Giaimo x Rvltr: lessons from an instagram takeover

In our quest to find new ways to tell captivating stories, we at rvltr constantly like to experiment on a small scale, and are particularly fond of Instagram’s potential to weave written stories with imagery.

Instagram takeovers have been around for a while, but we had yet to see a well-designed takeover designed around a central theme, telling a story over a given duration. As an experiment, we thought that one of our clients could take over our account for a few days to connect them with our audience and tell such a story.

Thinking about who would be a good fit for us, we determined that our good friends at Giaimo, a young Toronto-based architecture firm with whom we share a lot of values, would be a perfect fit. They were fairly new to Instagram and did not have an established publishing strategy, so there was potential for a big upside and virtually no downside for them.

We approached Giaimo with the idea, and they agreed without hesitation. We then engineered with them a friendly takeover of our Instagram account. Over the course of a week, they shared with our audience who they are, what makes them unique and imparted their approach to design in order to make our audience more familiar with their work.

Because we believe in transparency and honesty, we gave them the keys to our account and were purposely not involved in the day-to-day running of the account over the course of that week. After initially establishing some basic parameters regarding the posts format and general content, Giaimo came up with a week-long story arc, centered around each one of their employees, weaved into the idea of scales, from the house to the nation. Each employee was in charge for a specific day and a specific scale.

Visual overview of takeover: each line represents a day/theme, with one team member in charge for the day. Day 6 was the only exception, representing the firm's philosophy as a whole.

Visual overview of takeover: each line represents a day/theme, with one team member in charge for the day. Day 6 was the only exception, representing the firm's philosophy as a whole.

Here’s how it unfolded:

  • Day 0 was the hand-off and introduction of the take-over. This was intended to ease into the takeover and signal to our audience that something special was happening that week
  • Days 1-5, each employee was responsible for the account that day. They each prepared 2-4 posts showcasing some of their ideas, personal beliefs of projects they were working on, relating to the idea of scales: house, building, street, district and city.
  • Day 6 was tying it all together by presenting their concept of “AS FOUND DOMINO” which they showcased through imagery of concepts they came up with, tying it all together around the idea of working at the scale of the nation.
  • Day 7 was a video recap and wrap-up of the takeover. 


Over the course of that week, they posted 25 posts, both video and images integrated with captions that told a brief story of the idea conveyed through the imagery and forming a part of the whole week-long story arc. This made for a revealing series of post that took our respective audiences on a personal journey with Giaimo, in their office and their minds. They took to heart our initial idea to be authentic and transparent in the way they portrayed themselves, so that people would develop a more personal connection with the firm.

Since it was a new endeavour for both of us, we went into this with an open mind. From Giaimo’s perspective, it was a massive success, not only from a numbers perspective (more on that below), but also because they’ve learned a great deal about themselves and the way they appear to their small, but growing audience. All the while we kept an eye on Giaimo’s account statistics, in order to gauge the effect that a carefully curated posting strategy could have on their account.

Joey Giaimo, the firm’s founder and principal has this to say about the experience:

“For a relatively new Instagram startup, this takeover was a rare opportunity to connect with a larger and affiliated design community, to present not only our material but also revelateur's work from the perspective of our architectural practice. The visual distinction of Instagram combined with revelateur's photographs throughout the posts made the takeover a compatible one, with a seamless transition.

We are just past our practice's 2 year mark, and the takeover came at a time when we could compile a substantial amount of work to date and reflect on the practice's output. It was also an opportune time to be self-critical and determine if our ideas and approach to architecture were translated into the built works and the continued design process.”


In our minds, it was a tremendous success since there was a significant increase in engagement on our respective accounts throughout the week:

On Giaimo’s (@giaimo.arch) account:

  1. They started the week with 119 followers and ended it with 178, a 66% percent increase, compared to a growth from 0 to 119 followers in 9 months since october 2016.

  2. Over the course of that week, they went from 109 impressions (numbers of times any of their posts were seen) to 6728, a 6172% increase.

  3. Their reach (number of unique account views) went from 20 to 546, a 2730% increase.

On Revelateur’s (@revelateur_to) account:

  1. We started the week with slightly over 8400 followers and ended it with about 25 fewer followers, a 0.25% decrease.

  2. We went from 8508 impressions to 36473, a 428% increase.

  3. Our reach went from 1941 to 3493, a 225% increase.


If we strictly look at the numbers, there was clear benefits for our respective companies in doing this takeover. The stupendous engagement that Giaimo has seen has to be tempered by the fact they started with a small following so a significant boost in postings frequency and quality would bring about tremendous growth, but it is amazing to see how much organic growth can be generated with a defined strategy. For rvltr, the level of engagement was really the important metric and with our more mature account and audience, that’s really what we are focusing on, as we try to leverage our ability to reach to 8000+ people by capturing their attention.

Beyond the numbers, this takeover showed that a sustained posting strategy will yield results and that posting roughly 4 times as many posts as we would in a typical week has some value to it. What both Giaimo and ourselves realized is that it is a lot of work to put together and we particularly wanted to thank Giaimo for taking this to heart and go all the way, despite the amount of work and coordination that this represented for them. We will both go back to our normal instagram duties with a renewed sense of pride in the work we do. We were certainly inspired to up our game and start coming up with new ways of telling stories. We hope you’ll enjoy them!