How to Host an Instagram Story Takeover in 3 Easy Steps

May 14, 2020
Hugh Stephens

Are you planning to host an Instagram takeover? Looking for more information about how to host it successfully to grow your audience? If so, here's everything you need to know.

Are you planning to host an Instagram Stories takeover? If executed correctly, an Instagram takeover can help you tap into new audiences and amplify your reach. Keep reading to find out how to host an Instagram takeover successfully and boost your brand awareness.If you’re looking for ways to boost your reach, gain new followers, promote a new product, or collaborate with content creators, you’ve come to the right place. Not only can Instagram Stories takeovers boost your reach, but they are also the perfect way to diversify your content marketing strategy. After all, why not mix things up?Instagram takeovers are one of the hottest trends on the social network. Many brands have already jumped onto hashtags such as #TakeoverTuesday when executing their own Instagram takeovers.But what makes Instagram Stories takeovers so special, and why are they becoming so crucial for popular brands?More importantly, how can you host a successful Instagram takeover for your brand?Read on to find out everything you need to know!

What is an Instagram Story Takeover?

An Instagram takeover is the process of having someone literally “take over” your account to give them control of your brand.In an Instagram takeover, you let someone else run your account and publish regular Instagram posts. They might share content they have created themselves or share content that you have been collaborating to create.The duration of the Instagram takeover typically depends on your content marketing strategy and what you want to achieve, but takeovers typically last anywhere from a single afternoon to a whole weekend. They can coincide with a particular event, product launch, or they may just run on a specific day to align with your marketing calendar.The takeover content your content creator is sharing will depend on them, and for the duration of the event, they become the owners of your account.Here’s an example of a typical Instagram takeover:

example of an Instagram takeover.

How do Instagram Takeovers Work?

Think of an Instagram Stories takeover as a new tactic to gather user-generated content that will favor your brand. The difference is that you are not fully in control of the content but you are trusting someone else to do it on your behalf.Instead of curating content that others are posting on your account, you are selecting a content creator (or creators) to post directly on your profile.Our tip: If you’re truly not comfortable with a content creator posting on behalf of your account, you can simply ask them to send screenshots or video content to one of your team members so they can post it on your brand’s behalf.So, why is an Instagram takeover a good idea?

Benefits of Hosting an Instagram Story Takeover

There are countless reasons to consider hosting an Instagram Stories takeover.

Supercharge brand awareness

One of the most important reasons to consider running an Instagram takeover is to boost your brand awareness.An influencer takeover can be a great opportunity to reach your target audience. Your brand could reach new followers by doing a cross-promotion with an influencer and tapping into their followers authentically.

Increase engagement

An Instagram Stories takeover can boost your engagement by increasing the activity on your page. Depending on how you execute your takeover, you can also invite more people to like and comment on your posts which can boost engagement even more.Instagram Stories takeovers can lead to increased engagement through interactive content like Question stickers, Polls, or Quizzes. If you really trust your host, they could even do an Instagram Live. These videos typically appear first in the Stories feed, so your content will be seen by more of your followers. Just be sure you have a very clear brief before your host goes live!Your host could also invite your Instagram followers to interact with them via direct messages on Instagram. These Instagram features can enable you to appeal to your target audience with content. In this way, you can focus on building connections with your community authentically.

Build trust

Apart from the obvious short-term gains, there can be long-term value in hosting successful Instagram takeovers. If you invite the right people to take over your account, your Instagram followers will start to build a stronger affinity with your brand.Knowing who to invite to host your takeovers can be the key to building trust with your Instagram followers. The more they trust and respect your host, the easier it will be to grab (and hold) their attention in the future!But not only that – you need to be able to trust your host. This is very important, especially if you are going to hand the reigns of your brand (and your account details) to your host.Remember, if your Instagram account has a large number of followers, you shouldn’t be giving your account details to just anyone. You should only give them to a host you trust inherently – and, as a failsafe, you should have contracts in place to ensure your account doesn’t get compromised.

Community building

Instagram takeovers can be ideal when you are at the very early stages of building your community.It’s not just about evoking interest and building trust with new followers. It’s also about convincing your new audience to stay up-to-date with your next steps.You want to give them a reason to come back by believing in your values and staying interested in your content. A strong content marketing strategy and content plan will ensure you consistently have strong content to keep any new followers interested.A reputable host serves as an additional voice supporting your brand. They can (and should) reflect your brand’s values, so make sure you spend the time to carefully select the right one!

Employee advocacy

Not all Instagram takeovers involve influencers, high-profile experts, and external partnerships. There are many internal takeovers that involve your team members taking over your Instagram account for a day.Instagram Stories takeovers that involve your employees can boost your team culture internally, helping your team feel more involved in your digital marketing plan.But they also help outsiders see the faces behind your brand. They show that you value your employees. They also lend an air of authenticity to your brand by offering a glimpse into the life of your brand’s world.All in all, it’s a win-win!So, why Instagram?Well, Instagram is one of the best social media platforms for takeovers because it allows you to post polished content on your feed while adding more personal and often unpolished content on Instagram Stories. Hosting an Instagram Stories takeover allows content creators to be disruptive without disrupting your usual flow of content!And all this is without even mentioning the fact that, unlike Snapchat, Instagram has a colossal user base, with an estimated 1 billion users worldwide…! Your host can also utilize the Instagram Stories swipe up link to directly link to your brand’s products, services, or a booking page.

How to Host a Successful Instagram Takeover

Let’s dive into the practical steps of running a successful Instagram takeover.It’s easy to plan and host an Instagram takeover but any smart marketer knows that you still need to go through the proper logistics to actually ensure your takeover is a raging success.Some of the best Instagram takeovers are the ones that are well planned and have a host who aligns perfectly with the brand.There are three main stages in the planning process of a successful Instagram takeover:

  • Deciding on a host who will take over your Instagram account,
  • Planning how to promote the takeover, and
  • Creating guidelines for the takeover your host will abide by.

Let’s go through them in turn. Ready?

Decide on Your Instagram Takeover Guest

The first step is to create a list of potential hosts for your Instagram takeover.You need to think carefully about all the criteria that will affect your final decision.

  • Theme: Think of the topic that you want to focus on or the angle you want to take. Research the hosts that have the highest level of authority to talk about it. For instance, maybe you’re a fashion label launching a sustainable line, but instead of your usual influencers, you might want to use an expert on sustainable fashion. You might even want to use your CEO or someone within your company.
  • Popularity: If your objective is to expand your reach, you can analyze the number of Instagram followers or the engagement rate potential hosts have. Be careful here! A large number of Instagram followers is not always an indication of someone’s popularity if the followers are fake. You can also check their tagged posts to see if they are being re-posted, as this can offer an indication of their popularity.
  • Brand fit: It’s important to conduct in-depth research on your potential hosts before you give them the keys to your castle! Look at their content and decide whether or not they make the right fit for your brand. This is important if you want to build trust with your Instagram followers.
  • Availability: If you need to host a takeover as soon as possible, then high-profile hosts may not be available at short notice. Timing can help you narrow down your options. Reach out to more than one person if you want to get an Instagram takeover off the ground quickly.
  • Budget: Will the takeover require any budget? Whether it’s the partnership, the creative assets, or any additional help, think of your requirements from the beginning and be realistic about what it might cost.

Promoting an Instagram Takeover

Promotion is critical to the success of your Instagram takeover.The first step is to announce your takeover. Both you and your host should share a post or a Story (or multiple pieces of content) to promote the takeover to the widest audience possible.This is the post that encourages followers to ‘save the date’. It makes it easier for your audience to prepare for the day by asking questions or keeping an eye on their feed for the new posts.One post is not enough though – make sure you create a detailed plan for your promotional activities.Treat your takeover as an actual virtual event.

  • Before the day: Start at least a week before the takeover with the announcement. Make sure you create at least a few more posts (or Stories) to remind your followers about it. Your content should not be identical during that time so it’s better to create a few different content formats and images about the takeover.
  • On the day: You can create a Story at the start of the takeover’s day to do the ‘transition’ between your brand’s and your host’s voice. It makes it easier for the narrative later if you want to create a Recap.
  • Recap: Right after the takeover, you can create a Highlight Reel to share the key moments of the day. You could even write a blog with a condensed version of the host’s content and amplify it via email, as it’s likely not all your loyal customers saw it. That content could be tips from the host, product picks, a guide of some sort, or simply a written recap of an event. Most importantly, be sure to take the opportunity to add any links to products or services where relevant. If your host has added a beauty tutorial but hasn’t linked to products, re-post their content with the swipe up links added.
Image showing Instagram post promoting a takeover event.

Create Guidelines for Your Instagram Takeover

An Instagram Stories takeover is like a brand partnership. Whether it’s professional or more casual, preparation is still crucial if you want to avoid mistakes.Your guidelines will be dictated by your overall social media marketing strategy as well as your specific campaign objectives. Even though your host may have worked with your brand before, you still want to have very clear written guidelines to ensure the host knows exactly what to do.This is even more crucial if you’re planning for your host to cover an event or do an Instagram Live!Here are some aspects to consider in your planning process.

  • Brand values: Share your brand values with your host so that they know what matters for your brand. If you don’t have documented brand guidelines, write down a set of values that describe your brand. These can help your hist understand what’s critical for you and how your audience perceives your brand.
  • Posting guidelines: Your posting guidelines should form part of your usual Instagram strategy. They can include the frequency of posting, the crisis comms plan, the way you interact with your fans, and the creative guidelines for the assets. Your host doesn’t necessarily need to adhere to all of these but they can still provide a starting point when introducing them to your brand. For example, your brand’s colors don’t necessarily need to be part of a host’s creative process, but as long as their content embodies the spirit of your brand and has a similar aesthetic, it should fit in. Be clear on any CTAs to use in your content. Your host could be creating amazing content but if they don’t add CTAs, you could be missing out on the opportunity to make sales!
  • Community management escalation process: It’s useful to have a community management escalation process that determines how you’re responding to different situations. What if someone posts a negative comment in one of your posts? What if trolls leave comments on the day of the takeover? You don’t need to be alert at an alarming rate during the takeover, but you can still have a plan in mind for the engagement or any questions that could involve your brand. Ideally, one of your team members could also be moderating comments and questions or be available in case your host needs assistance.
  • Posting access: Another thing to consider when planning an Instagram takeover is the level of access you are giving to your host. You can provide full access to your Instagram account or you can ask the host to submit their content in advance so you (or one of your team members) can post it. If you’re providing full access, you can create a temporary password for your account and change it after the takeover to protect your account’s security. If you are concerned about giving a host full access to your account, you can ask them to send over their posts in advance for you to share on the day. It might not be as authentic as the first option, but it can still be a great alternative for your brand. Plus, if it’s done well, your Instagram followers will be none the wiser.

Our tip: Your brief and guidelines for your host should make it easier for your host, not more complicated! They should outline all the relevant details and be as specific as possible without having too many rules associated with them.We suggest limiting your takeover to one particular product or product range. This narrows down the parameters for your host and makes it easier to create content. When you send your brief, be sure to include specific links to particular products or services, and be very clear on how customers can purchase.

Instagram Story Takeovers - Best Practices

Let’s look now at the best practices that will guarantee a successful Instagram takeover!

Set a goal

Start by setting clear goals for your Instagram takeover. These might be guided by your wider social media marketing strategy, or could just relate to a product launch or a smaller goal.Do you want to start a takeover to increase brand awareness? Do you want to share a glimpse of what it’s like working at your company? Your goals will determine your plan on how to make the most out of your takeover.Don’t forget to review the progress against your goals by looking at your Instagram analytics and how the Instagram takeover boosted your account.

Cross-promote your takeover

Improve the success of your Instagram takeover by promoting it to your other channels. You can cross-promote the takeover on other social media channels, your email communication, or even Facebook Groups that might be relevant.You can also promote the takeover among your team so that others can have a look at it.

Find inspiration in other Instagram takeovers

If you’re looking for inspiration and creative ideas for your takeover, look at what others are doing. You can search other campaigns by using hashtags like #takeover, #brandtakeover, and #TakeoverTuesday.Speaking of hashtags, decide what hashtags you might use. You might want to use some of the above hashtags or you can use a branded hashtag to run the takeover. This means that you can track any user-generated posts that are generated from the campaign.

Mix Instagram feed and Stories

There’s no need to limit your Instagram takeover to one format. Your host can create posts for your Instagram feed but they can also share Stories during the day, too! You might even choose to use just Stories and leave your Instagram Feed for brand-generated content.It depends on your host’s availability, their creative skills, and the scope of the partnership. The options are endless!

Make it stand out from your usual content

An Instagram takeover should be different than your usual posts. It should stand out with its authenticity, creative content, and ideally, increased engagement.Don’t be afraid to try out new ideas and allow your host to explore new creative tactics. For example, if you haven’t tried out all the Instagram Stickers before, a takeover is a great opportunity to be more engaging with new features.Remember, let your content creators express themselves. As long as they adhere to your overall brand guidelines, they should be able to highlight their authentic voice on your account while representing your brand.

Over to You!

Ready to host your Instagram takeover?An Instagram Stories takeover is a fun way to help your brand reach new audiences and generate new followers. It can boost your engagement while nurturing your community.All you need is an Instagram marketing plan that reflects your wider social media marketing objectives.Looking at the best practices on how to plan and run a successful Instagram takeover, here’s what you need to focus on.

  • Set a goal: Decide on your objectives and explore how Instagram takeovers can help you achieve them. Your objective might change according to each takeover. One takeover could involve collaborating with a hugely popular Instagram influencer to piggyback off their success and gain new followers while another could involve using an expert to launch a new initiative or product.
  • Do your research: You need to do proper research to find hosts for your takeover that your brand aligns with. The right fit is often the key to creating a successful Instagram takeover. The right host might be an Instagram influencer, a brand ambassador, or even a staff member. Above all, they need to be someone you can trust.
  • Create a promotional plan: Set up a clearly defined promotional plan for your takeover. Your Instagram followers should know beforehand when it’s happening.
  • Set clear boundaries. Trust is crucial when collaborating with content creators, yet you still want to create clear boundaries and expectations when you’re handing the reigns over to a content creator. If you don’t, then they might take your “be creative” directive a little too literally! Be clear on what is (and what’s not) appropriate. If you want more control during the takeover, simply ask your host to submit content in advance that you can post on their behalf.
  • Be creative: Collaborating is all about experimentation. Try out new ideas as part of the takeover. Whether it’s the announcement, the creative content, or even the posting schedule, allow your hosts to express their creativity. If you trust them and they align with your brand they will create content that will fit perfectly with your objectives.
  • Measure success: The best way to tell whether the takeover is successful is to measure it against your initial objectives. Look at the analytics or the qualitative data that will determine the success of your tactics. Decide on your metrics and KPIs for measuring success before you launch your Instagram takeover. For instance, if your objective is to generate sales, how will you measure those sales? Which metric will you use? Presumably, you would use the number of conversions, but how will you attribute sales to the takeover? Perhaps you could use a particular unique discount code that will only be used and promoted during this Instagram takeover.

So, there you have it. Are you ready to launch a successful Instagram takeover? Remember; before you even think about hosting an Instagram Stories takeover, you should have a solid content marketing strategy in place. That content needs to grab the attention of new followers and keep them interested in the long term, not just for the duration of your takeover. Otherwise, any new followers you gain during the takeover will drop off in the long term.Your content marketing strategy should help you to craft a consistent social media calendar with a variety of Instagram Posts, Reels, and Stories for your followers. That way, you can maintain momentum and follow up on the fabulous content you’ve generated during your takeover. Keep posting and always keep your followers wanting more. Good luck!

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