Instagram takeover use case: Live feed for Artlake Festival 2015

1302 likes, 27 photos, 150 new followers on Instagram over one weekend — starting from 0

I was asked by Artlake Festival to do reportage photography at their first event in 2015. In addition, I proposed to do a live Instagram takeover of their @artlakefestival account, as it was completely blank.

In this use case I will focus on the 2½ day live coverage on the @artlakfestival Instagram account for simplicity. Here you will learn what the plan was, the outcome, and what I would do differently in the future and why.

I was using professional grade camera equipment (35mm full frame equivalent) for the documentary. Some of the very same material was used seconds after being taken, slightly edited, and uploaded to Instagram. The content stood out in quality from other users’, attracted interaction and grew a follower base.

Ein von @klangkuenstler gepostetes Foto am

First of all, some numbers. The takeover was quite a success. The followerbase grew by a factor of 38 (that is 3,800 % for more drama) from basically nothing to 150. The goal was 100.

23 uploads on the @artlakefestival account collected more than 459 likes directly on them, as well as some comments. Also, images were reposted or used directly by artists accounts and created quite some interactions: 843 additional likes and some comments. That is 1302 likes in total for an account that had not existed days before.

Among the followers are accounts such as the artists of the event, as well as high profile Instagram users with tens of thousands of followers.

Number of followers:
At a first time event with about 2,000 participants a follower rate of 150 seems pretty good. The goal of 100 was met and exceeded. The interaction rate was extremely good. Pictures were receiving 30-50% likes in relation to the followercount, whereas about 10% is normal for Instagram.

Sounds good, eh. Could the performance have been even better? Yes. Some thoughts.

Warmup channel and audience
A warmup is a common best practice for Instagram accounts that are related to fixed events in the future.
Weeks, better months before, the upload of some teaser content would start and is spread across a certain timeframe regularly. In this case, it could include pictures of the artists of the lineup or the location.
Due to very short notice, this did not happen. The account started completely blank with no content. Warm up is strongly recommended for the next year!

Helping from other channels
The Instagram account was not linked to or mentioned on the website or Facebook page (with 4k fans) at all. All user growth and interactions came only from within the Instagram ecosystem. This could certainly have helped the account growth and performance.

I believe this did not happen due to time contrains but also the fear that social media channels would cannibalize each other’s interaction. Which I highly doubt.

Providing professional material for artists
Artists seemed happy when I offered or even asked for professional picture material. Not all were using Instagram, but of those who were, a common practice was to upload content before and after a show. Usually they use canned material or some that is created after the show — with mobile phone or lower quality camera equipment.

Competetive second official account
There was a second account (@artlakefestival15) that was also owned by the customer. It had a single upload and already 24 followers. This made the account look legit and official (which it was) and created unnecessary confusion for the would be followers. Due to time constrains it was not renamed before the event.

Although the account that was used, had already added much more (and up to date) content after the first day, it seemed like an uphill battle to make the account seem official — because it had less followers.

After the 30-mark was crossed, the adding of followers accelerated and the issue seemed resolved.

My recommendation would have been to switch usernames of the accounts before the event to have more users to start with and a shorter account name.

In any way, I would not recommend using year numbers at the end of names, if possible to anyone.
It does not make sense if there is any possibility, that it will be used again the following year — which certainly would be the goal of a event like this.

Summ up, numbers
The official hashtag #artlakefestival was used 380 times among our account and other Instagram users. #artlake counts for 562 uses, but not all are related to the event. 1302 likes, 27 photos, 150 new followers were created.

As you have learned, a live takeover can contribute to social media account growth, user interaction, and even has the potential to add to revenue directly.

If you are interested in a live takeover, concert or festival photography, don’t hesitate to get in touch.