The not-so hostile takeover: Bringing new voices to your social media

February 10, 2016

There’s a new trend among businesses, sports teams and nonprofits alike, and all it requires is a willingness to cede a little control.

It’s called an ‘Instagram Takeover.’

An ‘Instagram Takeover’ occurs when an organization gives control of its Instagram account to a third party for a set amount of time. The takeovers, which typically last 24 hours, are popular because they’re an easy way to bring a fresh voice and outside perspective to an organization’s visual storytelling on Instagram. Depending on who is doing the ‘taking over,’ they can also give a major boost to an organization’s social media following.

Takeovers don’t always involve just one person. Last year, the International Center of Photography began a series of takeovers that lasted three months, giving control of their account to a new photographer or scientist each week. The purpose of the virtual event was to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change. The ICP hoped that using this platform would allow it to express the dangers posed by our changing environment in a particularly clear and evocative way.

The strategy can also be used to emphasize the effects of an organization’s work. AARP gave their Instagram account to one of their members, Gail Dosik. Gail had just started a cookie business, and her experiences exemplified the real-world effects of AARP’s “Real Possibilities” campaign. If you are part of an organization that works in the field, you might also consider having an employee, intern or volunteer take over your account, to give your followers a close-up look at the impact you make.

The key to a successful takeover is to pick carefully to whom you hand over your Instagram account. Whether you choose a celebrity or a member of your organization, make sure that that person will send out content that matches your brand and mission. You may also consider expanding the takeover to other platforms. In honor of the International Day of the Girl Child last year, UN Women gave their Twitter account to members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts for a day.

What do you think? Have you used an Instagram takeover at your organization? Let us know!

— Alice Cohen, former intern