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Instagram, Marketing

How To Run a Successful Instagram Stories Takeover

Hosting an Instagram Stories takeover is one of the easiest ways to organically reach new followers and build your brand on Instagram.

And the best part? They’re a win-win collaboration for both brands and influencers.

If you’re thinking about running an Instagram Stories takeover, but you’re not sure how to do it, this post will teach you everything you need to know.

Plus, we’ve created a free downloadable checklist to keep you right on track! 

How to run an Instagram stories takeover

What is an Instagram Stories Takeover?

Instagram Stories takeovers usually involve a person temporarily “taking over” your Instagram account to give followers a look inside your company or products from a new perspective.

As a business owner, you can partner up with an influencer or customer to have them run your Instagram Stories posts, giving your audience insight into not just your products and services, but your takeover partner’s recommendations and opinions.

An alternative is to take over another profile’s account — this opens you up to a brand new target audience and a chance to grow your community.

Whether you’re handing over the reins of your account, or stepping into the shoes of another, Instagram Stories takeovers are a sure-fire way to grow your following, community and drive sales!

Why do Instagram Stories Takeovers Work so Well?

Let’s say that an influencer takes over your account for the day, sharing a ton of great content that aligns with your brand.

This can be a powerful way to raise awareness of your brand and products, while still sharing authentic and engaging content.

And takeovers can be super valuable for influencers too.

With the right takeover, an influencer can reach a whole new, engaged audience — while also receiving recognition as an expert in their field.

In a recent Summer Fridays takeover, beauty pro @candidlyangie shared her daily skincare routine — which featured several Summer Fridays products.

how to run an instagram stories takeover

This gives a fresh, personable voice to Summer Friday’s Instagram Stories, while also showing viewers how real people use their products — a powerful advert for any brand.

And Instagram Stories takeovers don’t have to be limited to influencers. Brands can also benefit from stepping into each other’s accounts.

Instagram stories takeover brand aesthetic

At Later, we partnered with @lifelapse_app to host a takeovers that provided real value to our followers — and created a cross-promotion opportunity too!

Ready to jump right in? Download your Instagram Stories takeover checklist and get started now!


How to Run an Instagram Stories Takeover 

If you’re ready to start reaching new audiences and building brand loyalty, running an Instagram Stories takeover is a great place to start.

To help you get going, here’s our step-by-step guide to running a successful Instagram Stories takeover!

Running an Instagram Stories Takeover Step #1: Define Your Goals

Setting clear goals at the start of your takeover will act as a strong foundation for all of your decisions — from who to partner with, to what content will work best.

For example, if your goal is to drive awareness of a sale, then you might want to have a takeover that highlights the promotion code — just like Iconic London did in their recent takeover with influencer @lovesian.

run an Instagram stories takeover

Equally, if your goal is to reach a new international audience, you may want to take this into account as you choose who to partner with for your takeover.

Having a well-defined set of goals will bring clarity to your campaign — and keep your ideas on track as you go through the creative process!

Running an Instagram Stories Takeover Step #2: Set a Launch Date 

Setting a launch date for your takeover will provide a helpful deadline for everyone to work towards.

This should ideally be at least one month ahead of time to allow for planning, partner negotiation, content creation, editing, and promotion.

Add your launch date to your content calendar as soon as it is confirmed, so that you can seamlessly plan your upcoming content around it.

TIP: Use Later’s Calendar Notes feature to reserve slots in your content calendar  — even if you don’t have a post ready to schedule yet!

Running an Instagram Stories Takeover Step #3: Create a Shortlist of Takeover Partners  

Choosing the right partner is key to running a successful Instagram Stories takeover.

As we’ve already covered, setting clear goals will make it much easier to determine which partner is right for your takeover — but it’s also important to choose a strong storyteller who is already sharing great content on their own channel. And who’s Instagram style aligns with your brand’s!

Choosing an influencer to take over your account is a great way to increase your brand exposure by tapping into their audience.

You’ll also earn some “social cred” by getting the stamp of approval from an expert in your industry.

For example, Everlane partnered with fashion editor @himichelleli to showcase their new denim collection.

instagram stories takeover with an influencer

When you’re making your shortlist, take note of the number of followers an influencer has, whether they collaborate with other brands, their areas of expertise, the type of content they share on stories, and their main demographic.

Don’t forget! You can ask an influencer to share their media kit with you if you’d like a closer look at their engagement and demographics info.

All of these factors should help you decide whether an influencer is the right partner for your brand, and also whether they will be within your budget.

Another great option is choosing someone within your company to show off a behind-the-scenes look at your business.

For example, you can give your followers a tour of the office, a quick product tutorial, introduce team members, or simply show off your company’s day-to-day.

SheerLuxe regularly run Instagram Stories takeovers featuring beauty and fashion experts from their company.

instagram stories takeover brand example

By giving their audience a sneak peek from the experts behind the new products, they are able to show off their brand’s personality and give customers an in-depth review.

Not one to shy away from a takeover opportunity, Everlane’s “Transparency Tuesday” segment is fronted by Isadora from their social team.

everlane transparency tuesday

This seriously popular takeover gives viewers a behind the scenes look at the company, whilst also providing unique insights on how their products are made.

Remember, your team members know your company best — don’t forget to tap into their knowledge and love for your brand!

Running an Instagram Stories Takeover Step #4: Pitch to Your Chosen Takeover Partners 

Once you’ve created a shortlist of takeover partners, you can start reaching out to them one by one!

Introduce your brand, takeover concept, and why you think this would be a great partnership for both you and them.

If you want to create truly organic content that is valuable for both your audience and theirs, it’s worth thinking outside of the box when it comes to your pitch.

Product reviews, makeovers, “day in the life” vlogs, vacation trips, and Q+As are all popular takeover themes — but we’re seeing brands get ever more creative to stand out from the crowd.

Glossier recently invited the founder of West Bourne cafe to create product-inspired recipes on an Instagram Stories takeover!

creative instagram stories takeover example

Keep in mind that if payment or product gifting is involved, the takeover will have to be clearly labeled as #ad or #gifted on your takeover partner’s account.

And although people are generally more accepting of sponsored content on Instagram than other platforms, it’s worth considering how this could make your takeover seem like a less genuine partnership.

Want to learn more about how to properly disclose sponsored and #gifted posts? Check out our detailed blog post for everything you need to know to meet the FTC guidelines. 

Running an Instagram Stories Takeover Step #5: Share a List of Posting Guidelines with Your Takeover Partner

The best Instagram Stories takeovers are usually created when the takeover partner has the freedom to share their personality and creativity on your account.

That being said, it’s important to make sure you’re all on the same page!

Setting out your expectations in writing is one of the best ways to avoid disappointment and unnecessary stress further down the line.

Give pointers to your takeover partner on the topics you’d like to cover, any format ideas you have, specific hashtags or handles you’d like to call out, and any trackable links you would like them to use.

running an instagram stories takeover

In addition to content requirements, be sure to include any specific shooting requests (such as lighting conditions, backdrop, background noise), a delivery deadline, and how you would like the files to be delivered.

If you don’t want to completely hand over the Instagram reins (and logins!) you can set up a shared file via Dropbox or Google Docs, or have your influencer email your asset to your inbox!

Capturing all these details in writing and sharing it with your takeover partner in advance can be a super helpful resource for both parties throughout the campaign.

If you’re on a Later paid Business plan, you have access to Contributors! You can invite your takeover partner to upload their media (even if they don’t have a Later account) and then curate the submissions by only selecting the media you want to use.

From here, any content they’ve shared with you can be added directly to your Media Library, ready to be scheduled for your Instagram Stories!


Running an Instagram Stories Takeover Step #6: Prepare Takeover Assets

Once your takeover partner has delivered their content, it’s a good idea to review it as soon as possible — the sooner you have eyes on it, the sooner you can spot any issues that require your attention.

There are tons of great apps, like InShot and Over, that can help you fine-tune your takeover content. Whether you need to resize, add text, animations, or music, try using design apps before calling in re-take, as this could save you valuable time!

Also think about adding filters, GIFs, or using Instagram Stories templates to help make the take takeover content fit in with your overall brand aesthetic.

instagram stories takeover aesthetic

Don’t forget! Set the scene for your viewers by creating an intro and exit slide for your Instagram Stories takeover.

This can be as simple as your takeover partner introducing themselves and signing off at the end, or you could use a design app (like Over, Mojo or Canva) to create a more jazzy intro slide with animations.

As well as introducing your takeover partner, remember to share any valuable context on why you are running the takeover, and what viewers stand to gain by tuning in.

Running an Instagram Stories Takeover Step #7: Promote Your Upcoming Instagram Stories Takeover

Spreading the word about your upcoming takeover is one of the best ways to attract more viewers!

Announce the upcoming takeover on your feed and Instagram Stories (you could even use the countdown sticker for extra hype) and ask your takeover partner if they would mind doing the same.

Instagram Stories takeovers are a great opportunity to tap into a niche audience and bring followers over from your takeover partner’s account — so the more they promote it, the better!

You can also spread the word across your other social media accounts! Use your Instagram Stories takeover as a way to entice followers from other platforms to check out your Instagram too.

Did you know? You can now schedule video Pins to Pinterest! That’s one more platform where you can share the hype, or best bits of your takeover footage with your audience!

Running an Instagram Stories Takeover Step #8: Schedule Your Instagram Stories Takeover

Now your takeover content is all prepped, it’s a good idea to plan and schedule your content in advance using Later’s Instagram Stories scheduler!

This is also a great way to storyboard and visualize your takeover stories alongside each other — so you can ensure your content flows perfectly.

When it’s time to post, your photos, videos, captions, and links will be sent to your phone. You can then add any final stickers to encourage engagement, and you’re good to go!

Save time and get more views on stories by planning, optimizing, and scheduling Instagram Stories right from your desktop!


Running an Instagram Stories Takeover Step #9: Add to Your Highlights

Saving your Instagram Stories takeover once it’s ended is just as important as the takeover itself, and one of the best places to do this is Instagram Stories Highlights.

how to promote an instagram stories takeover

Posting your takeover to Highlights is a great way to keep your takeover content “active” once the 24 hour stories window is over.

With your takeover content housed in a Highlight, you can always create new Instagram Stories to encourage more views — days, weeks, or even months after the event!

Running an Instagram Stories Takeover Step #10: Track Your Success with Analytics

Tracking the success of your Instagram Stories takeovers will help you identify trends, monitor “wins,” and create a fine-tuned strategy that truly resonates with your audience for your future takeovers.

With Later’s Instagram Analytics, you can track the performance of all your stories for the last 3 months.

This is a great way to measure the performance of your takeover in comparison to other Instagram Stories campaigns — as Instagram’s built-in analytics dashboard is limited to just 2 weeks of posts.

Take note of your takeover stories that had the most impressions, reach, or reply counts — and assess what could have contributed to these higher figures. Did you use a hashtag, mention, or sticker that proved to be successful?

Equally, it’s worth tracking which stories had a low completion rate — and if there was a specific point during the takeover where your number of views dropped.

This can be a strong indicator that your viewers lost interest, which is super useful insight for your next takeover!

It’s also worth sharing relevant performance insights with your takeover partner. Not only will this show your professionalism, but this could also help your performance as a partnership for future collaborations.

With the proper planning, running your own Instagram Stories takeover can give you a strong advantage on the competition and help you step up your social media marketing strategy this year!

Ready to get started? Download Later’s free Instagram Stories takeover checklist now!


Written By

Jillian Warren

Jillian is a content marketer at Later based in the UK. She is an aficionado of London brunch spots and an avid listener of true crime podcasts. You can connect with her on Instagram @jillwrren.

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