Tips for Hosting a Successful Instagram Stories

What’s the first thing that you look at when you check your Instagram account? If you’re anything like me―a digital content sponge, you thought of the Instagram Stories of course. That’s the stream of short content stories on top of the main Instagram feed usually from some of your favorite Influencers. Here users can post photos or short video clips that will end up vanishing after only 24 hours; but it’s a great way to share quick pieces of information and content such as: announcements, event previews, behind the scenes video, product discounts, or even just interesting facts about yourself (i.e. your brand).

From a business perspective using these Instagram stories should be part of your overall Instagram marketing strategy.  Why? Well, for starters there are a staggering number of users each day on Instagram. Imagine all of the opportunities to promote your business that Instagram stories provides.  In short, it’s a unique marketing chance for any business looking to build its brand and expand its reach.

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An Instagram Stories takeover is an interesting and creative method to mix into your social media marketing plan.  Partnering with an Instagram influencer, or even a celebrity, is a terrific way to expand your influence, grow your tribe and reach untapped market segments.  Think of it as putting your business on a billboard alongside a busy major highway. Your brand will be on display for all to notice. It’s the same affect when you align your brand with an Instagram influencer and host a Stories takeover event.  There is marketing power in numbers; by implementing a Stories takeover your brand will undoubtedly reach a larger audience.

I know what you’re thinking.  Just what exactly is an Instagram Stories takeover and why should I let someone take over my Stories feature?  Just as the name implies, it involves another Instagram user basically “taking over your account” for a brief time period, normally 24 hours, with the purpose of engaging your followers and expanding your audience.  The takeover only applies to your Instagram Stories feed; this is different from a regular Instagram takeover where another user takes control of your entire profile.

The person you collaborate with will create their own stories and post them to your Instagram account so that your followers can see them.  The takeover event can be the ultimate win-win situation. Your chosen partner (aka rock-star influencer) will bring value to your followers while the guest is able to reach a new audience with their content.  This can lead to skyrocketing numbers for your followers count, growth for your brand and additional sales profits for your bottom line.

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By design these Instagram Stories are time-sensitive so hosting a takeover event is serious business.  The clock is ticking because any Stories on Instagram fade away 24 hours after they’ve been posted. That’s right, your followers have just one day to see the Stories.  You need to set up a game plan ahead of the event and you also want to make sure that your followers tune in on the day of the event. So, promote the takeover event across all your social media platforms not just on Instagram.  Furthermore, you want to see measurable results from these takeovers so be creative in your delivery. They should also be interesting, informative, and fun for the audience. Once all the planning is done you can sit back and enjoy the ‘show’ for the next 24 hours as your chosen influencer steers the creativity.  

There are many ways to get creative with the Stories feature.  On event day your guest could post short videos from an interesting location, or introduce your product or service in an eye catching way, or perhaps host a question/answer session with your followers.  They might also announce an upcoming special event or a contest. Or, they could do a series of short videos where they give followers a glimpse into the everyday life of your business―a behind the scenes look of your brand.  

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Hosting Instagram Stories

Thinking of hosting an Instagram Stories takeover?  Smart move. Making use of this marketing strategy is an excellent way to expand your reach and these can be hugely successful when done correctly.  To ensure success use the following helpful tips to get the most out of this creative marketing opportunity. Start your marketing engines.

‘Plan your work and Work your plan’ – Goals

As with any of your marketing campaigns you should make a plan and set your goals first.  What do you want to achieve from the takeover event? Be precise. The more clearly you define your desired end result the better game plan you can develop to make that happen.  For example, do you want to gain new followers? Are you introducing a new product and you need some star power promotion? Do you want to give folks an inside look at how your business operates?  Increase brand awareness? Are you looking to get on the radar of new audiences? Designed a chic new workout tee and you need a fitness influencer? Yep, you decide.

So be sure to set clear attainable goals.  Set a clear target (or several of them) that you want to reach by hosting the event.  With an emphasis on creative and entertaining Stories be sure this aligns with the goals you set for the takeover event.  Define what a success would be for your brand as a result of the takeover and strive to attain it.

‘Money Talks’ – Decide on a Budget

Though there is no set in stone figure for how much a Stories takeover will cost, in all likelihood you will be paying a few thousand dollars.  Does your budget allow for that number? After you have set your desired goals, you then want to determine your budget. Consider the cost of the event as an opportunity investment in your brand.  What are the benefits from hosting the takeover? Your answers to that question will largely influence what your budget will be.

The person that you choose to host your event will also influence your budget.  Their time, efforts, and creativity all come with a price tag. Remember, these events are exciting and fun but your guest is not adding their star power free of charge.  Instagram Influencers can charge from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars depending upon content creation and the overall quality of their followers. That old saying is very true―you get what you pay for.  

Be sure to also add in costs for any transportation or lodging needs if your guest is at a specific location.  Need a video shoot from Venice Beach to promote your updated line of surfboards? Well then that’s going to cost a few dollars for sure.  In short, weigh the benefits (of the event), then run your numbers and you will get an approximate total cost for your Stories takeover.

‘Partner up’ – Find the partner that fits your brand

Decide on a guest host for your Stories takeover.  This is a critical choice. Will your followers respond well to this person?  Does this person’s personality enhance your brand image? Are they in line with your company core values?  You can be sure that your followers will notice if they are not. Is your guest popular with audiences that you want to reach?  Are they easy to communicate with or must you go through their gatekeepers? All pertinent questions that need to be addressed before you can select the right partner for your brand.

Additionally, you need to keep your goals and your budget in mind as you make a decision.  Are your goals over the top and set quite high? That’s fine but there is a higher cost to partner with a mega popular influencer.  Perhaps your brand would benefit just fine from aligning with a smaller micro-influencer. Again, what results do you want to achieve from the takeover.  Whether you want your message to reach potentially 100,000 followers or simply a few thousand followers, the fees you pay will reflect that.

Bottom line:  Choose a partner that will provide results that benefit your brand while staying within your allocated marketing budget.  

‘Game plan’ – Implement event guidelines

Goals―check.  Budget―solid. Influencer―set.  Great, now you need a ‘meeting of the minds’ with your takeover partner.  Start planning the event. You should work together to develop a strategy for your Stories takeover.  Start by sharing your goals, expectations, and desired results with your partner. Have a brainstorming session to make sure you are both on the same creative page as far as the takeover event is concerned.  

Be organized and plan ahead.  How many Stories will be released during the takeover?  Is there a preferred time schedule to release them? Depending on locations, what times would allow for peak engagement?  Discuss different ways to increase the entertainment value of the Stories as well. And, lastly, make sure to leave your influencer partner with plenty of freedom to express themselves in a creative way.  If you hired an online media ‘diva’ as your takeover guest host then simply set the guidelines, take a step back and enjoy the show along with the rest of your followers.

‘Give a shout out’ – Promote Your Takeover event

Once your planning is complete you need to then focus on promoting your takeover event.  After all, you want to make sure that folks will show up for the event. This is a big deal for you and your brand.  What you want to do is post the event within your Instagram feed as well as announcing it through your Instagram Stories feature.  This way even those followers who don’t necessarily follow Stories can be sure and tune in. Your guest host should also do the same for their followers.  

Remember that the Stories have a very short shelf life so promoting the event within your main feed is a must.  Build excitement maybe even offer an incentive or a giveaway of some kind to get folks to show up for the event.  Now is the time to cash in on your creative marketing skills.

Not to be overlooked, you should both also promote your Stories takeover across all your social media accounts.  That’s right Facebook and Twitter followers you’re invited to this takeover event too. Introduce your other social media followers to all the terrific content they have been missing out on by not following you on Instagram.  Include a brief preview of what will be taking place during the Stories takeover and obviously mention your guest influencer to further build up the anticipation.

If everything goes according to plan you will have plenty of eyes on your Stories takeover and, if they are entertained by your original content, a ton of new Instagram followers.  Followers that will soon turn into loyal customers.

“Wrap it up” – Review the results   

One of the best ways to measure the success of a Stories takeover is to compare the changes in the metrics.  For instance: How many followers did you gain during the takeover? In the days after the takeover? How much engagement did you receive during the 24 hour Stories period?  Compare the numbers. Are they on par with your goals and guidelines? What did you learn? Is there something you would do differently the next time? All things considered, when you compare the pre and post takeover numbers was your event a success?  Is your brand better off as a result of the time, resources and money invested in hosting a Stories takeover? In other words, take the time to review and learn from the results of your event.

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Hosting an Instagram Stories takeover is definitely a unique marketing opportunity.  This fosters creative fun engagement for your existing followers and introduces your brand to an entirely new audience.  

Select the right partner, plan accordingly, stick to your budget, and effectively promote the event and you just might see more and more followers turning into loyal customers.  Building a solid brand one follower at a time. How you choose to reach them is up to you. Make Instagram Stories takeovers part of your overall social media marketing strategy.  That’s a winner.

Find your tribe, my friend, and tell a story.  

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