Instagram Takeovers: Are You Ready to Give an Influencer the Keys to the Kingdom?

Monday Post - Spodek & Co - June 18 2018Have you heard about Instagram takeovers yet? If the answer is no, it would seem you’re not alone.

Recently, I was in the middle of a discussion about Instagram takeovers in the private Spin Sucks Slack community (which is an awesome group which you can join for free!). And it seemed that people had more Instagram questions than answers!

So, as someone whose firm has managed Instagram takeovers for brands, I thought it would be helpful to share my insights with you.

What is an Instagram Takeover?

An Instagram takeover is basically a mash-up of user-generated content meets social media marketing meets influencer campaign.

You quite literally give an influencer the keys to the kingdom (access to your Instagram account). Then, they publish to your account for a fixed period of time, typically a day. It’s an excellent way to give fans and followers a little peek behind the curtain.

The goal is for both you and the influencer to promote the takeover to your communities, inviting them to visit, 💗  the post, leave comments, and even repost.

Here’s a great example of a creative Instagram takeover by clothing brand Everlane. Where did they go when they needed to illustrate just how warm their down puffer coats are? Well, Canada of course. In fact, they sent an influencer along with photographers and filmmakers to one of the coldest parts of the world.

They returned with compelling Instagram content, including stunning wintery images and a well-received short film!

Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More!

An Instagram takeover isn’t as easy—or as spontaneous—as it looks. It requires a lot of planning—here’s a few things you’ll need before you move ahead:

  • A schedule for the period before, during, and after the takeover.
  • A promotional plan, a loose script, a unique hashtag, and most of all, a cooperative partner.
  • And most importantly, a solid understanding of how the platform works (or hire someone who does to help you).

Ideally, having an already decent sized Instagram following helps make this tactic a win for everyone involved. Also important? Finding an Instagram-savvy takeover partner with a creative approach to imagery and storytelling.

What are the Benefits of an Instagram Takeover?

According to the latest statistics from Pew Research, 35 percent of U.S. adults now say they use this Instagram. And 34 percent of Canadians surveyed by Statistics Canada are also active users. This is an increase of 14 percent over 2016.

There are currently upwards of 25 million businesses using Instagram globally. And small businesses make up the majority of Instagram advertisers and business profiles. According to Instagram, 80 percent of users follow at least one business on the app. And more than half hear about a product and service through the platform.

In fact, over 120 million users say they’ve visited a website, got directions, or connected directly with a business using the platform. Overall, you’re looking at pretty solid numbers!

Grow Your Audience With an Instagram Takeover

So, let’s assume it’s the right platform for your brand (or your client’s). Here’s how planning and executing an Instagram takeover can help engage and grow your audience:

  • You introduce your account to an influencer’s audience.
  • Providing a special “treat” for your Instagram followers sparks conversation and drives anticipatory engagement.
  • And you increase awareness of your Instagram account and add new followers.

In the case of Spodek & Co., our client wanted to introduce customers (and prospects) to new books in their catalogue. We recommended inviting authors to do an Instagram takeover.

Here’s an example of an Instagram Takeover we did for Booktrack to help promote the addition of romance writer Alessandra Torre’s new book to their catalogue. She shared her day in photos and anecdotes, and wrote about some of the places and life experiences that inspired both her career and her current novel.

Instagram Takeovers: Three Tips for Success

Determine your objective: What do you want to accomplish from an Instagram takeover?

Set benchmarks: Look at your most successful or top performing post to date. Then, make a note of the analytics and other ways you determined it was the top performer. Use that data to establish benchmarks and set expectations for your takeover. After the takeover, measure your results. Compare how well it performed versus your best post prior to the takeover. Then set benchmarks for future Instagram takeovers (assuming you’re pleased with the results).

Select your Instagram influencer carefully: Choose an influencer with a strong digital footprint. They should be a regular Instagram user with a reasonably large following. They must be confident using the Instagram platform and open to promoting the takeover on their account as well.

Watch this space for part two of this series, coming up soon. I’ll share the steps involved in hosting and promoting an Instagram takeover.

In the meantime, if you’ve been part of an Instagram takeover, please share any tips or tricks you learned from your experience in the comments below.

*A version of this post first appeared on Spin Sucks.

Line drawn peony from Spodek & Co Digital marketing site