All You Need to Know About Instagram Takeovers: How to Host a Takeover in 6 Simple Steps

Even though Instagram takeovers seem trendy now, they first started to gain popularity back in 2012 with brands like General Electric, Burberry and Food Republic inviting Instagrammers to take over their feeds for a day.

What started out as a fun way for brands and Instagrammers to collaborate, has now transitioned into one of the valuable aspects of any Instagram marketing strategy.

If you are wondering what Instagram takeovers are and how to organize them to boost your Instagram marketing efforts, this post is for you! We’ll go through six steps of a successful Instagram takeover, covering the various types of guests and takeovers and the ways to promote your takeovers.


What is an Instagram takeover?

An Instagram takeover is the process of taking over someone else’s Instagram account temporarily and sharing content with their audience. Instagram takeovers are an incredible way for brands, individuals and influencers to collaborate and cross-promote content.

Takeovers started with brands allowing other Instagrammers to post photos to their feeds for a short period of time and have continued to evolved alongside Instagram’s feature set. Video, Stories and live video updates have all added new, and exciting, dimensions to Instagram takeovers.

Why do takeovers work so well?

According to Gary Vaynerchuk, a well-known entrepreneur and social media marketer:

These takeovers are not only fun, but are also a great example of a 50/50 value exchange-a partnership that’s mutually and equally beneficial.

With a takeover, the host gets someone who can bring value to their followers while the guest gets to reach a new audience with their content. It most cases, it’s a win-win situation.

Here’s our guide on how to organize a takeover…

6 Steps to organizing a successful Instagram takeover

1. Set goals and metrics to watch

When it comes to organizing an Instagram takeover, you might want to first consider your goals for the and the metrics you want to track.

Your goals will influence the strategy behind your takeover and the metrics you choose will allow you to measure the success of the takeover.

Here are a few goals and the relevant metrics you could consider:

  1. Increase brand awareness – Followers growth, reach, number of views, number of mentions on other channels, etc.
  2. Engage the community – Number of interactions (likes, comments, views, or direct messages), number of live viewers, etc.
  3. Promote a product or an event – Traffic to your website, number of conversions, number of attendees, etc.

For example, Kuno Creative, an inbound marketing agency, experimented with having employees take over the company’s Instagram account. Their goals were:

  1. To grow Kuno’s following, presence, and activity on Instagram
  2. To make Kuno’s company culture and values transparent and top-of-mind by consistently providing engaging visuals

The metrics they measured were followers growth and engagement rate, which they defined as (“Likes” + “Comments”) / “Followers at the end of a takeover”.


Side note: They found that the average weekly engagement rate on their Instagram account grew by +17.14% through the employee takeovers. If you are curious to learn more, Andrew Osegi of Kuno Creative wrote a great article about their employee Instagram takeovers and the things they learned from the experiment.

2. Decide on your guest

Once you have decided on your goals and metrics, the next thing to consider is who to invite as a guest. There are three common types of guests. Depending on the objective of your takeover, you might want to choose one type of guest over another.

Here are the three main types of guest you could work with for an Instagram takeover:

  1. Influencers
  2. Employees or colleagues
  3. Community members or customers

Let’s take a look at each of them below…


The most common type of guest is influencers. With this type of takeover, influencers in your industry would usually take over your account and share content aligned with their area of expertise.

Having an influencer on your company’s Instagram account is a great endorsement for your brand. It shows your followers that the influencer trusts your brand. Your followers will also benefit from being able to hear from an industry expert. It’s similar to having a well-known guest on your podcast, Facebook Live, or Twitter chat.

What are influencer takeovers good for?

  • Providing value through useful content
  • Driving social engagement
  • Raising brand awareness

Example: Last year, Brian Fanzo, millennial keynote speaker and change evangelist, took over Buffer’s Instagram Stories to share social media and community building advice.

Brian Fanzo Instagram Takeover

Employees or colleagues

The next most common type of guest is employees (or your colleagues). Through an Instagram takeover, your colleagues can give your followers an insider’s view of the company and connect with them on a personal level.

Your colleagues can share about your company from their perspectives. Their perspective of the company might be very different from yours, making such takeovers fun and entertaining for your followers. Letting them take over your company’s Instagram will also add variety to the account and allow your followers to hear from and interact with more people from your company.

What are colleagues takeovers good for?

  • Engaging your community and building relationships
  • Showcasing your company culture
  • Building your brand image

Example: In the past, we experimented with this strategy. We called it #weekinthelife where Buffer team members took turns to share about their life for a week. As a fully-distributed team, this was a fun way to share our way of working and connect with our community.

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