Instagram’s developed plenty of creative marketing tactics over the years; though few are quite as unique as the “Instagram takeover”.
If you’re new to the term, don’t worry. This article aims to cover everything you need to know about takeovers, how to perform one, and successful past Instagram takeover examples.
Essentially, an “Instagram takeover” is a collaborative effort between two users, in which one temporarily “takes over” the other’s account. They then start sharing content on the other’s behalf – in the form of standard posts, Stories, or even live video.
It’s a fun, engaging strategy to tap into new audiences and diversify your content; a partnership considered “mutually and equally beneficial”.
The Benefits of an Instagram Takeover
Not only do Instagram takeovers let you get creative, they also offer a sense of authenticity to your brand.
Your feed ceases to be a mere marketing channel for you and your products; it also becomes a space for spotlighting other talents and influencers.
Some takeovers are performed by the staff behind a corporate or professional brand, giving your audiences a chance to get to know your company better.
Additionally, you get to reap the following benefits:
It’s Entertaining Content For Your Followers
Instagram takeovers are a great way to spice things up with your content. As mentioned, those performing one give viewers a chance to get to know them and their company better. This creates an opportunity for new, creative ideas and bodes well for your brand; as entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, it’s the equivalent of having a “cool” guest on your podcast or YouTube channel.
It’s getting someone and their expertise to bring additional value to your followers. Depending on how well your audience knows them, plenty may also be excited to have a specific personality briefly “take over” your account.
If that’s the case, it helps to promote your takeover before it takes place. This way, you’ll get an easy boost of engagement once it happens.
An Opportunity to Collaborate With Other Users
For all its bells and whistles, Instagram – at the end of the day – is still very much a social network. The more connections you make with other brands and users in your niche; the more opportunity you have of expanding your audience and creating higher-quality content.
What better way to make these new connections, than to entrust other influencers with your content?
It may seem risky on the outset – after all, how well does their vision of quality content meld in with yours?
This is why it’s important to partner with only the well-trusted voices in your niche; those with ideas that best align with your company goals. Such partnerships can pave the way for other, future projects to further boost your brand and its endeavours.
Both Parties Tap Into New Audiences
When performing a takeover, both you and your partner’s audiences may not have yet heard of the other. Hosting one thus shines a light on both your brands and the work you do; the person performing your takeover gets to appeal to your audience, while you get to attract their followers by having them on.
If both your profiles are similar enough in content and objectives, then you both may just bump up that follower count.
Takeovers are also beneficial to those still building a following. A micro-influencer or startup brand may partner up with another, more established user – letting them grow their reach and visibility.
Establishes Trust Between You and Your Followers
As mentioned, takeovers are a generally “authentic” method of entertaining your viewers. You’re allowing another user to bring their creative insights and ideas to the table; adding a friendly, “human” touch to your content.
Companies may also have their employees perform Instagram takeovers on occasion, diminishing any “cold”, corporate image they may have.
By adding more human personality to your content, your followers (and potential new ones) are far more likely to trust you in your endeavors. It’s a good way for them to get to know your brand and the host on a more personal level – a good break from the typically staged, picture-perfect content they may be used to.
Now that we’ve covered what Instagram takeovers are and what they’re good for, we’ve outlined the following steps to hosting your own.
How to Do An Instagram Takeover – Step 1: What’s Your Objective?
The first stage of hosting a successful takeover is to firstly define your goals.
Are you looking to expand your audience? Is this part of a new campaign? Do you want to promote a product?
Whatever it may be, decide on your end goal. This helps you mold your marketing strategy and the type of content you’d like to incorporate.
As well as your objectives, set the metrics you wish to track. This will help determine the overall success of your takeover. If your goal is to increase brand awareness, for example; your metrics may be the number of Instagram mentions you accumulate, the amount of new followers you gain, and the reach of your content.
Write your goals and metrics down if it helps, and refer to these as you craft and carry out your takeover strategy. These insights are also helpful to look back on at the end of the takeover, as you reflect on its effectiveness and potential improvements for the future.
How to Do An Instagram Takeover – Step 2: Choose Your Host
Your next step is to pick your host (or profile “guest”). As mentioned, it’s important to decide based on similar goals, interests, and audience. It makes no sense, for example, for a sports company to partner up with a beauty influencer. Both are from vastly different fields with followers of contrasting interests – likely leading to poor engagement (and confusion).
Types of Instagram Takeover Hosts
Hosts come in three different types: influencers, customers or community members, and employees.
Influencers are the most common type of takeover hosts. Typically, these users will hop on a brand’s account to bring additional value and insights to the company’s existing content. They bring merit to a brand’s image, showing audiences that the company is well-trusted among professionals.
Customers or community members are those who can vouch for your brand, or who simply have relevant experiences to your own. Having these users host a takeover lets you spotlight other members of your niche, placing value and trust on existing (and potential) audiences.
It’s also a great opportunity to bring new perspectives, and to optimize user-generated content.
Finally, getting your staff to host an Instagram takeover grants viewers a closer look into your company culture and its values. As mentioned, it creates a more “human” face for your brand, and allows you to connect with customers on a more personal level. This does wonders for your brand image, and delivers fresh, new viewpoints from employees on your company and its goals.
How to Do An Instagram Takeover – Step 3: Decide on Your Takeover Content
What type of takeover do you plan to host? After choosing your ideal guest, it’s time to decide on your content.
Are you letting your host take over your Stories? Post standard Instagram photos/videos? Or are they going live with your audience?
Standard Instagram posts are the most common type of takeover content; bringing new ideas and variety to your feed. This is an easy way of adding extra value and new expertise to your content.
If you’d rather leave your feed untouched by third parties (many do tend to stick to strict aesthetics and themes), you can always get your host to take over your Instagram Stories.
The more casual, laidback nature of Stories offer more flexibility for your host. Sadly, the engagement won’t be permanent – unless you save these Stories as a highlight reel.
Your final option is to host a live video. Once again, this type of content leaves your gallery untouched while still allowing other users to “take over” your profile.
Live videos are convenient for directly communicating with your audience. Your host can set up a Q&A, chat about a special announcement, or stream an activity relevant to your company.
It’s a fun, engaging way of getting personal with audiences, and – depending on the reputation of your host – can be an exciting online “event” for many.
How to Do An Instagram Takeover – Step 4: Promote, promote, promote!
You may have the coolest ideas for takeover content, along with a well-known host booked in – but all this is rendered ineffective without proper marketing.
Once everything’s sorted out, announce your upcoming takeover across your Instagram content – and other social media profiles, if possible.
Creating a standard post with a picture of your host is a typical way to do this – coupled with big, bolded words advertising the event and its details.
Stories are also a quick channel for promoting your takeover, though due to their fleeting nature, – can be easily missed by less active followers.
Of course, encourage your guests to promote the takeover on their social channels, too. The success of the takeover relies on effort from both parties, so they have the incentive to do so.
How to Do An Instagram Takeover – Step 5: Perform the Takeover
The guys over at Buffer outline two different ways of a executing an Instagram takeover: allowing full access of your account, or performing a “semi-takeover”.
Both have its pros and cons. Full account takeovers are far more authentic (as it’s actually your guest taking control of your profile); they allow your guest to quickly respond to follower inquiries and comments, and allow the opportunity for Live videos.
Semi-takeovers, on the other hand, ensure your online safety. With this method, your host sends you their content and accompanying captions, allowing you to post them when you see fit. This gives you ultimate control of what you’re posting, and also alleviates the need for sharing your sensitive account details.
Whichever one you choose depends on your takeover goals – as well as what’s easier for your host.
How to Do An Instagram Takeover – Step 6: Review Your Takeover
Once you’ve completed your takeover, it’s time to measure your results.
What went right? Were you able to achieve your goals? This is where your metrics will come in handy – be sure to review these and how well they fared alongside your objectives. Then, determine what you could improve for future takeovers, and what strategies worked best.
Be sure to share these with your host, of course. Such insights can help them with their performance in future takeover collaborations.
As you build your portfolio of takeovers, you can better assess the types of content that work best, most effective hashtags, and specific days or times that garnered the most engagement.
Instagram Takeover Examples
Before we wrap up, let’s dive into some of the best takeovers executed on Instagram – and why they worked so well.
Instagram Takeover Example #1 – Netflix’s YOU (@younetflix)
Netflix’s hit psycho-thriller features the exploits of a social media stalker, Joe, and his obsession with a woman named Guinevere Beck. It’s only fitting that the series would have their own Instagram, of course.
In promotion of the second season, most cast members took over the profile to discuss the series and connect with fans. For a show targeting a young social-media-obsessed demographic – this type of marketing was effective.
Fans were given insight into their favourite characters and cast members, all in anticipation for their latest season release.
Instagram Takeover Example #2 – Finnair (@feelfinnair)
Finnair – Finland’s largest airline – had executed a marketing campaign spotlighting a handful of its flight attendants, each of which had their turn taking over the company’s profile.
Members were given three days to share the experiences of their profession and their worldly travels. As such, viewers were given an interesting inside look into the life of a flight attendant, along with their protocols for a safe and efficient flight.
This not only offers new insight for audiences, but paints a more personable image of the company and those behind it.
Instagram Takeover Example #3 – Sephora (@sephora)
International makeup brand Sephora saw large boosts of engagement when partnered up with Tamanna Roashan (a celebrity makeup artist of over two million followers) for the brand’s “Contour Month” campaign.
With her beauty expertise, Roashan offered makeup tutorials using Sephora’s contouring products, each post tagged with “#DYFLSephoraTakeoverGiveaway“. She also offered a free course at her online makeup school as part of the campaign; and followers were also treated to give away contest featuring a goodie bag of Roashan’s favourite Sephora products.
The takeover was an exciting success for all makeup and Sephora fans, with the contest announcement racking up nearly 8,000 likes.
Spice Things Up With an Instagram Takeover!
With the right planning and partnership, an Instagram takeover may be just what you need to build on your brand and content strategy. Don’t miss out on these collaborations – your engagement numbers will surely thank you.