How to Host an Effective Instagram Takover

Okay friends, let's talk takeovers — Instagram takeovers to be exact! And more importantly, let's also talk strategy. One of the biggest lessons we teach at Social Studio Shop is how to post with a purpose. To intentionally host an Instagram takeover we need to come up with a strategic plan and answer the following questions...

  • Why do you want to host a takeover?
  • Who will be doing the takeover?
  • When will they be taking over?
  • What is the theme or central idea for the takeover?
  • What content will they be sharing?
  • How often will they be sharing?
Interested in hosting an Instagram takeover? Stop right there! Ask yourself these six questions before handing over the reigns to bloggers, or anyone else. Click through to learn these helpful Instagram tips!

So let's tackle each question one at a time and discuss why they're so important. For this post, we'll use our last Instagram takeover and a few others as examples. Slight disclaimer here: this was our first time hosting a takeover and although we went in with a strategy in mind, we learned a lot from it — and so will you! I challenge you to take these tips and see what works best for YOU.

Why do you want to host a takeover?

The first and in my opinion, most important question you need to ask yourself is "why do you want to host a takeover?" If your answer sounds anything like "because everyone else is." — stop right there! That is not a good reason to ever do anything on social media. Just because one strategy works well for Suzy Competitor, that doesn't mean that it will work for you! Moreover, to achieve any kind of social success, you have to have a goal (or two) in mind.

Do you want to increase your followers? Are you trying to raise awareness about a new product or service? Do you want to humanize your brand and bring it down to a relatable level?

In our case we wanted to increase our followers while introducing our audience to our newest team member, Elana. By inviting our followers to "meet" Elana we have an opportunity to bring a personal factor to our content which helps facilitate an emotional attachment.

Who will be doing the takeover?

Okay, we're off to a good start — we have our why. Now, who do you want to be representing your brand on Instagram? This is super important and good to keep in mind because although they will be posting as themselves, they are still representing YOU and your brand. Instead of going out their and just picking your favorite Instagrammer, I recommend choosing someone who is a clear reflection of the voice and the message that you present on social.

Extra tip: Once you've chosen your candidate, give your audience a heads up by letting them know what's about to happen. This will help clear up any conversion on their end and grab their attention before it's even started. Further broaden your reach and the effectiveness of the takeover by having your takeover candidate tell their audience.

When will they be taking over?

If your goal is to increase your followers, you may want the takeover to take place on the day that your audience is most active on Instagram. You should also time the posts so that they go out during your optimal times of day (again so your audience can see them) and make sure that you space them out enough so your posts have enough time to live.

In this graph, you can see that the average lifespan of our posts drops dramatically after the first hour and then again after the second and the third. By this data, you can see what an appropriate time between posts are. Keep in mind this is OUR data. Make sure to use Iconosquare so you can see your own numbers — they will be different!

What is the theme or central idea for the takeover?

Having a central theme or idea carry through your takeover helps your posts stay relevant, organized, and stand out from the rest of your content. To illustrate this concept I'll use an example from Nordstrom...

Here you can see that Nordys had Rebecca Minkoff (one of their featured designers) take over their account to share what it’s like to spend a day in her shoes. Note that Nordys had several goals in mind. They wanted to get their audience to support one of their designers, they wanted their audience to literally buy the shoes she's wearing in one post, and they also wanted to humanize their brand by giving a behind-the-scenes look. Think they were successful? Most likely. We'd have to check their Google Analytics and sales system but something tells me there was an ROI on this one...

What content will they be sharing?

Okay this one loops right in with theme and who. Remember: the person and the content your takeover candidate will be sharing is a direct reflection on YOU. It's a good idea to plan ahead the type of content that you will want them to share. Just because you're giving over the reigns of your account, doesn't mean you don't have any say. It also doesn't mean that you're actually giving over the reigns! Keep control of your account by getting the images and the captions from them ahead of time so you can post the content yourself.

Extra tip: always sign off on your takeover images with the handle from the takeoveree. This way, there will be no confusion as to what this content is, you'll be crediting their work, and be driving traffic back to their account. Win, win for all!

How often will they be sharing?

Okay remember our lifespan data from earlier? We need to keep this in mind! We also need to consider what our audience would find to be the breaking point. Is five posts in one day too much? Earlier this week I was quoted in this fabulous article saying “If you have it – flaunt it”. That being said, I do think there is a point at which you begin to annoy your audience. Watch your analytics on Iconosquare to see where your audience falls off and picks up.

How did we do?

So the last and final question we need to ask ourselves is how did we do? Did the takeover accomplish our goals? For this I recommend taking notes on a few key metrics like, how many followers you have, what your average engagement and comment rates are. You can find all of these numbers in Iconosquare. For us we started with 930 followers and ended with 941. We had an engagement rate of 6.08% that day compared to our average 5.19%.

Are you interested in learning more about engagement?

Overall, I wouldn't say this was a monumental success, but we did have fun from our little experiment and we learned from it — this is just as important! Our audience also got to know more about Elana which was one of our goals. Next time, we would follow all of these tips and post on a more "active" day for our audience. Also, we would plan it out to give our audience more notice ahead of time. I believe these two factors will make a big difference!

Have you tried an Instagram takeover? Was it a success? Was it not? If so, why?