How to Host an Instagram Takeover

Yesterday we talked collaborations and today I wanted to share one we did with #ahasmember Caitlin of Little Farm Media a couple months ago. When I got married we invited Caitlin to take over our Instagram account while I was away. It was so much fun I hope to do it again when I go away for my honeymoon in September. 

Anyway, we thought we'd share the experience with you all so you could see what goes on with a takeover in case you want to do one yourself (I highly recommend it!). Have you ever done a takeover or wanted to try? Let us know in the comments!

How do takeovers work?

Caitlin: In this case, the takeover was used to share the work of makers that Sharon and I were both crazy about. Sharon and I spoke in advance about who we were interested in featuring. I also encouraged my audience to use a hashtag, #mycreativebiz, so that I could find even more makers to feature. There were so many good ones, so I shared some on my account as well. We used Latergram to schedule the posts, which was super easy. This helped Sharon see what I was going to post in advance.

Why did we decide to do a takeover?

Sharon: I was going to be getting married in Santa Barbara and the other AHAS cofounder, KC, would be up there too with her new baby. While I would only be gone a couple days, I wanted to take the opportunity of being away to not just let our Instagram go silent. I’ve also been wanted to experiment with how we do our Instagram and want to start featuring more #ahasmembers and followers. I thought this was a good way to try it out to see how much effort it was and also to show people we do shake things up.

Caitlin: I’ve never done a takeover before and I jumped at the chance to do it! I enjoy it when other accounts I follow do takeovers and have always been curious about how much work it really is.

Why did AHAS choose Little Farm Media?

Sharon: Well, obviously a social media account will be in good hands with a social media expert like Caitlin. So I felt like in this case since I wouldn’t be able to closely monitor things in case there is a snafu, Caitlin would be on it and wouldn’t panic.

As our SF Chapter Co-Leader, Caitlin also shares a love for makers and a similar “vibe” to what we are all about. I knew that the images for her takeover and what she would say wouldn’t need much supervision.

It made a lot of sense to do this as a beginner with someone who both gets what we do really well and also is super competent with social media.

Why did Little Farm Media say yes?

Caitlin: AHAS and I both work with handmade biz owners.

What did we gain from doing a takeover?

Sharon: A LOT! First and foremost I got to have my feed going while I was away. This was super important since I had been moving and other things kept me from being consistent with posting for a couple months, and we were just getting back into a groove. I didn’t want to lose momentum.

The other thing was that even though Caitlin and our account share a lot of followers because we work together, there were still plenty of people on her account who hadn’t yet heard of us. We gained followers more than a typical weekend and I know several people who signed up for our newsletter said they did so because of Caitlin.

Caitlin: It was a little bit stressful because I had never done one before and didn’t want to screw it up for Sharon! I knew she was getting married and the last thing she should be worried about was the takeover. Luckily, it was surprisingly easy to do. I got some new followers, but more importantly I had some new people sign up for my One On One Brainstorming Session. Since Sharon and I share a target market, I was able to introduce my social media e-course and One On One Brainstorming services to a relevant audience.

What tools were used to make it happen? We used this to schedule out when the posts would happen and also to tweak the posts. Caitlin wrote the posts in advance and I could tweak them once they were written.

Google Docs: We brainstormed and hashed out ideas in Google Docs so it would be a place where everything was in one place instead of a bunch of email back and forth.

Email: We emailed everyone who was going to be featured to make sure it was cool with them that it was happening and we could use their photos.

What did we learn from doing a takeover?

Sharon: In the past, weekend postings have not gotten much interaction so that’s why I don’t do them as much, but seeing that we got a lot of weekend interaction on these posts I am going to try more weekend posting. Also, we posted three posts a day, which is usually my upper limit so I wasn’t sure if that would cause likes to go down at all. It didn’t so I will experiment more with this too. And duh, I learned how to work out the kinks of a takeover.

Why you should do an Instagram takeover.

  • Broaden your audience and the audience of a partner
  • Shake things up
  • Have your account be active while you’re away (though you can do a takeover and not be on vacation)
  • Engage your audience with some fun

How you can make it work for you.

First, you don’t have to do a takeover where you are away like we did. You can do a takeover where you plan everything in advance with your takeover partner without handing over the reigns to them (with your password and everything).

  • Have a plan, which also includes Plan Bs just in case something goes awry
  • Be clear on what you need to make it work
  • Know why this is a good partnership… FOR BOTH
  • Having a relationship with the other person already will help A LOT (if not consider not doing the takeover while you’re away)
  • Agree upon images and copy BEFORE they go up so there are no surprises
  • Promote and tease the takeover so people know it’s coming. This will encourage more engagement and get people excited about your guest.
  • Make it clear in every post that this is a takeover. Nothing drives me more bananas than coming upon a photo in a feed and being unclear of exactly WHO has taken over and WHY. So make it clear. EVERY. POST.

Caitlin Bacher is the bosslady at Little Farm Media, offering social media consulting and e-courses for creative businesses. Download her FREE eBook, “How I Gained 1,000 Pinterest Followers In One Month,” right here.


Sharon Fain is co-founder and director of Academy of Handmade Artists and Supporters (AHAS), a membership organization connecting, supporting and celebrating makers. Get to know more about AHAS each week through our newsletter plus download "Business Tools for Makers."

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