Do you look for ways to reach more people with your Stories? Wondering whether an Instagram Story takeover is a good way to grow your following? FACT: Instagram takeovers are one of the hottest trends on the social network. Many brands have already jumped onto hashtags such as #TakeoverTuesday to plan their own takeovers. But what makes an Instagram Story takeover so special? Why are they the next trend social media marketers and content marketers are focusing on so much? Most importantly, how can you host a successful takeover for your brand? Here is everything you need to know. What is an Instagram Story Takeover? An Instagram takeover is the process of “handing out” your account to someone else, to give them control of your brand. In a takeover, you let someone else run your account (or take it over) and publish regular Instagram posts. Takeover content your guests’ posts, typically, depends on them, and for the duration of the event, they become the owners of your account. Typically, takeovers last a day, and may often coincide with a special event. Here’s an example of a typical Instagram takeover: How do Instagram Takeovers Work Think of an Instagram Story 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 number of people to post directly on your profile. So why do you want to run an Instagram takeover? Benefits of Hosting an Instagram Story Takeover There are many reasons to consider hosting an Instagram takeover. Brand awareness One of the most important reasons to consider running an Instagram takeover is to boost your brand awareness. Inviting an influencer or someone with a solid following base in your niche can be a great opportunity to reach the right audience. Your brand is expanding by tapping into the new host’s followers in the most authentic way. Increased engagement An Instagram Story takeover can boost your engagement by inviting more people to like and comment on your posts. Instagram Stories takeovers can lead to increased engagement through Question stickers, Live sessions, Quizzes, etc. You’re able to appeal to your audience with content that makes the approach more authentic. Building trust There can be long-term value in successful Instagram takeovers. Once you manage to invite the right people to take over your account, your followers are starting to trust your partnerships. Knowing who to invite to your takeovers can be the key to building trust between your brand and your followers. The more they trust your guests, the easier it will be to grab their attention in the future. Community building Instagram takeovers can be ideal when you are at the very early stages of building your community. It’s not just about building trust but it’s also about ‘convincing’ the 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 your content. A reputable guest serves as an additional voice supporting your brand. They can reflect your brand’s values so make sure you spend the right time to pick them. Employee advocacy Not all Instagram takeovers involve influencers and external partnerships. There are many internal takeovers that involve your teams taking over your Instagram account for a day. An Instagram Story takeover that involves your employees can boost your brand’s and team’s culture. It makes your team feel more involved in your digital marketing plan but it also gives your followers an idea of your daily routine among colleagues. It’s a win-win situation! 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 a brand takeover but you still need to go through the logistics that will make your takeover successful. There are three main stages in the planning process of a successful Instagram takeover: Deciding on a guest who’d take over your Instagram account, Planning how to promote the event, and Creating guidelines for the takeover your guest will abide by. Let’s go through them in turn: Decide on Your Instagram Takeover Guest The first step is to create a list of potential guests for your Instagram takeover. You need to think of the criteria that will affect your final decision. Theme: Think of the topic that you want to focus on. Research on the guests that would be relevant to talk about it. Guest’s popularity: If you want to expand your reach, you can look at the number of followers, the engagement rate or the growing popularity of your potential guests. Be careful, the number of followers is not always an actual indication of someone’s popularity if the followers are fake. Brand fit: It’s important to research your potential guests before you give them access to your account. Look at their content and whether they make the right fit for your brand. This is important if you want to build trust with your followers. Availability: If you need to host a takeover as soon as possible, then some high profile guests might not be available in short notice. Timing can help you narrow down your options. Budget: Will the takeover require any budget? Whether it’s the partnership, the creative assets or any additional help, think of your requirements right at the start. Promoting an Instagram Takeover Promotion is critical to the success of your Instagram takeover. The first step is to announce the takeover. Both your brand and your guest should share an image to promote the takeover to both audiences. 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 plan for your promotional activities. Treat your takeover as an 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 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 guest’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 Story to share the key moments of the day. You could even write a blog about it to use it as a guide for future takeovers with potential guests. Create Guidelines for Your Instagram Takeover An Instagram Story takeover is like a brand partnership. Whether it’s too professional or more casual, you still need to prepare for it. Here are some aspects to consider in your planning process. Brand values: Share your brand values with your guest 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 still help your guest understand what’s critical for you and how your audience perceives your brand. Posting guidelines: Your posting guidelines can be part of your 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 guest should not necessarily adhere to these but they can still provide a starting point when introducing them to your brand. For example, your brand’s colors can still be part of a guest’s creative process to make the various types of content you publish consistent. Monitoring plan: It’s useful to have a monitoring plan 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. Posting access: Another thing to consider when planning an Instagram takeover is the access you are giving to your account. You can give full access to your account or you can ask the guest to submit their content in advance so you can post it. In the first case, you can create a temporary password for your account and change it after the takeover to protect your account’s security. If you are worried about giving to a guest full access to your account, you can ask them to send over their posts in advance for you to share them on the day. It might not be as authentic as the first option, but it can still be an alternative for your brand. Instagram Story Takeovers – Best Practices Let’s look now at the best practices that will turn your Instagram takeover into a success. Set a goal Start by setting a 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 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 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 takeovers If you’re looking for inspiration and creative ideas for your takeover, look at what others are doing. Hashtags like #takeover, #brandtakeover, and #TakeoverTuesday are very trendy But you can also use a branded hashtag to run the takeover. Mix Instagram feed and Stories There’s no need to limit your Instagram takeover in one format. You can create posts for your Instagram feed but you can also share Stories during the day. It depends on your guest’s availability, their creative skills, and the commitment to the partnership. The options are endless! Make it different than your usual posts 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 guest 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 the guests express themselves. As long as they adhere to your overall brand guidelines, they should be able to highlight their authentic voice on your account. Takeaways An Instagram takeover can help your brand reach a new audience. It can also boost your engagement while building your community. All you need is a plan that reflects your 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 takeovers can help you achieve them. Do your research: Don’t skip the research to find the best guests for your brand’s takeover. The right fits can be the key to your success. Create a promotional plan: Set up a promotional plan for your takeover. Your followers should know beforehand when it’s happening. Be creative: Try out new ideas as part of the takeover. Whether it’s the announcement, the creative freedom or even the posting habits, allow your guests to express their creativity. 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. Ready to host your Instagram takeover?