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 on track!
What is an Instagram Stories Takeover?
Instagram Stories takeovers typically involve a person temporarily “taking over” your account, and are often used to showcase new products or services.
For example, brands will usually invite a content creator or influencer to take over their Instagram Stories for the day.
During the takeover, the creator will commonly show how they use a brand’s products or services, providing valuable “real life” context along the way. This is especially great for styling inspiration and beauty tutorials.
Alternatively, you can take over someone else’s account — usually a like-minded brand with a similar target audience to your own.
This is a great way to tap into a new, relevant audience.
Whether you’re handing over the reins of your account or stepping into the shoes of another, Instagram Stories takeovers are a great way to increase awareness and inspire sales.
Start planning and scheduling your content with Later — it’s free!
Why do Instagram Stories Takeovers Work so Well?
Instagram Stories takeovers can be a powerful way to raise brand or product awareness through third-party endorsements, while still being authentic and engaging.
For example, Later customer STIL regularly invites women entrepreneurs to show how they use their planners and journals on their stories, providing a real life narrative for their products.
By lending their account to other women, STIL stays true to their mission of supporting women-led businesses by giving them a platform. At the same time, they’re building an online community and offering social proof to potential new customers who discover them.
Discover how STIL has used Instagram to build a strong community and drive sales in their Later case study.
How to Run an Instagram Stories Takeover
Running an Instagram Stories takeover can be full of benefits for brands, but they do require some careful consideration and planning.
To help you get started, here’s a step-by-step guide to running a successful 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 for an upcoming sale, then you might want to have a takeover highlighting a promotion code.
Similarly, if your goal is to reach an international audience, you may want to partner with an influencer who has a strong follower base overseas.
Having a well-defined set of goals will bring clarity to your campaign and keep your ideas on track during the creative process.
Step #2: 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 aligns well with your brand.
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 demographics.
If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at who’s already talking about your brand online. An organic ambassador can be much more authentic and genuine, and they already know and love your products.
If you find an influencer who feels like the right fit, you can ask them to share their media kit to take closer look at their engagement, demographics, and partnership fee.
All of these factors should help you decide whether an influencer is the right partner for your brand.
TIP: If your budget is limited, you could ask someone within your company to take over your Instagram Stories.
SheerLuxe regularly runs takeovers featuring their in-house beauty and fashion experts.
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.
Your team members know your company and its products better than most, so don’t be afraid to tap into their knowledge.
Step #3: 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!
Step #4: Pitch to Your Chosen Takeover Partners
Once you’ve created a shortlist of takeover partners, you can start reaching out.
Introduce your brand, takeover concept, and why you think this would be a great partnership for both of you.
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 brands are getting ever more creative to stand out from the crowd.
For example, Glossier recently invited the founder of West Bourne cafe to create product-inspired recipes on an Instagram Stories takeover.
Step #5: Share a List of Posting Guidelines with Your Takeover Partner
The best Instagram Stories takeovers are when the takeover partner has the freedom to share their personality and creativity on your account.
That being said, it’s important to set some parameters.
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.
In addition to content requirements, be sure to include:
Specific shooting requests (such as lighting conditions, backdrop, background noise)
The delivery deadline
How you would like the files to be delivered
Editing requests (such as text, GIFs, subtitles)
Any ad disclosure requirements
TIP: It’s safer and more secure to ask your partner to deliver content to you in advance, rather than handing over the login details to your Instagram account.
If you’re on a Later Growth or Advanced plan, you can use Contributors to make this process even more streamlined!
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.
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.
Step #6: Prepare Takeover Assets
Once your takeover partner has delivered their content, it’s time to review it and make sure it’s aligned with your brand aesthetic.
If it’s not quite up to standard, there are tons of great apps that can help you fine-tune your takeover content.
Whether you need to resize, add text, captions, animations, or music, there’s a video editing app to help you along the way.
Also think about adding filters, GIFs, or using Instagram Stories templates to help make the takeover content fit in with your overall brand aesthetic.
It’s also a good idea to 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.
Looking to level-up your edits? Discover 22 of the Best Mobile Video Editing Apps in 2021 here!
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.
Step #8: Schedule Your Instagram Stories Takeover
Once your takeover content is all prepped, you can 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, all of your Instagram Stories content (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!
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 on your Instagram Stories Highlights.
Posting your takeover to Highlights is a great way to keep your takeover content visible once the 24 hour stories window is over.
Once your takeover content is housed in a Highlight, you can drive people to watch it again whenever you want.
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 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 which 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.
With proper planning, running your own Instagram Stories takeover can be a powerful marketing tool for your brand or business, 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!