Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Takeovers…


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.

Related: How to Choose the Best Social Media Marketing Tool for Your Business

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 evolve 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:

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.”

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.

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 colleague 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.

Community members or customers

You can also invite community members, customers or ambassadors of your company to take over your company’s Instagram account and share their experiences that are relevant to your company and followers.

Instagram is always about community. Having community members or customers take over your company’s Instagram account shows that you value and trust them. It also shows that you are proud of your community and customers that you are willing to let them post on your Instagram account. Furthermore, they might share a different perspective on your industry and help create diversity in your content through user-generated content.

What are community takeovers good for?

  • Building relationships with your community and customers
  • Creating user-generated content
  • Showcasing your awesome customers

Example: Sony Alpha invites photographers who use its cameras to take over its Instagram feed and share photographs taken with a Sony Alpha camera.

Bonus: Guest on another Instagram account

Instead of inviting guests to take over your company’s Instagram account, consider representing your company as a guest for someone else’s Instagram takeover — an influencer, a community member or even another company.

Related: 9 Powerful Time-Saving Tips to Help Grow Your Brand on Instagram

This is an excellent way to reach a new audience that has been built by someone else, without too much effort. It is unlikely that you two have the exact same followers so such takeovers help to expose your company to new people. If you have a great brand, it’s likely that your community would love to have you on their Instagram accounts, making such partnerships easy to organize. Imagine how cool it’ll be to have your favorite brands appear on your Instagram account!

What is it good for?

  • Building brand awareness
  • Reaching new audience

Example: When Brian Fanzo took over Buffer’s Instagram Stories, Brian Peters, our social media manager, also took over Brian Fanzo’s Instagram Stories as Buffer 

3. Choose a type of takeover

Thanks to the amazing features on Instagram, there is more than one type of content your guests can post on your company’s Instagram account. They could:

  1. Create Instagram posts
  2. Post in your Instagram Stories
  3. Go live with your Instagram account

Instagram posts

Having your guest post on your Instagram gallery is the original way of taking over an Instagram account. This helps to add variety to your Instagram gallery.

For example, WeightWatchers invites its member to take over its Instagram account for a day to share about themselves, their favorite food and recipes and their experiences through Instagram posts.

Instagram Stories

Sometimes, you might want to keep your Instagram gallery to a certain theme or you have set guidelines for your Instagram posts. Instagram Stories can be a great way for a guest to take over your account without posting on your gallery.

For instance, ThinkGrowProsper posts inspirational quotes and tips on its gallery so a takeover to post on its gallery might not be suitable. Hence, Ruben Chavez, the owner of the account, invited Gary Vaynerchuk to take over ThinkGrowProsper’s Instagram Stories instead.