account to be found — those were soft launches. One of the most appealing parts of a soft launch is the mystery. Why would you announce your new relationship with a picture of their face and a tagged account when you could keep people guessing, turning your followers into the Pepe Silvia meme?

If you’re looking to execute a flawless soft launch, look no further. These tips will have your entire social media network chomping at the bit to find out who could be attached to the other hand in the photo.

First and foremost, start small: allow your audience to do some of their own detective work. In other words, don’t make the most important part of the photo the most obvious. Done well, a soft launch is a marathon, not a sprint.

Say, for example, you go to dinner or a movie with your new significant other, the focus of the story shouldn’t be that you were holding hands with a mystery person. Instead, it should be the movie tickets or the meal in front of you with hand holding being the tiniest, seemingly most insignificant portion of the photo. Do this and prepare for your direct messages to be flooded with eyeball emojis.

The next phase of the soft launch can be done various ways, depending on your desired level of drama. If you’re anxious to reveal your partner to the world, now would be the time to tag them — perhaps in a photo that you’re both in, but you can’t quite see their face. Though, if you’re leaning toward the more prolonged and dramatic soft launch, building to the tagged photo is best. 

Consider posting spaced out stories that put your mystery relationship at the center of the photo, revealing more and more details about your partner’s identity with each post. Or, if you see this relationship lasting beyond the Valentine’s season, you may decide to establish their permanent (or semi-permanent) presence in your life by incorporating them into a few photos deep in an Instagram carousel. Don’t worry — Instagram has our backs and now lets you delete single photos from your carousels, just in case.

From there, the only thing left to do is decide at what point you want to “make it official” and hard launch your partner to your friends and followers. Let the Insta-stalking of their profile commence.

Keep in mind that a soft launch is not a requirement for introducing your significant other to your corner of the internet. If you’re more direct, a hard launch is perfectly acceptable, and if you’d prefer to leave your relationship off the internet altogether, that’s fine too. Above all else, a soft launch should be something you and your partner have fun with. So by all means, throw these tips out the window and make it your own.

Happy Valentine’s season, and happy soft launching.

Sierra Martinez is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on twitter @sierraaspen11 

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