Whether you’ve spent months or years crafting the perfect social media presence for your brand, the idea of handing over the reins to someone else can be a bit unnerving. But that’s exactly what many DMOs and museums are doing to attract new visitors – and it’s working!
A social media takeover is a strategic decision to give someone else control of your social media account for a set amount of time. It sounds less crazy when you consider the strategy behind it.
The benefits of a social media takeover include:
- Creating more user-generated content around your destination or organization
- Humanizing your brand by linking it to real people in the real world
- Expanding your social reach to connect with more potential customers
Of course, you wouldn’t trust just anyone with the power to shape your brand’s online presence. Choosing the right person to host makes all the difference between a successful, hitch-free takeover and a potential PR disaster.
When planning a takeover for one of your brand’s social media channels, look for someone who’s interesting, trustworthy, and relevant.
Let’s take a look at some of the right types of people to consider for hosting your takeover:
You don’t have to look far to find a group of excellent candidates for hosting your takeover. Not only do your employees know your organization inside and out, but you can also coach them to share a specific message or story that serves your marketing goals.
Whether you want to offer a sneak peek of a new exhibit or show the behind-the-scenes planning that goes into a local festival, an employee with internal knowledge of interesting projects makes a great host.
Hi #emailgeeks! I’m Bettina, International Field Marketer at Litmus. . One of my biggest tasks here at Litmus is understanding international email marketers and making sure our product and content is relevant to email marketers across all borders. Whether it’s writing blog posts, supporting the launch of local clients (like GMX and WEB.DE) or working on co-marketing projects with international partners—if something happens outside the US, it’s very likely that I have my hands involved in it. . I’m based in Stuttgart, Germany, but later this week, I’ll be traveling to London to meet the Litmus UK crew—and you can follow along as I take over the Litmus Instagram account! ^BS . . . #remotelife #litmuslife #employeetakeover #behindthescenes #remotefirst #remotework #litmus #litmushoodie
Bonus points if you get someone from marketing to do your first social media takeover since they’re already comfortable with your brand’s messaging, and can set the tone for future hosts!
Inviting influencers, such as artists, bloggers, or well-known public figures, to do a social media takeover is a fantastic way to grow your own audience.
— Shopify (@Shopify) December 5, 2016
Reach out to influencers who are relevant to your audience so their takeover can drive the right kind of engagement and maximize your visibility on the platform.
A popular influencer can increase your reach simply by telling their sizeable list of followers to check out their takeover on your brand’s channel.
If you need some help starting out, here’s a guide for finding influencers and micro-influencers.
Customers and Fans
Aside from your employees, customers are the people who know and love your brand best.
While not everyone will have thousands of followers, they will have a genuine experience with your brand – and that authenticity can be powerful. A passionate, unscripted fan perspective often resonates with viewers more strongly than a carefully crafted social media update.
These are just some of the amazing photos from Destination BC’s regular social media takeovers on Instagram:
Of course, you’ll want to keep a close eye on what any non-employee takeover host is posting. Luckily, you have a few options if you don’t feel comfortable giving a customer direct access to your social media account.
Using a tool like Hootsuite allows your host to post updates without giving out your passwords. You can also use the dashboard to monitor every move your host makes (and revoke access if necessary) to reduce the risk for your brand.
Partners, Brands and Businesses
Destinations and museums can partner with other organizations to execute a takeover that creatively promotes both brands.
For example, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art teamed up with Disney to retell Beauty and the Beast on its 20th anniversary, through a series of Snapchats starring works of art.
Image from Oh My Disney
Destinations can form similar partnerships with local restaurants, cafes, and museums. Allow local businesses to showcase their brand story on your social media page as an incentive for doing the takeover.
Another variation is to simultaneously swap accounts – meaning someone from your organization takes over another brand’s account at the same time they take over yours.
Guidelines for Pulling off a Social Media Takeover of Your Own
A successful social media takeover increases short-term and long-term engagement. It offers a fun experience and fresh perspective for your current followers while introducing your brand to a new audience of potential visitors.
To make the most of your extra visibility, it’s important to plan ahead and prepare for the big event. Follow these guidelines to ensure your social media takeover goes off without a hitch.
1 | Make it mutually beneficial
Remember to consider why someone would agree to host a takeover on your channel. Can you offer more exposure to their target audience? If not, include a more personal gift to thank them for participating. Think about what’s in it for the host and create a pitch to help them see the value in participating.
2 | Choose the right platform
The most popular channels for social media takeovers are Facebook Live, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Each of these offers different advantages that you should think about when planning a takeover. For example, we love that content posted during Instagram takeovers seamlessly flow with the rest of your posts and give your host a chance to get visually creative.
3 | Use consistent hashtags
Help people identify content that’s part of a takeover with clear, consistent hashtags. It can be something as simple as #employeetakover to promote one of your internal takeovers or a popular hashtag like #guestagrammer or #instatakeover to highlight a takeover on Instagram. You should also ask your host to sign-on and off with a hashtag or personal tag to signal the start and end of the event.
4 | Set clear expectations and guidelines
Talk to your host about how long the takeover will last, how many posts they should share, what type of content they should feature, how they should promote the takeover, and anything else that will help things go smoothly. Encourage the host to introduce themselves with a selfie and express their creativity throughout the process. If your first takeover is hosted by an employee, ask that they reflect on the experience and contribute to your guidelines for future hosts.
5 | Have a secure plan for collecting content
To avoid giving away unrestricted access to your social media accounts, consider using a system for getting the content from your host and posting it yourself. Whether you copy and paste their tweets from a messaging platform like WhatsApp, get their videos and pictures from Dropbox, or use Hootsuite to monitor all social interactions during the takeover, have a plan in place to keep your accounts secure.