Want to have an Instagram takeover but don’t know how to get started? We’ve got you covered with all the info you need to have a stellar Instagram takeover.
In regards to social media marketing collaboration, perhaps no platform is as ripe with opportunities as Instagram. Brands are lining up to pay some influencers hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a single post mentioning their product, and branded content features open a whole new world of opportunity.
Instagram takeovers are a perfect example of an opportunity for collaboration that helps everyone involved, with a brand leveraging a partnership with someone who has some influence or rapport with their target audience to create great content that will help them reach their goals.
In this post, we’re going over everything you need to know about how to do Instagram takeovers, including what they are, how they work, the benefits, and steps that brands should follow to host successful Instagram takeovers every time.
What Is an Instagram Takeover?
An Instagram takeover is essentially what it sounds like: A brand will work with an influencer, creator, or another brand, who will “take over” posting on the account for a set period of time.
Some accounts will share a single post, and then feature Stories from the user taking over the account. Others will have several in-feed posts that are uploaded in short succession.
How Does an Instagram Takeover Work?
Don’t worry … You don’t actually have to relinquish control or hand over access to your accounts. The brand in charge of the Instagram takeover (i.e., the other hosting) can publish the content sent to them by the influencer. (If you’re looking for influencers, here are some ideas for finding the right Instagram influencer for your brand.)
Takeovers typically last around a day. They are promoted by both parties for increased visibility.
In many cases, influencers are paid for this work, but some may do it for free if it means access to free products or even to build up their own following; it all depends on who you choose to work with and the level of demand at that time.
Benefits of Instagram Takeovers
Instagram takeovers are so popular with major accounts largely because they offer so many benefits.
Let’s take a look at the core advantages of takeovers on Instagram.
Reach new users
You can make it part of the takeover deal that the person taking over your account will promote it on their account, too. This can funnel some of their audience over to you to check out the content.
They may share the content in their Stories, too, allowing you to reach members of their audience base that you may not be connected to yet.
Pique interest and boost engagement
New and different is interesting. I’ve seen a social media takeover that featured an influencer I’d never even heard of, and I still took a look because I was curious what it was about.
Takeovers from influencers or contributors can capture interest exclusively because it’s new, which can help boost engagement.
Grow your audience
When you’re able to get your content and your account in front of new users, there’s always a potential to grow your audience. You can leverage the exposure by asking the influencer to encourage users to follow your brand, even if it’s to “catch all of my posts!”
Develop your credibility
When you’re working with other accounts in your niche, it can go a long way in establishing your business’s own credibility.
People are going to trust you more when someone they trust vouches for you, let alone has a branded partnership with your account even if only for a day.
(Our article “How to Rightfully Earn Trust From Your Network Followers” digs more into establishing that trust.)
Generate additional content
This is easily one of the most appealing aspects of an Instagram takeover for busy social media managers: You get someone else creating content that you get to share!
There’s nothing like a fresh new perspective (even if your brand is guiding the messaging being used) to keep things interesting while giving your social media manager one day’s less content to create.
Take advantage of special opportunities
Sometimes there are unique and advantageous opportunities that you want to leverage for your brand, and an influencer can help you do so.
They might even be open to joint-hosting a contest, especially if they sell products or services that have overlap with yours.
When you want to host an Instagram takeover that will help you drive results, these are the seven steps we recommend following.
1. Set Your Goals
If you want to accomplish “all your goals” with a social media takeover, it’s important to know what your goals are.
Think of all the advantages that we just discussed; which would you want to prioritize?
I always recommend actually writing down the goals you want to optimize for, as it can keep you focused and ensure you’re taking steps to be able to achieve them.
2. Select Your Takeover Host
Choosing your takeover host is obviously important.
You’ll want to consider the following when choosing a host:
Do you want to work with an influencer or another brand?
We’ve talked largely about influencers, but we’re going to look at an example in the last section of this article that had another business do the takeover.
Influencers are typically more expensive, though they may have a wider reach. Other businesses are often happy to do this for free. And there may be a chance for a joint partnership on other social events like contests.
How much reach do you want to get?
If you want to reach 15,000 new followers, you’ll want to find someone who has at least 20,000 followers and who has a relatively engaged audience. If you’re fine in just reaching a few thousand, however, that opens the door to more possibilities.
Who would your existing audience want to see?
A boutique workout studio, for example, might have an audience that loves tips from a healthy cooking coach for a day. For example, a company like Crate and Barrel may benefit from an interior designer offering tips for how to pick paintings for one’s wall space.
Who do you want to connect with?
Their audience matters just as much as the one you already have because this is who you can reach if account growth or visibility are primary goals.
If you have someone in mind, excellent! If not, you can use a tool like BuzzSumo to research and discover new influencers that you can reach out to.
3. Decide on the Format and Length of the Takeover
How long do you want the takeover to last?
It’s common to have a takeover last a relatively short period, like a few hours or a single day. You can agree with the influencer on how many posts you’d like to receive, which can be posted over a set period of time.
You’ll also want to decide on the format.
Do you want to share all of the content to in-feed posts, or are you most excited about an Instagram Story takeover?
Right now it’s most common for brands to promote the takeover in advance. They then announce it day-of with an in-feed post and share the influencer content to their Stories, with the influencer making an announcement post on their own account and potentially sharing the Stories, too.
If you do decide to go the Stories route, consider creating a Highlight once it’s all over exclusively for this single takeover.
4. Share Fresh, Authentic Content
You can talk to the influencer in advance about what content you’d like to see.
Some brands ask that a particular product is featured. Others allow influencers to choose which products or services are featured. Keep in mind you’ll likely need the influencer to have access to physical products if you want them to promote those. If they’re trying to help you sell shoes, it won’t do any good if they don’t physically have them.
Make sure that you have a strong takeover post announcing things day-of, with an introduction to the influencer and an explanation of what they’ll be bringing to the table. Include a CTA to “Follow us so you don’t miss any of the Stories,” and tag them. (We’ve got tips to write a powerful call-to-action if you need them.)
After that, you can review the content they send in advance and then have it all scheduled and ready to go with a tool like Agorapulse. Have everything lined up and evenly spaced so there’s no risk that you’d miss a post on this important event.
5. Choose a Hashtag
Hashtags are always a great idea, and Instagram takeover hashtags are no different. They can help solidify this as a real campaign and can make posts searchable by interested users.
Think of a fun hashtag that’s short, easy to spell, and that highlights the value of what will be shared. If you need help, this free hashtag generator is a great go-to.
6. Start Promoting the Takeover
Ideally, you want to be promoting the takeover before it actually happens.
Share an in-feed post featuring the influencer, letting your audience know when the takeover will happen and what will be shared, and make sure you do the same thing with your Stories. Ask the influencer to announce it on their own content day-of.
Once the takeover is over, you can promote it by sharing the posts to your Stories and showing users in Stories where they can find the highlight with the saved content.
7. Measure Your Results
Use Instagram’s Insights or your favorite third-party analytics and reporting tool to assess the performance of the takeover after the fact.
Look at metrics like reach, follower count, engagement, and how many users clicked through a Story to take action or make a purchase.
Use your on-site analytics to track conversions and look for an increase in product views, adds to cart, product saves, and purchases following the takeover.
You also want to manually go through and read the comments and messages that come through on that content.
Understanding sentiment is important. We’ve all seen posts with hundreds of comments only to see that those comments say nothing more than “this is stupid.”
Keep in mind that you can take what you learn from your first takeover and apply it to your next for continued success!
Examples of Real Brand & Influencer Takeovers
There are so many different options for what your influencer takeover can look like, so let’s take a look at four outstanding examples of Instagram takeovers from brands and influencers.
Manayunk is a local business directory in Pennsylvania, and they have brands in the area take over their account. This is an outstanding Instagram takeover example that uses a brand and not a conventional influencer.
The pet-friendly dog bakery posted a series of pet-centered content on the brand’s account, and since it’s hard not to love everything about dogs, it was a great choice. Manayunk got great content with high engagement rates, and the bakery got exposure in return.
2. An Organized Life
In this example, we’ve got an influencer (An_Organized_Life) who reached out to someone to do the takeover. You’ve got influencers working with influencers; the combination is endless!
The account is all about having an organized, Instagram-worthy life, and the takeover featured a friend who specializes in “French-inspired home and food.”
One thing that this example does so well that we want to highlight: They really dive deep into who the person taking over the account is, what makes them special, and what value they have to offer. They also mention exactly what time the takeover will be happening.
The more you can hype up the takeover and explain what users can get out of it, the better, especially if you’re hoping to generate attention and drive sales as a result.
When we say Instagram takeovers come in all shapes and sizes, we really do mean that.
Teradata has employees takeover for a day in their Stories, talking about different elements of working at the company. Since they interview account managers, this can help build trust and rapport for clients while also showing it’s a great place to work for potential hires.
They feature all of their takeover content in their highlights for added staying power.
Frequently, employee takeovers are a core social strategy (as you can see by #Teradataemployeetakeover), and it clearly works for them. This is a great use case to consider, especially for client-facing account managers who offer services as opposed to physical products.
4. John Innes Centre
The John Innes Centre is a plant and microbiology research center, and it had a Ph.D. student hold a takeover for British Science week.
For universities, educational centers, and even nonprofits looking for ways to take advantage of takeovers, this is a good one to look at. The text is on the longer side, but the idea behind this is great.
They introduce the user taking over the account and (very important in this field) explain his credentials.
In each post, Danny shared incredible pictures and explained what users were seeing.
He also offered free public access to photos he was taking for others to use in their work.
This gives the takeover user a boost in credibility and exposure to his work, but it also talks about “in the spirit of open science,” making both the takeover host and poster look excellent, all while providing a free resource to followers.
Hosting an Instagram takeover can be enormously beneficial for you and the influencer or brand that you’re working with.
We’ve said “influencer” a lot in this post, but as the examples show, you don’t need to dole out 10k+ to someone who is Instagram-famous for a day’s worth of content.
There are plenty of opportunities to work with micro-influencers, small brands, and even your own team members.
Get creative with your takeover and have fun with it! If you do, your audience will, too.
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