How to Plan and Execute Smooth Instagram Takeovers

Everything you need to know about plotting a takeover that nets both you and your guest Instagrammer more likes and followers

You’ve seen the enthusiastic posts on Instagram with their gleeful announcements: “We’re being taken over! By someone really interesting! Stay tuned!”

Instagram takeovers—the practice of giving a feed over entirely to a person or group so they can create and post content for a defined period of time—have been around for years. And for good reason. When executed well, takeovers can boost the followings of both feeds, whip up consumer enthusiasm and loyalty through association, and even help a business access an untapped consumer demographic.

While takeovers can look like casual affairs, their success comes down to careful planning. We asked Julie L. Gotz, chief marketing officer for Freshley Media, a multimedia marketing firm for independent jewelry retailers based in Charleston, S.C., to share her top tips for deploying a takeover with teeth.

Goal Setting

A takeover should be timed to something you want to promote or align your business with. “You don’t want to do a takeover just because it sounds cool—you want a clear goal going in,” Gotz says. If the goal is to bring awareness to a new brand in your store, for example, ask the brand’s designer to do a takeover in advance of a trunk show.

Takeover Artist

When tapping guest Instagrammers, consider not only how many followers they have, but also who those followers are. “The main goal of a takeover is usually to get followers,” Gotz says. “Whoever your guest poster will be, you want to make sure their posts will expose your brand to a different audience.”

Time Trials

You can have someone take over your feed for a single hour or for several days. But single-day takeovers are becoming standard. Gotz cites the cute hashtag #takeovertuesday—the practice of organizing takeovers on Tuesdays—as a good way for newbies to get in on the Insta-trend.

Due Diligence

Gotz says a formal contract between the company and guest Instagrammers usually isn’t necessary, but stresses the importance of creating a document that sets clear parameters and relays pertinent details regarding what you expect from the guest poster. That document should include how often you expect him or her to post, how you want posts hashtagged (come up with a proprietary hashtag for your takeovers), and notes on formatting posts and stories. You should stipulate, for example, the way all guest posts are to begin (e.g., “It’s Liam here”). 

Letting Go

Kick off any takeover with a well-­designed announcement that runs on all your social channels the day or night before the takeover. Make sure your takeover artist posts the graphic to his or her feed, too. Then let go of the reins. Completely. Great takeovers are surprising and energetic—qualities that wither under micromanagement. “Trying to control a takeover’s every nuance goes against the spirit of takeovers,” Gotz says. “And I get it, it can be really scary letting go of your content. But that’s where the preplanning comes in—to let everyone know what’s expected of them.”

(Jose Luis Pelaez Inc./Blend Images/Getty)

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