Skift Take

Creating an Instagram series run by several editors that followers expect each week is a smart way to drive engagement and better tell the back story of a brand that will build recognition and appreciation.

Social media is the never-ending story for many brands and even more tangled for those who manage social accounts. For social managers constantly engaging with a brand’s community, there’s often no time to set responsibilities aside for the weekend.

During the past year, some travel media like Conde Nast Traveler got creative with how to grow engagement during weekends while giving social managers a small reprieve from the stream of tweets and @ mentions. Conde Nast Traveler’s weekend Instagram series, #cnttakeover, began in December and features photos of a place from various editors and photographers yielding increases in comments, shares and followers for its Instagram feed, says Yolanda Edwards, the creative director for Conde Nast Traveler.

“Once we [started the series], our editors all clamored to do it,” said Edwards. “It is a completely uncensored weekend where they get to do whatever they want. Since so many of us look at Instagram on nights, weekends and holidays it just wasn’t fair to expect one designated person to [always maintain Instagram on weekends].”

Instagram is the fastest growing social network, and though travel media Instagram feeds feature stunning and well-crafted photos of landscapes and attractions, many of them don’t have regular thematic series following the work of one editor or photographer and instead feature content such as “best daily photo” or “most popular photo this week.”

Building Personalities

The #cnttakeover series introduces followers to the interests and beloved getaways of editors who share their own photos and highlight the work of their favorite photographers, perhaps creating personalities followers begin identifying with and building a sub-following around as the series features editors on a rotating basis.

“As we continue to do this, we imagine that our followers will get to know [editors] and their personalities as well,” said Edwards. “Each editor chooses on their own their theme, the content—everything. We figure they are giving up most of their weekend, and it’s their point-of-view, so we don’t want to weigh-in. It’s completely their takeover, unfiltered.”

“Sometimes an editor may pick a theme, take Dan Bailey, our photo editor, who did an art and music theme and it may see less likes because it isn’t a recognizable travel image but it draws in a totally different audience. And they seem to stay on!”

As of the end of January, Conde Nast Traveler had the highest Skift Score on SkiftIQ and during the last weekend of that month gained 925 Instagram followers. This windfall can’t be definitively attributed to the #cnttakeover series alone but aligns with the brand’s assertion that it’s seen an increase in engagement since the series began.

The brand understands editors aren’t always adept photographers and regardless of how respected an editor’s written work is this visual series must be equally impressive, and produce fascinating photos, for the series to advance the brand’s message.

“Sometimes the photographers work for the magazine, but what I find really interesting is that our editors are often highlighting completely different talent, and bringing that in to the magazine,” said Edwards. “The one thing we do like to encourage is for our editors to highlight images that aren’t their own, so it doesn’t feel self-promotional.”

Editors also describe the photos and why they’re significant to them and destinations featured so far include Italy, Japan and San Francisco.


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Tags: conde nast traveler, instagram

Photo credit: A screenshot of Conde Nast Traveler's weekend Instagram #cnttakeover series. Conde Nast Traveler / Instagram

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