Influencer marketing is a trendy topic these days, but it doesn't require a lot of work or a ton of money to harness the power of influencers on your brand's social media channels.
One of the lowest-effort and most organic ways to work with another person or brand to advance your marketing goals is by hosting an Instagram takeover.
Not sure what we're talking about? Instagram takeovers involve a person or brand posting on your Instagram channel to give followers a peek at new and unique content from another perspective. Here's an example of our friends at WeWork taking over our Instagram account:
In this post, we'll dive into how to host your own Instagram takeover to drive engagement, brand awareness, and more positive outcomes for your brand.
What's an Instagram Takeover?
Instagram takeovers consist of one user taking over another Instagram account temporarily and sharing original content with their audience. Takeovers usually take place between influencer and brand Instagram accounts within the same industries or geographic locations. For example, here's a post from a one-day Instagram takeover when we hosted Wistia on HubSpot's Instagram and Instagram Stories:
Other types of Instagram takeovers can include:
- Employee takeovers
- Customer or community member takeovers
- Event takeovers
- Product or offer promotions
Instagram takeovers are mutually beneficial for the guest Instagrammer and the host account. The host can bring valuable new content to their followers without having to create it themselves, and the guest is able to reach an entirely new audience by posting on another account. Plus, Instagram takeovers help cultivate good-faith relationships between influencers that can create inroads for future collaboration and cross-promotion.
Now, let's dive into how to get started with your Instagram takeover.
How to Host an Instagram Takeover
1) Choose what you want to accomplish.
It's important to determine what you want to get out of an Instagram takeover before choosing a guest and executing. Ideally, your Instagram takeover will achieve multiple positive results, but choosing a primary goal of the campaign will help determine which type of guest to invite.
Instagram takeover goals could include:
- Increasing brand awareness. This can be measured by the number of new followers of the Instagram account as a result of the takeover.
- Promoting a product, event, or offer. This can be measured by the number of event registrations, offer redemptions, or lead form submissions as a result of the takeover.
- Driving engagement within the Instagram community. This can be measured by the number of likes, comments, video and Story views, and link clicks as a result of the takeover.
2) Pick your guest Instagrammer.
Determining the goals of your Instagram takeover will help you decide who to choose to host it. For example, we wanted to increase brand awareness and promote working at HubSpot, so we hosted a takeover by our recruiting team on our Instagram Story:
But we don't always do employee takeovers. There are a few types of guest Instagrammers you can invite to create content for your takeover:
- Influencers within your industry
- Employees at your company
- Community members or customers
Now, this isn't to say that these Instagram takeover guests can only accomplish one of the goals we outlined in the previous section. But generally speaking, we recommend choosing your guest with the most effective strategy in mind.
- Influencers will draw their audience of followers to your Instagram with their endorsement of your brand, so they're the best fit if your primary goal is to increase brand awareness by growing followers.
- Employees will attract interest from their friends and colleagues who want a behind-the-scenes look at what they do at work every day. They're the best fit if your primary goal is to drive engagement on Instagram.
- Community members and customers will post enthusiastically about your brand and show the value of your product. They're the best fit if your primary goal is to promote a product, event, offer, sign-up, or download.
Again, these goals aren't mutually exclusive. Ideally, the content your guest creates will be highly engaging, shareable, and compelling to the viewer.
3) Decide on the content format and takeover logistics.
Once you've figured out what you want to accomplish and who will host your takeover, it's time to nail down the specifics of how the takeover will run. Below are our suggestions of questions to answer when you meet with your takeover host:
- When are you hosting the Instagram takeover? Will it last one day, or one week?
- Who will manage the account? Will the guest get access to your Instagram credentials, or will they send you content and captions to post on their behalf?
- How many times per day will you post takeover content? If you have an optimal publishing schedule in mind, what times per day will the host need to post?
- What hashtags will be used? Will you create a custom hashtag to promote the takeover? Is there a maximum amount of hashtags you want the guest to use in any given caption?
- Which types of content will be shared during the takeover? Will the guest post photos, videos, Instagram Stories, or live videos? Will they post a combination of these formats?
- How will both the guest and the host promote the takeover on Instagram? Will you agree to promotion on Instagram or other channels leading up to the event?
- Are there any guardrails? Is there anything the guest shouldn't record or mention over the course of the takeover?
Once the details of the takeover are nailed down, decide how you'll measure success over the course of the event.
4) Determine metrics to track during the takeover.
Depending on the goals of your Instagram takeover, some of these metrics will be more important than others. Below are the metrics we recommend tracking over the course of your takeover:
- # of new followers
- # of likes
- # of comments
- # of mentions
- # of direct messages
- # of Instagram Story views
- # of live video viewers
- # of Instagram Story clicks
- # of offer redemptions/app downloads (if you promote a landing page)
- # of attendees or sign-ups (if you promote an event)
- Total social referral traffic to your website
Qualitative metrics to keep track of could also include positive comments on Instagram.
5) Promote the takeover across multiple platforms.
Once you've figured out the details of your Instagram takeover, it's time to start getting people excited about it.
Start promoting your upcoming Instagram takeover within a day or two before the event. If there are any contests, giveaways, or other incentives for people to follow along, make those clear in your promotions.
Promote the takeover on Instagram -- especially if the takeover is happening within Instagram Stories or Instagram Live, and you want to drive visitors to view those spots within the app.
Promote the takeover on other social media channels to get as many eyes on your campaign as possible -- especially if your brand's Instagram account isn't as developed or engaged as other channels.
Here's how we promoted an employee Instagram takeover last year:
And here's how the employee promoted it on her Twitter handle:
The host and the guest should promote the takeover on a few of their channels leading up to the event to get both audiences as engaged and excited as possible.
6) Launch the takeover.
On the day of the takeover, it's all systems go.
Make sure you have one team member monitoring comments and one team member uploading content to Instagram (if applicable). You can now upload content from desktop computers in addition to the mobile app to make the process easier from the office.
Throughout the day, cross-promote content that the guest is posting on their channels to help draw new people to your own Instagram takeover event.
Make sure to communicate when the takeover is starting and ending. Note in captions when the first and last posts are happening so viewers aren't confused or abruptly left in the lurch, wondering if there's more content forthcoming.
7) Analyze the results.
Once the takeover is over, analyze how it performed, and use those learnings to determine how (or if) you'll do your next takeover differently. Here are some questions to ask in your post-mortem analysis:
- Did we achieve our goal? Did you earn more Instagram followers, achieve high levels of engagement, or get visitors to sign up for your offer?
- Did we achieve secondary goals? Did the takeover result in other net benefits for your brand and your business?
- Was the takeover worthwhile? Did it save you time and energy creating your own content, or did it create extra work? Did it drive a push of traffic and engagement, or did numbers remain mostly the same?
Even if the takeover doesn't drive hard numbers for your business's bottom line, takeovers are authentic and real, and they provide an inside look at an aspect of your brand or community followers don't normally see. Social media is about being social, so pay attention to qualitative feedback, too. If commenters respond positively to the takeover, take their feedback and use it for ideating future Instagram campaigns.
Now that you're armed with a simple checklist for launching your takeover, follow up with us if our suggestions bring you success. For more ideas on how to drive results for your brand, follow us on Instagram, and download our guide to Instagram for business here.
Has your brand ever hosted an Instagram takeover? Share with us in the comments below.
Originally published May 29, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019