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Written by Dhariana Lozano

Last modified March 25, 2020 at 10:17 am

8 Key Steps for a Successful Instagram Takeover

[[updated February 21, 2018]]

Growing and maintaining your audience on Instagram can be difficult. Using Instagram takeovers are a great way to grow your audience, get new eyes on your brand, or give your audience a “reward” for following you.

In this post I’ll outline the key steps in creating a successful Instagram takeover.

1. Define Your Takeover Goals and Benchmarks

The first and arguably most important step in creating and executing a successful Instagram takeover is figuring out what goals you want to achieve.

Understanding what you’d like the end result of the takeover to be will help you to construct a solid plan for getting the most out of your campaign. To get you started here are some of the goals you can aim to achieve with your takeover:

  1. Grow your Instagram audience
  2. Launch or promote a product
  3. Build brand awareness/ Reach a new audience
  4. Build community
  5. Surprise and delight fans
  6. Drive web traffic
  7. Increase engagement

2. Choose Your Partner/Influencers Wisely

The next step in executing a successful Instagram takeover is choosing the right influencer or partner. How you choose your Instagram takeover partner or influencer will be largely based on your goals.

Not all takeovers require an influencer, but working with someone with a following is ideal for growing your audience and exposing your brand to new eyes. On the other hand, if this takeover is being held to give your audience a behind the scenes look at an event, an employee can be perfect for the task.

First, let’s review some basics to keep in mind when working with an influencer:

  • A following that aligns with your target consumer: This is the most important thing to pay attention to. Influencer marketing won’t work unless your influencer’s audience is a match to your target consumer. Have a clear buyer persona in mind when looking at the influencer’s followers.
  • An engaged following: There is no point to an influencer if their posts don’t generate actions. You wouldn’t pay for an ad in a magazine no one reads right?
  • Content that aligns with your brand’s image/message/aesthetic.
  • A user who knows what they’re doing: Pay attention to what is being posted. Are they getting all the action on cute cat pictures but none on other messages? If so, pass. Also pay attention to if the person or brand is using the correct format for the network (tagging handles correctly etc.)

Many times, individuals with smaller, more targeted followings see much higher engagement and conversion rates on their posts. Some influencers may not have the largest social media following, but drive a lot of blog traffic. So again, pay close attention to their audience, how many people actually engage with their content.

From the comments in the post below, you can see that followers of Sweety High are already excited to engage with upcoming takeover guest Lauren Orlando.

instagram takeover announcement - picture of sweetyhigh instagram account
For Instagram takeovers that don’t require influencers (think behind the scenes at your company) remember to choose someone that has authority within your organization, or someone that is charismatic (for videos) or that can create great content.

3. Consider the Takeover Plan and Logistics

After choosing who you’ll be working with you’ll want to work out the Instagram takeover details and deadlines. This includes:

  • Planning enough time to promote the takeover (I recommend at least two weeks for promotion)
  • Time to create the campaign content
  • A timeline for how the takeover will happen
  • How often will the host be posting from your account
  • What metrics you’ll keep track of (keep reading for advice on what to measure)
  • Establishing ways to get extra content if possible (behind the scenes photos, outtakes etc.)

Let your partner/influencer be a part of the process. They will give you insight into what will work for their audience, and what kind of content will ensure you get the results you are looking for. Setting clear expectations and tasks with your Instagram takeover partner will help the process run as smoothly as possible.

Remember that not all takeovers will be live. Have your partner or influencer submit content ahead of the takeover. This not only helps you approve and “control” what is being posted to your accounts, but you can schedule everything ahead of time and keep control within your team. You can coordinate with your influencer for “in the moment” posts. For any takeover using Instagram Stories, I suggest working with someone your team can physically be with. If a password has to be handed over be sure to have parameters in place in case something goes awry.

4. Create a Branded Hashtag

Creating a branded hashtag for you Instagram takeover is important because it will help you:

  • Monitor the campaign and user posts or comments
  • Track the performance of the campaign through number of posts to the hashtag, user engagement, impressions etc.
  • Establish a reference point. Creating and using a hashtag for your Instagram takeover will let you or users who may have stumbled upon the campaign later to look back at all posts which included the hashtag – letting them follow the story.

In this example, Chicago theater Brown Paper Bag Co. used the hashtag #FollowMichael to see actor Michael Brigance’s takeover of its account.

instagram takeover hashtag - picture of bpbco instagram account

5. Promote Your Takeover

Now that your Instagram takeover is planned and you’ve got all your content in one place, it’s time to promote your takeover. As mentioned before I suggest at least two weeks of lead time to let your audience know about the takeover.

schedule instagram takeover

This yoga studio in Texas announced its upcoming takeover two days in advance.

This doesn’t mean you need to post about it every day, but use a spot or two in your content calendar to build buzz. As mentioned above, get all your content together ahead of time and use a tool like Agorapulse to schedule everything, including cross promoting the Instagram takeover on other social networks.

instagram publishing calendar

Pre-scheduling posts lets you “set it and forget it” – leaving you with more time for community management and building around the takeover.

With Agorapulse you can schedule a post on desktop, or publish directly. It’s even possible to set an image to repost multiple times over a defined number of days, which could be a great way to remind your audience of the upcoming takeover!

Make sure your Instagram takeover influencer or partner is promoting the takeover on their end as well. Remember to get employees involved to amplify the initial push!

7. Measure Your Results

After you’ve completed your Instagram takeover don’t forget to measure your results! This is when you’ll be glad you created and used a hashtag with your Instagram takeover. In general you should keep track of:

  • Posts using the hashtag, especially if you asked your audience to post using the hashtag.
  • Follower numbers
  • Interaction with each takeover post

Remember to set up your tracking and decide what you will be tracking before you begin your campaign. Tracking Instagram campaigns can be difficult manually, so here’s another reason why I love Agorapulse.

With “Reports” you can monitor the growth of your Instagram account, and even monitor your specific hashtag and keep track of its performance. Agorapulse will pull in comments left on photos, and posts using your hashtag and lets you respond to them right from the web dashboard or mobile app.

Instagram management tool Agorapulse

8. Extend Your Campaign

Just because your Instagram takeover is over, doesn’t mean you can’t get more legs out of the campaign.

Compile all your takeover posts and create a blog post you can drive followers back to, or repost any user posts related to the campaign. Maybe you can release “behind the scenes” footage of the takeover.

I hope this clears up some questions about how to create a successful Instagram takeover and that this post gets your wheels turning about how to use this kind of campaign for your brand.


8 important steps for a successful Instagram takeover.
Dhariana Lozano

Dhariana Lozano has been in the social media and digital marketing world for over a decade. She is the President of Block And Ave., a boutique social media marketing firm based in New York City. Her experience ranges in creating social media strategies and consulting for B2B and B2C brands, entrepreneurs and personalities to help them stand out and break through digital walls for ongoing success. She blogs at where she provides social media tips, resources and courses. She is a Hubspot Academy course contributor, Social Media Today Expert, and you can find her articles in Social Media Week, Business 2 Community and the AgoraPulse blog. You can connect with Dhariana by sending her a tweet @DhariLo or following her on Instagram @DhariLo.

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