Instagram Takeover: Tips for Success

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | Feb 16, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

Add a fun twist to your brand or influencer collaboration with an Instagram takeover. An Instagram takeover can give your account a refreshing change in mood and tone, a vivid and stimulating shift in aesthetic, or a delightfully new experience for your Live audience. It’s a fascinating and effective strategy to boost engagement and get more likes on Instagram. Here’s everything you need to know to host a successful Instagram takeover!

Man making a video with his phone for an Instagram takeover.

What Is an Instagram Takeover?

An Instagram takeover means having somebody else take over your account temporarily. The person taking over creates and shares their content through your profile and on your behalf. Takeovers are commonly done by influencers or celebrities for brands as part of a promotional collaboration.

The takeover provides your followers with an interesting shift in perspective about your brand and product/service. At the other end of the spectrum, the followers of the person taking over are given front-row seats as they learn about your brand and what you have to offer. With the right takeover partner and a well-planned collaboration, this strategy can be mutually beneficial, with you and your collaborator successfully tapping into each other’s audiences, effectively widening your reach, and boosting each other’s engagement levels. 

How Does an Instagram Takeover Work

There are two ways to do an Instagram takeover:

  1. You give account access to the takeover host. This allows the person to post natively from and for your account. They also create all the content. The Instagram takeover can be exclusively about a particular product/service; it can be a Live stream; it can be a Story Q&A; or they can simply post any brand-related content to your feed. During the takeover, they will also actively engage with your followers and promote their posts to their followers.
  2. You post content created by your collaborator. Your takeover “host” will prepare content in advance so you can post them throughout the duration of the takeover. You may opt for this method if you’re concerned about your account security.  

Woman sitting in front of a camera in a bookstore and doing an Instagram takeover.

Why Should You Let Somebody Else Takeover Your Account

Both you and your takeover host can reap amazing benefits from an Instagram takeover. Here are all the win-win reasons for a takeover collaboration!

  • An authentic and engaging way to raise brand or product awareness. An Instagram takeover lets you present your brand/product to a wider community and offer social proof of brand, product, and content quality to potential new followers/customers, thereby building your credibility. A takeover event is an amazing opportunity to make a good impression on a bigger audience.
  • You’re able to reach a new audience that’s already interested in what you have to offer. By partnering with the right influencer, celebrity, or brand, i.e., one whose follower base is similar to your target audience, you can make your presence known to genuinely interested users who have yet to discover you.
  • Share fresh and fascinating content from a new perspective. Your takeover host will bring with them their unique voice and brand of creativity so your audience can have a new experience and see you in a different and still flattering light. For the takeover host, featuring an amazing, new brand/product in their own posts and Stories is their bread and butter. An Instagram takeover can even be an opportunity to bring your followers on a journey, literally, if your takeover host is traveling, at a special event, or lives in another part of the world. 
  • Generate new and greater interest in your brand/product. A takeover is an exciting and unique event that your followers and new audiences will look forward to and won’t want to miss. The surge of interest will effectively boost engagement for your brand for the duration of the takeover event, and even after.

Man taking a video of a girl playing the violin for an Instagram takeover event.

How to Do an Instagram Takeover

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do an Instagram takeover that’s sure to become a resounding success!

1. Set a Goal

What’s the purpose of your takeover? Your goal will guide the direction that your host will take when creating content, as well as how you’ll measure the success of the takeover event. Do you want to build brand/product awareness? Do you want to reach a new audience and gain new followers? Do you want to promote a new product and boost sales? Or is there an upcoming event for which you want to ensure high engagement?

2. Select the Right Host for Your Instagram Takeover

How do you identify the best fit for your takeover event? Your host’s follower base should match your target audience and should be significantly larger than yours. They should have adequate experience working within your niche/industry to ensure that they have credibility with their audience. Their voice, values, and interests must be aligned with yours. They should have an actively engaged audience, which means they know how to create interesting content and they have built a meaningful connection with their followers.

3. Prepare the Framework for Your Instagram Takeover Event.

  • Decide on a format. Will it be a Live stream? Do you want your host to engage your audience in a Q&A? 
  • Set the parameters for your Instagram takeover event. Have all your requests and expections in writing, as well as any disclosure requirements. Do you have specific shooting requests? Will it involve feed and Story posts, and how often do you want your host to post on your account? Is there a theme or a particular topic you want your host to focus on? What types of content do you want delivered, e.g., photos, videos, reels, etc., and when should they deliver content for your approval? When will the event start and how long will the takeover run?
  • You should also decide on the hashtags you’ll use to get more likes and followers when you promote the Instagram takeover and during the takeover event itself. This is a good opportunity to use a branded hashtag.  
  • Make sure all submitted content meet your requirements and are aligned with your brand’s aesthetic, identity, and values.
  • Finalize all content before the start of the Instagram takeover event.

4. Promote Your Instagram Takeover

You and your takeover host should do this not only on your respective Instagram accounts, but also on your other social media pages.

Director giving instructions to two actors to represent conceptualizing for an Instagram takeover event.

What to Do on Instagram Takeover

Now it’s time for the Instagram takeover itself! What exactly should you do on an Instagram takeover?

Tips for a Brand for Take Over by an Influencer

If you’re the brand that’s relinquishing temporary control of your account to a collaborator, keep the following things in mind:

  • Make sure all content created by your takeover host for your account are pre-approved. This means all content has to be submitted for your approval before the takeover event.
  • At the same time, you should let your takeover host do what they do best — this is why you picked them in the first place! While you need to approve their content, they should still have ample room for their creative expression.
  • Don’t micromanage. With a prior agreement about exactly how the takeover event will be run, you should be able to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. During the takeover itself, you should let your host do their thing. This will ensure that the event will run smoothly and be successful, and that your collaboration will be a pleasant one and can lead to more in the future.
  • Keep track of the takeover event’s performance. Keep an eye on your Instagram Analytics to see how well the event is going. Take note of what works, so you can use it for your future content and future takeover events; and also identify areas that need improvement.

Tips for Instagram Takeover Host

If you’re the Instagram takeover host, here are some tips to help you deliver results that will satisfy your client and your audiences:

  • Remember to share all content you post for the brand you’re hosting to your own page’s feed and Stories. If you have permission to do so, you should also share your takeover content on your other social media pages to drive more people to the brand’s Instagram page.
  • On your own Instagram page, regularly promote the takeover event and encourage your followers to join you and participate with likes and comments. Encourage your followers to give the Instagram account you’re collaborating with a follow.
  • Stay on top of things and keep your partner brand posted through regular end-of-day reports to demonstrate your commitment and reliability. This may also ensure future projects with the brand.

Instagram Takeover Examples

If you need inspiration for your own Instagram takeover, here are some examples from brands that did it well and reaped amazing results!

  • Fenty Family Takeovers which featured influencers and makeup artists using Fenty products to create flawless looks and sharing makeup tips and tricks.
  • NatGeo Featured Stories Takeovers let some of National Geographics renowned photographers take over the account with more than 100 million followers to showcase behind-the-scenes content and a more in-depth and intimate look at their featured stories. A great example is from photographer Stephen Wilkes’s takeover.

A screenshot of Natgeo's Instagram post taken by Stephen Wilkes.

A screenshot of littlebrown's Instagram post where the author of Simple Comforts Step by Step cookbook tookover their account.

Instagram Takeover Ideas

For more Instagram takeover ideas, check out this list!

  • If you have a limited budget, you can have some of your team members host your Instagram takeover. Although budget was not an issue for Finnair, Finland’s largest airline, this is exactly what they did for a brand-building campaign. A few of their flight attendants took turns hosting a series of takeovers for the company’s Instagram account.
  • Create an Instagram contest  wherein the winner will get the chance to host your Instagram takeover event! For The Calgary Stampede event, for example, the city of Calgary invited photographers to submit photo entries using the hashtag #Instastampede, and 9 were selected for a day-long Instagram takeover of Calgary Stampede’s account during the annual 10-day, city-wide celebration.
  • Feature new and up-and-coming influencers. Don’t just focus on industry influencers with a huge following. You should also consider those with a smaller, niche following (but still bigger than yours) and even those who are just starting. Just make sure their audience, although relatively smaller, is actively engaged. This is the ideal option if you have a small budget; at the same time, you’ll be guaranteed new followers who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
  • Do seasonal Instagram takeover events. Holidays are always perfect for themed content. You can easily reuse the influencer-generated content from you holiday-themed Instagram takeover for your other social media pages. Given that you can always expect to be extra busy during holidays, having ready-made and professionally done content from your takeover ensures high engagement across all your social platforms with minimum effort on your part.

Final Thoughts: Let Somebody Else Take the Helm of Your Instagram to Deliver Fresh and Authentic Content

Doing an Instagram takeover is a great strategy for widening your audience reach, increasing brand/product awareness, gaining new followers, and boosting engagement. What’s even better is you get to sit back and relax while you reap the benefits! You’ll have to do a lot of planning beforehand, of course, but a successful takeover will deliver amazing results long after it’s over. So make sure that you get everything right during the planning stage!

Speaking of collaborations with Instagram experts, you should also consider teaming up with a pro in Instagram growth strategy, a growth service company like Path Social. Take advantage of Path Social’s advanced audience targeting capability to find followers who are the best match for your brand. Let Path Social’s in-house team of social media specialists organically promote your content and put it in front of the right people to give you a big engagement boost. Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today!