Last month, I shared some of our experiences crafting and creating an Instagram takeover. A kind of “mini-influencer campaign”, they’re a fantastic way to drum up creative content and drive interest in your brand.
If you missed that post (linked above), head on back and give it a read, because in this piece I’m going to walk you through how to host and promote an Instagram takeover.
Hosting and Promoting an Instagram Takeover
Ok, let’s get started. I’m going to assume you’ve done your homework! Your objectives are established, benchmarks documented, and you’ve mapped out how you’ll measure the success of this campaign. Your ideal Instagram’er has signed on the dotted line, and the launch date is set… now what?
Step One: Choose the Right Facilitator
Your first step must be to assign the role of facilitator to the person best equipped to handle this type of campaign. Don’t forget, you’re putting a lot of trust in the social media influencer you’ve chosen—literally giving them “the keys to the kingdom.” And you definitely need someone at the agency level to keep eagle eyes on the process.
The person you choose as facilitator should be well-organized and have a deep knowledge of Instagram (including community management). They must also know the brand inside and out, including the community culture with which the brand aligns itself. This will help head off any potential issues that might arise. They also must have excellent account management skills.
Step Two: Work Out a Loose Script
Consider drafting a loose script—including suggested talking points and what to avoid (if anything). Share it on Google Docs or another cloud-based spreadsheet software program so everyone in your team has easy access to it. As a rule of thumb, we typically plan for eight to 10 posts per Instagram takeover.
Include Instagram Stories if it makes sense for your guest Instagram’er and they’re comfortable with that idea. (Depending on your video capabilities, you may want to incorporate the new IGTV app too!)
Step Three: Prepare your Instagram Influencer
Make sure your influencer has high-level details of the event plan, including to-dos and any relevant brand information, at least two weeks in advance.
Consider including content development ideas and suggestions for possible narratives. And lay out crystal clear expectations around responding to comments.
A week or so before the event, schedule a video chat or face-to-face meeting with your Instagram takeover host and your team (or, at the very least, your facilitator). Use this opportunity to confirm processes, manage expectations—on both ends—and answer any questions your influencer might have about the day of the event.
The day before/morning of takeover day, follow up again with your guest host to make sure they’re prepared and comfortable with what’s expected of them.
Step Four: Decide on Content in Advance
The Instagram’er who is taking over the account is typically responsible for creating the content for the posts, including photos and/or graphics, and copy. They should also suggest set publishing times for posts (and story).
Always be sure your takeover day has a clear beginning (an introductory post—maybe of how your host starts their day) and a clear ending (signing off, going to bed, finishing work, etc.). This way followers are clear that the event has ended.
As an example of beginnings and ends, here’s how Booktrack started and ended their Instagram takeover with influencer, Alessandra Torre.
How to Promote Your Instagram Takeover
Prepare promotional content for you and your guest well in advance, along with high-level instructions on how your promotional plan will roll out. Launch your promotional plan on all your social media accounts and blogs, as well as your guest host’s accounts/blog, at least two weeks in advance of the big day.
On the day of the Instagram takeover, continue promoting it, and cross-promote it with your Instagram influencer. This is a great way to increase the followings for both Instagram accounts.
UK based Wilton Cakes put their decorating skills to good use and created bright, cheerful creative to promote their Instagram takeover!
And while one-offs are great, driving continued engagement through a series of takeovers is even better! The cast of Riverdale are notorious for their Instagram takeovers, and fans love them, as you can see from these numbers!
Woo-Hoo it’s Takeover Day!
After all your hard work and preparation, it’s finally takeover day. Give yourselves a well-deserved pat on the back, but also make sure you don’t take your eyes off the ball! Here’s how:
Set up open communication lines with your Instagram’er: With all your pre-planning, everything should run smoothly. But, in case they don’t, or you need to pivot mid-day, you’ll want to be able to get in touch with each other, and fast. Texting is typically the quickest and easiest channel to use, but Slack, WhatsApp and Skype are other options. Just make sure your guest has easy access to and is comfortable using the channel you choose.
Publish content. It’s recommended your facilitator be responsible for publishing the posts throughout the day, as planned according to the script. Update and finalize the posts once you have your guest’s content. If you’re using a third-party publishing platform, double-check to ensure every post is being published as scheduled and displays as expected.
Monitor and respond to posts. This responsibility lies with both your facilitator and your Instagram takeover host. That said, your team should monitor the account hourly to ensure the conversation is flowing smoothly and posts are published according to plan. Have steps already in place for handling spam or inappropriate comments, and deal with them in a timely manner.
Your influencer should be checking the account at regular intervals and engaging with the community. Ask them to commit to replying to questions and comments at regular intervals (e.g. every 20 mins in the morning, again at lunch, and to check in again an hour or so before end of day).
Now it’s Time to Analyze Your Results
Your first Instagram takeover should be run as both a learning experience and a test to confirm it’s the right approach, both for how your teams function and for the particular brand. It’s also an important opportunity to set benchmarks and expectations for future events.
When we conduct an initial Instagram takeover, we pick the top performing post on Instagram prior to the takeover. Then, we examine the following:
- Direct messages
- Instagram Story activity (views, clicks, and comments)
- And the size of the account following as our benchmark and other relevant metrics (e.g. website views, downloads, sign-ups, etc.)
We track metrics for each post published as part of the takeover and compare them to our benchmark. Here’s an example of how we tracked basic engagement for the Booktrack Instagram Takeover.
You can also look at the size of the following afterwards to see how effective you were in growth and comment sentiment.
Was the event a success? If so, tweak if necessary, lather, rinse and repeat. If not, explore where balls dropped, or implement changes to the plan to help increase engagement. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to try again.
If you’ve been part of an Instagram takeover, please share any tips or tricks you learned from your experience in the comments below. Have more questions? Share them in the comments as well.
A version of this post originally appeared on Spin Sucks.