Are you trying to maximize the potential of your Instagram efforts by launching an IG takeover strategy? We’ve got the ultimate guide that can help you navigate the IG takeover environment and get the best results ASAP. The following hacks are a sure way to help you understand, plan, execute, and learn from your IG takeover.
Let’s get started.
What is Instagram Takeover?
A brief history
In 2012 Instagram introduced a strategy that could help big brands leverage the influencers to get their message out there and earn more social proof and get an even bigger following and audience. The new and exciting trend took roots, and eight years later, we’ve got Instagram takeovers as one of the pillars of a solid IG marketing strategy. Brands big and small are partnering with big and micro-influencers to execute takeovers in numerous ways and formats, depending on their end-goals.
Courtesy of: Unsplash
What is Instagram Takeover?
Instagram Takeover is a popular form of Instagram marketing where an influencer, industry expert, employee, or a community member takes over a brand’s IG account for a certain time period. There are different variations in terms of access, form, and duration, but the basic premise is the same.
Benefits of IG Takeovers
The reason IG Takeovers have been adopted as a regular marketing strategy by almost every IG business account is that it just works. Audiences love the fresh content and perspective and would follow the influencers they trust any brand account they suggest, while the brands and influencers are getting a ton of engagement and brand promotion.
Benefits for Businesses
- Boosting brand awareness
IG takeovers allow brands to get introduced to a new audience quickly and almost effortlessly. Hosts’ flowers are directed to the brand’s account where they get to learn about a brand from the trusted source. Talking about skipping a couple of steps in the sales funnel, right? This is why IG takeovers are one of the most efficient ways to market your brand on IG.
- Creating a sense of urgency
The oldest story in the book. Put the limit to something, and suddenly, everyone wants it. The limited time frame during which an influencer or a community member is running the brand’s IG account creates a sense of urgency and pushes the audience to act fast. Whether it is a product promotion, a brand awareness campaign, or a brand engagement you’re after, the sense of urgency will get the audience to act in your favour.
- Increasing engagement
The fun, fresh content created by a creative influencer or a skilled expert drives a ton of engagement with your following. Add the new audience brought in by the host, and you’ve got a substantial increase in comments, likes, and saves.
Courtesy of: Pexels
- Increasing following
Whether you’re working with a big or micro-influencer, a properly executed Instagram takeover campaign will bring in a surge of the new following to your account. Using a fun and creative takeover form will get not only the host’s followers to follow you as well, but you’re also creating a snowball effect where you get discovered by their followers’ followers…
Another reason Instagram takeovers are so popular IG marketing methods for brands is that they are one of the cheapest ways to get great results. Working with micro-influencers means lower payment rates or free products in exchange for their work while having employees or community members as hosts most often come completely free of charge. Talking about the best bang for your buck, right?
- Building credibility
Takeovers create an event-like excitement and atmosphere, and it translates to audiences. Influencers’ sheer excitement and dedication to the event create immediate credibility for the brand among the influencer’s audience.
- Mixing things up
No matter how proud you are of your content calendar, it can get a bit predictable over time. And your followers notice this. The shortened attention span of all digital content consumers requires diverse content forms. That’s where the Instagram takeovers come in handy. Fun, creative, and authentic influencer content is the right thing to spice up your content calendar and always keep your audience entertained.
- Building genuine relationships
Instagram takeover allows brands to look more relatable which results in more people wanting to communicate with and buy from the brand. Unlike celebrities and brands, influencers are regular people whose lives resemble the lives of the masses, so their opinion and interaction with the brand advocate for its relatability and credibility. What’s more, the content created by influencers featuring real-life usage and effects of your products allows for more realistic representation. This all creates a more genuine vibe and allows the brand to continue in the same direction and nurture these connections.
- Encouraging user-generated content
Alongside building relationships and trust, Instagram takeover further encourages users to interact with the brand. This leads to posting about a brand and creating another super powerful resource – user-generated content.
Benefits for Influencers
An Instagram takeover is one of the best means to get the 50/50 value exchange where both parties experience substantial benefits.
- Growing audience
The same way brands get introduced to a new audience and potentially, new followers, influencers too have this opportunity. Having their content in front of the brand’s audience means that more opportunities to build a bigger following. This is an especially important benefit for anyone aspiring to become an influencer.
- New content
Influencers that have been in the game long enough know that it’s not always easy to come up with new content ideas, no matter how creative and skilled you are. Instagram takeover allows influencers a fresh new perspective and a ton of new ideas when posting on behalf of a brand.
Courtesy of: Pexels
- Building credibility
Takeovers are a great chance for influencers to show off their knowledge of the topic at hand. Depending on the niche of the brand, influencers, or community members can earn a few extra credibility credits by posting relevant and useful content during a takeover. If we take a walk down the IG memory lane, we can see that this is exactly how all the big influencers started growing their audience and trust.
- Gaining new exciting experiences
Instagram takeover deals can often require going to exotic locations, doing some fun activities or trying new things which influencers wouldn’t have the opportunity to do otherwise. This, alongside the general valuable experience of working with the brand, creates enough reason for influencers to jump on the takeover bandwagon and enjoy the ride.
How to do an Instagram Takeover in 9 Easy Steps?
Now that we have covered the why, let’s help you figure out how to do an Instagram takeover.
Your main goal is to make it look effortless and easy flowing to yours and your host’s audience. Follow these 9 simple steps to help you execute a perfect and successful Instagram takeover.
# 1 Set your goal!
The first order of business of how to do an IG takeover is setting your goals.
This helps you and your IG takeover host get a clear objective to follow. Depending on which metrics you decide to track, you can get your strategy organised around it. Moreover, it gives you enough data to measure the success of your Instagram takeover.
Let’s break down some of the most common aims and metrics you can track:
- Build an audience. Metrics to track – Number of new followers, reach, views, mentions
- Boost Instagram engagement. Metrics to track – Number of likes, comments, views and DMs
- Promote products or events. Metrics to track – Website traffic, conversion rate, number of participants
The power of a properly done Instagram takeover is that it can help you achieve any of the goals listed.
So, what are you waiting for? Buckle up, and let’s crush your first IG takeover the pro way.
# 2 Choose Your IG takeover Host
Depending on the end-goal, budget, and the industry the business is in, they can choose between four different Instagram takeover hosts.
Let’s help you choose the right takeover host for your particular objectives.
The most popular pick among brands for Instagram takeover is industry experts and/or influencers. Best Instagram influencers and experts can direct a ton of instant following and engagement brand’s way. Another reason this is the most popular choice among brands is that influencers and experts are super familiar with creating amazing content that engages the audience and can drive a lot of traffic to the desired website page.
Courtesy of: Unsplash
When deciding on an influencer to collaborate with, it’s important to do thorough research into their credibility and reputation, content quality, engagement metrics and overall niche, to make sure they would blend in naturally with the brand’s image.
Brands often utilise their colleagues and employees to show the behind-the-scenes life of their business. These usually take a day or an entire week, during which an employee shows a day in the life or a week in the life of the brand’s team. Although this approach doesn’t necessarily bring in a massive new following, it is super beneficial in terms of engagement and credibility. Also, this approach works really nice for product launch or preparation, as it gives audiences an exclusive sneak peek into behind-the-scenes.
Brands love showcasing their community members through Instagram takeovers because it comes with a ton of benefits. By trusting their most loyal community members to run their IG for a day, the brands are getting recognition as trust-worthy, relatable, credible and generous. Also, this approach drives a ton of user-generated content, necessary for valuable social proof.
Similarly, regular customers can become awesome brand advocates by showing how they use the products during an Instagram takeover. One of the best practices when it comes to customer IG takeover includes having multiple customers taking over the brands IG account for a day. This way, the brand positions itself as a credible and quality resource, recommended by regular people.
Pro tip: Reverse the roles – the brand takes over an influencer’s or a community member’s profile. This creates the same benefits to both sides, plus it shows the brand’s character, creativity and relatability. And it’s got a surprise factor to it, which is a huge plus among the audience.
# 3 Defining the Details
After deciding on the type of host a brand would want to work with, it’s time to define a goal. This is the crucial part of any Instagram takeover plan as it defines all the others and leaves no room for misunderstanding or mistakes.
Come up with the topic of the takeover you want to focus on. For example, if you’re a clothing business, the topic of a takeover can be summer outfits, where a fashion influencer can feature your summer collection.
Research your potential guests to find the right fit for the topic.
This includes anything from their number of followers, engagement metrics, their overall style and how it fits within your brand. Another important thing to analyse is their content, as this will show how their tone and style fit your aesthetic.
Explain your idea to the host. Make sure you’re on the same page regarding all the important details.
- Topic – Discuss the topic with the guest in detail, so there’s a clear understanding and the host can have creative freedom developing the content from it.
- Style – Make sure you understand the style of the host and how it aligns with your brand. You don’t want to suffocate their creativity, however, you still need to make sure it blends nicely with your entire branding.
- End-goal – This is a team effort, and as such it requires all members keeping their eyes on the prize. For example, if your main goal is getting more conversions, make sure to clearly state this so that there are action points in place and metrics to follow.
- Budgeting – Are you clear on the potential budget needed to cover the takeover? Be sure you’ve got all the requirements beforehand.
# 4 Design the perfect Instagram Takeover Hashtag Strategy
Hashtags can make or break your IG takeover chances. The only way to get the desired results is to make sure your hashtag strategy is on point and your efforts get the attention they deserve.
How to go about this?
If the Ig takeover you’re preparing is part of the pre-planned IG campaign, make sure to include the campaign hashtags in every takeover post. Yet, to truly make sure you’re making the most of your takeover, read on to find some most important hashtag methods that largely determine the success rate of your endeavour.
- Include general – #takeover or #takeovertuesday count hundreds of thousands of posts. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity of getting discovered, so you should include (but not limit your posts to) the most popular Instagram hashtags.
- Focus on the specific – The less competitive hashtags like #takoverlive or #livetakeover provide more opportunity to be discovered. Also, let’s not forget the very specific, campaign-oriented hashtags that need to be included. Increase your chances of creating buzz about your brand by delivering enough takeover content and collaborations that your hashtags get popularity and recognition they deserve.
- Utilise smart tools – To be sure you’ve nailed the hashtag game, use the Flock Social’s specifically designed hashtag checker and get the smart data to help you make informed decisions and perfect your hashtag list for every IG post.
# 5 Pick the right Instagram Takeover Format
Unlike the takeover beginnings with options limited to only IG posts, nowadays, there are more options to choose from when doing an IG takeover. It all depends on your end-goal and overall marketing strategy. We’ll break down the three IG takeover format categories and explain the pros and cons of each approach.
A great way to go if you are not comfortable with letting the host have full control over your account. Guests can create the posts and you can make the final say and post the ones you find most suitable. As the posts are going directly to your grid, this may not be the best option if you don’t want the host’s style messing up your pre-defined aesthetic.
Courtesy of: Pexels
Most often, this type of IG takeover format lasts for about a week. It allows the host to go in-depth on the topic. Whether it’s “a-day-in-the-life” or a “week-in-the-life” type of posts, the influencer or team member can show how they interact with the brand’s product on a daily basis.
This is the approach for brands that don’t want their brand aesthetic changed. IG Stories takeovers are super fun and provide a ton of opportunities to get creative and direct audiences to take action (the swipe up feature, and shoppable stickers).
One of the IG Stories takeover best practices include having multiple guests do a takeover throughout the campaign. This is a great way to show how different demographics benefit from your products. Of course, don’t forget to perfect all the visual details including your Instagram story size.
This is the best option in terms of simplicity and the overall fun and interactive approach. However, the downside of Live IG takeover is that it requires the host having full control over your account, so the trust must be established beforehand. IG Live takeover allows for immediate interaction with the audience and is the ultimate fun and interactive event. Some of the IG Live takeover examples include an influencer taking over a live event, such as product launch, an industry event, or company milestone. Another awesome bit can include Live Q&A sessions with industry experts, where you’re lending your platform to a host to showcase their expertise, while at the same time you’re getting recognition and engagement. A perfect win-win.
# 6 Secure Your Profile During Takeover
With all of the benefits listed, takeovers do come with one downside as well. The reason why some brands are still reluctant to allow strangers to take full control over their account is that it can cost them money, reputation, and ultimately, their account they’ve worked so much to develop and grow.
The most common threats a brand can encounter during a takeover include a host posting content that is not in line with their values, or more importantly, that promotes profanity, illegal substances, nudity; content that reveals personal information about people without their permission, political and/or religious beliefs, or promoting other businesses. Other ways it can threaten a brand’s profile is completely losing control over the account after the takeover. In cases of IG Live takeover, the host has full login credentials, and this poses a serious threat to the account security.
Of course, these scenarios and malicious hosts are super rare, and more importantly, you’ll be doing extensive research before embarking on this journey anyways. Yet, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Fortunately, there are ways to go about this and to have a completely threat-proof IG takeover.
Here are 4 actionable steps to secure your profile during a takeover.
- Takeover agreement
If you’re able to, make sure to sign a legal document that outlines the terms of the takeover. Here you can add a section outlining the Instagram password rules for your hosts. This way, you can address all of your security concerns and make sure you’re prepared for the worst-case scenario.
- Password manager
If you don’t feel comfortable defining Instagram password rules with your hosts, you can always find a way around this. Simply use LastPass or DashLane or any other reputable password manager and enjoy all the benefits of a takeover without any threat to your account security. Instruct the host to install the same app and share access without revealing your password. Brilliant, right?
- Password change
Whichever way you decide to go about this, always make sure to change your password after the takeover. This will give you some additional feeling of security, knowing that no one else knows your password.
Another cool tip is to create a specific password just for the takeover. This way you’re minimizing the chance of getting your profile security breached. Turn on 2FA afterwards to guarantee your profile is completely safe.
#7 Promote Instagram Takeover
The success of an IG takeover largely depends on the promotion.
For the takeover to reach a great amount of audience, the proper promotion is required by the host and by the brand alike.
The announcement post, uniformed in design, posted on all channels and both profiles is just the step one of the promotion.
To secure the best results of an IG takeover, you should consider it as a unique event.
And events require a ton of promotion before and after to keep the buzz going.
Let’s break down the promotion steps according to each phase of an IG takeover event.
- Before the event – Announce the takeover a couple of days in advance to secure the expectation among the greatest audience possible. The announcement post should go live on both host’s and brand’s accounts on multiple social media channels. Make sure to keep the audiences reminded and interested by doing a couple of teaser posts each day before the event.
- On the day of the takeover – Introduce the guest in a Story to mark the beginning of the event.
- End it with a bang – Utilise the material created during the takeover to further engage the audience. Sum up the content in Stories Highlights, and reference the experience and lessons learned in your future posts.
# 8 Execution
Finally, it’s go-time. Instead of just kicking back and watching it unfold, as a brand, you have the responsibility to stay present and monitor the situation.
Depending on the format and the level of control you’re allowing the host, a certain level of input on your side is always needed. If you’re doing the posting, it’s your job to communicate with the host to make sure you’re both on the same page regarding the post, the caption, and the messaging, since they are placing their name behind the message, and they must be in on everything.
In other cases, where the host completely runs the show, be prepared to monitor the process, in case you need to jump in, respond to a comment, or simply show support and appreciation. Never miss a chance to show credibility.
# 9 Analyse the results
Even when it all seems done, it’s still not over, at least not on the brand’s part.
The way to truly get the most out of this experience is to go full analytics and get all the data possible. This will help you see the results achieved, provide much better insight into your audience’s preferences, understand the potential of the influencer for future possible collab, and a chance to use the lessons learned in educational posts that could turn you into a thought leader.
Metrics to analyse:
- Number of new followers
- Number of likes
- Number of DMs
- Number of comments
- Number of mentions
- Number of IG Story views
- Number of IG Story clicks
- Number of Live video participants
- Number of people making the purchase/downloading the app
- Number of participants or sign-ups (if you promote an event)
- Website traffic from Instagram
Of course, a thorough analysis can’t be done manually, as it requires impossible time resources, and some data simply can’t be reached other than via a tool designed to extract specific numbers. Tools like our very own FlockSocial let you manage and track your IG takeover results from a single super intuitive dashboard. You can get the perfect hashtags for your campaign, track engagement, follower growth and much more.
Best Examples of IG Takeovers and Why They Worked
To get a full picture of how and why IG takeovers work, let’s break down some of the best examples and explain their best points. Here’re the 7 best examples of IG takeovers including various formats and businesses of different sizes and structures.
#sharethemicnow Inspire Social Activism
One of the most powerful initiatives in the midst of the #blacklivesmatter movement is the #sharethemicnow on Instagram. Popular celebrities and people of influence are handing over their IG accounts to black women to inspire, teach and provide insight to the mass audience on the topics of race, injustice and gender. By giving voice to the silenced, the likes of Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sophia Bush, used their platform to inspire positive social change.
For one day, the Stories feeds and Live sessions of these celebrities were transformed into catalysts for a long-overdue change. Inspiring black women from different professional and social backgrounds shared their narratives and views to help bring awareness to the position of black women in America and to help make a positive change. This is our top pick since nothing sparks the engagement better than the cause that unites so many people and inspires social activism.
Soaring Free Superfoods Promote a Lifestyle
Soaring Free Superfoods partnered up with Meg Lagerwey a.k.a. @the_good_gut_guru for a day-long takeover. This was a match made in foodie heaven, for many reasons. Meg’s expertise in gut health provided valuable info to the SFS’ audience. The super-fun, healthy and easy recipes posted are perfectly aligned with the ingredients Soaring Free Superfoods are promoting.
And, more importantly, she is using their products in her recipes, so there’s the promotion part. These interesting insights into a day-in-the-life of an influencer provide an awesome opportunity to feature a brand as a part of everyday life in real people’s lives.
Coding Vibes Educate Their Community
This is another perfect example of a win-win situation. Shreya from @codewithshreya took over Coding Vibes’ IG Stories for a Q&A session with their following. As a community member herself, she managed to provide insider info on the life of a programming expert and provide actionable tips on a similar career trajectory. The super-informative session generated a ton of engagement for Coding Vibes and allowed Shreya to be discovered by a large, perfectly targeted audience.
Food Republic Invents Instagram Takeovers
Let’s get back to basics and break down how the pioneers of IG takeover set the basis in one of the first IG takeovers. In 2012 Food Republic invited photographer Sam Horine to be their “guest Instagrammer” and record his trip to Italy for their profile.
As a fairly new strategy, this got so many people talking and applauding the idea. More importantly, it created a ton of buzz, engagement, and new following for both sides. The reason – new and fresh content, a brilliant new collab form, and a perfect fit – a cool Instagrammer with a keen eye for photography reporting for a great food and travel magazine.
IA&A at Hillyer Does Post Takeover Right
Artist Lee Nowell-Wilson takes over the Instagram account of IA&A at Hillyer gallery for a #takeovertuesday. The work of the artist blends in perfectly within the grid of the gallery. This is a perfect example of an IG takeover in the form of posts.
The pieces blend in naturally, so the gallery’s grid becomes unchanged with an unusual aesthetic, but enriched with some amazing art, drawing audiences in. At the same time, the artist gets valuable exposure and recognition by being featured by the trusted gallery profile.
Fenty Beauty Kills the IG Takeover Game
Brands big and small should take a page from the Fenty Beauty business playbook. From the range of products available to all skin types, colors and textures, to the killer marketing game, and of course, the Goddess Rihanna herself as the CEO, Fenty Beauty is one of those iconic brands that are in the league of their own.
To make sure none of their genius products gets unnoticed, they’re regularly doing IG Stories takeover that get a ton of attention. Diverse beauty gurus, makeup artists and influencers show how they incorporate Fenty Beauty products into their makeup routine, and people are here for it.
The reason this works so perfectly is that IG Stories are the coolest form to let others take centre stage, without compromising the brand aesthetics. The cool Stories Highlight feature allows for unlimited life of IG Stories, so the efforts can yield longer-lasting results. That’s what the marketing mavens behind Fenty Beauty know so well.
By giving the platform to numerous popular and regular Instagrammers, the brand creates a sense of community anyone can be a part of. Fenty Family Stories feature people of all races, skin types, colors, makeup styles and preferences all advocating for the same brand. This is something that has never been achieved by any makeup brand, and the idea to accentuate their main advantage in this way is simply brilliant.
To top it all off, Fenty Fridays Stories are now compiled into Youtube videos, thus allowing the brand to reach even bigger audiences. Talking about a way to recap a takeover, right? Amazing makeup inspiration from the most diverse community can now be enjoyed by audiences on YouTube thus keeping the community strong and leveraging takeover efforts to the max.
Finnair Attracts the Younger Crowd
When big brands want to go relatable, they do just what the largest Finland’s airline, Finnair did – they let their young and cool staff take over their Instagram account. To make the campaign really noticed, they showcased not one, but four of their employees, each for a three-day takeover. The posts featuring their flight attendants and gate service agents with cool captions describing their lifestyle, interesting behind-the-scenes bits, and beautiful destinations were a major success with audiences.
Introducing their company from the perspective of young, hip professionals gave the brand a cooler vibe and made them visible and more relatable to wider, younger audiences. The takeovers took the form of IG posts, revealing the brand’s intention to be associated with fun and youthful spirit and cool travel destinations.
As the Instagram landscape is getting over-saturated with content, brands start to look for new and more advanced ways of getting their audiences interested. Instagram takeovers are one of those strategies that are only getting stronger over time. The increased competition in this area means that brands will have to keep in mind the major principles of a perfect Instagram takeover in order to stay in the race.
Major points to check to secure the success of any Instagram takeover going forward include making sure that both sides involved are getting 50-50 value on their efforts, that there’s no compromise on content quality, and that there’s a comprehensive plan in place.