At the time of my takeover of the Visit Faroe Islands Instagram account, my own account was around 5k followers. To briefly run and manage a page that has surpassed 100k was a great learning experience. Here’s a few things I learned along the way that might help others
1. At that level, you will naturally have a larger base of people exposed to your work, meaning more opportunity for polarized reactions. You will have those that are head over heels they have found you, you will have those that leave hate filled comments. You have to know your worth, and not be distressed if someone leaves a rude comment.
Klaksvik is the second largest town in the Faroes, home to 5000 people and many of these friends. Built around water and mountains, with some of the most dramatic sunsets I’ve ever seen, it is my favourite town in the islands. One morning I went up the mountainside to find this guy enjoying the Faroese life. #visitfaroeislands #faroeislands Words and photos by @alexstelma
2. Building on that, PR is important. Everything reflects on your self brand, each comment, like, follow, etc. As you go up, it matters more, meaning you need to be more conscientious of the things you do on the account. Your responses will monitored by more people and the words you choose do matter.
3. It is hard to determine when your demographic is most active online when dealing with an international audience. When most of your followers are from one place, this is much easier to do. Although you could argue that at 100k+, timing is irrelevant; it’s still important if you want to continue growing.
@alexstelma here, today marks the end of my takeover. It's been amazing sharing my trip through the Faroes with you all. As a thank you for the support, I've put a download link for some free phone wallpapers in my bio (@alexstelma)! For my last post it seems fitting to end with the classic Saksun home. No matter how many times I see pictures of it, I am always filled with an immense appreciation for the insurmountable beauty of the Faroe Islands. If you would like to see more content like this, follow me @alexstelma 🙂 Thanks for coming along for the ride, have a great week!
4. For takeovers, you need to tread a fine line between what people that follow the account expect to see, and interjecting your own uniqueness. Too unique, and you will throw people off. Too similar, and you won’t be noticed. The content of mine that performed best was that which showed a familiar location in a slightly different way. I had some people complain about a lack of originality as well, but when I posted something more out of the box it would have less than 1/10th of the engagement.
5. Use the previous accounts that have done takeovers to gauge what works and what doesn’t. See whose work has had good reception, analyze why, and think of how to apply this knowledge to yours.
One of the greatest things about exploring the Faroe Islands is the sense of adventure you can have while wandering these vast landscapes that truly feel like the edge of the earth! There's few places on earth that are as unspoiled and unexplored as the Faroes. #visitfaroeislands #faroeislands Photos and words by @alexstelma
6. Plan meticulously. Maybe this one is just me, but I like forming a narrative and a cohesive string of content that all ties together. I spent hours planning the order which I would put the shots in, composing engaging captions, debating how to best interject my handle, and ensuring I managed the page with the same efficiency which I try to do with my own.
7. Create your own hashtag. This is a way to see the posts easily after the takeover, and reflects well on you for your creative thinking and strategic social media management. For example, all of my posts from my takeover can be found under the tag #alexroamsfaroes
Welcome to Tórshavn, the smallest capital city in the world. Home to only around 13,000 people, but don't let it's small size fool you. The vibrant culture, music scene, nightlife, history, and multicoloured homes that line the harbour front, give it a character you'll never forget. Photo and words by @alexstelma #visitfaroeislands #faroeislands
8. Be mature in your approach, and reflect a level of professionalism that you would expect to see in anyone that you or any company may hire. Everyone I’ve ever looked up to in photography has been incredibly humble considering what they have accomplished. If you act overly confident in your posts, replies, email correspondence, etc; you come across as immature and unprofessional, lessening the chance that this will lead to future work with the brand in question, or anyone else seeing the content.
9. Pick the best of the best. I had lots of content from my trip to the Faroe Islands so I was able to do this and still post 3 times a day, but it is better to post once a day with high quality imagery than to spam the followers with mediocre imagery. There were many images I deliberated about keeping in, that had good stories but less enticing imagery and as such they did not make the cut. You should only be showing the pictures that are the best reflection of your work, as they will engage people and show what you are about.
Hey everyone, @alexstelma here to start day 2 of my takeover! The winding roads of the Faroes are not always the easiest to maneuver, but if you are patient you will be rewarded by views like this around every corner. The driving in the Faroes is truly one of the most enjoyable parts of travelling around, so pack up the car and get ready for the road trip of a lifetime. #faroeislands #visitfaroeislands
10. Have fun! All of this aside, don’t stress things and remember that this is (if you have a takeover coming up) an excellent opportunity that you have been given (by someone who believes in your work) to grow and learn.
I hope that some of these tips are useful to those doing a takeover soon, or just for social networking in general. Cheers!
About the Author
Alex Stelma is a travel, portrait and lifestyle photographer based in Toronto, Canada. You can find out more about him on his website, and follow his work on Instagram. Also posted here and shared with permission.