Brands spend many years strategically building, nurturing, and growing their social media presence — and for good reason. Social media is the younger and more powerful sibling of “word of mouth,” with 77 percent of customers more likely to purchase a new product when they learn about it from friends or family. After carefully cultivating these channels, however, many brands willingly hand over the keys to a complete stranger for a social media takeover. Why?
The Benefits of a Social Media Takeover
There are many customers who your brand wants to reach, yet capturing that attention is not always easy. Social media influencers have large audiences who are listening, which provides an impactful opportunity to get in front of that audience. Other benefits include:
- Increased engagement. Strategically selected takeover partners have highly involved audiences. They can create a large sense of excitement and engagement with your target audience.
- Greater authenticity is established. Partnering with the right person for a social media takeover instantly makes your brand feel more relatable and authentic.
- Expanded brand reach. You can connect with target audiences who would otherwise have been difficult to reach, with greater authority and influence. This is especially useful when launching a new product or entering a segment that is new to your brand (more on this in a minute).
- Re-engagement of existing followers. Not all of your social media followers may be engaged. A social media takeover helps attract those who aren’t currently paying attention and generate new levels of excitement.
There are many details involved with planning a social media takeover. Here are four examples of successful takeovers to inspire your efforts.
1. Expanding to a New Social Media Channel
At some point, most brands decide to test new social media channels. Perhaps they’re already active on Twitter and LinkedIn and want to expand efforts to Instagram. Entertainment company Disney was in that situation when they chose to launch a new Snapchat channel. They needed an established partner to launch their project with greater effectiveness, so they looked within the Snapchat space to identify a person with the required clout for a successful social media takeover — and found Mike Platco.
This creative artist is known for transforming selfies into entertaining images featuring costumes, cartoon characters, and comical scenery. Disney recruited the Snapchat influencer to share news about Disney’s upcoming channel and generate excitement and buzz for the brand.
The promotion started with Platco promoting the Disney Snapchat launch on his social media platform, then ended with the influencer hosting a takeover from the Disney Orlando theme park, where he shared images and commentary with his audience.
Key takeaway. Expanding reach to new social media channels is the perfect time to host a takeover. Partnering with a person who is already established in that space helps quickly build an audience and reach people with greater impact.
2. Launching New Products or Services
During your next product launch, consider a strategically timed social media takeover. For example, Mountain Dew was promoting two new flavors in their Kickstart Morning beverage line. The company recognized social media as a powerful medium to spread the word.
They strategically identified influencers, including Jerry Purpdrank, David Lopez, and D-trix. Jerry Purpdrank and David Lopez are top influencers on Snapchat, known for creating highly sharable content and viral videos. D-trix is a former contestant from “So You Think You Can Dance,” and a YouTube star with more than 3 million channel subscribers.
The campaign featured real-time competitions on the company’s Snapchat channel, hosted by the social media stars. Mountain Dew encouraged their audience to participate, and generated brand awareness.
Key takeaway. Use a social media takeover to create awareness about a new product launch. Select influencers who have the attention of your target audience and create a takeover that is strategically and mutually beneficial to all parties.
3. Targeting Personas with Greater Impact
Clinique and Sephora wanted to reach their customers and engage them with greater results, so the companies turned to social media. They decided to partner with top fitness and beauty influencer Hannah Bronfman to create a co-branded Snapchat marketing campaign. The influencer promoted both brands by sharing images and videos that reviewed favorite Clinique products that were sold on Sephora.
A similar takeover was planned for Estée Lauder’s Instagram account. Model Hilary Rhoda took over the account and posed in various places throughout New York City, spotlighting the company’s Bronze Goddess makeup collection. During the takeover, she offered a giveaway for the first five people who successfully guessed her location. Through this effort, the influencer boosted customer engagement and drove more people to the brand’s social media account.
Key takeaway. Look at the personas that your brand and products serve. What social media channels do those customers engage with and who is influential in that space? Partner to create fun content that will not only capture attention, but also showcase the personality of your brand.
4. Celebrating a Milestone
Milestones are a great time to plan social media takeovers. They help brands move away from a highly corporate approach of celebrating brands (e.g., “we’re proud to celebrate 50 years in business”) and focus instead on what that milestone means for the customer.
For example, clothing company Madewell carefully selected five influencers, including Stephanie Sterjovski and Bethany Marie, to promote the company’s signature tote through their @ToteWell campaign. During the campaign, the company used these influencers to reach over 1 million targeted customers through the high-quality content they produced for the takeover campaign.
Key takeaway. Social media takeovers provide an opportunity to frame celebrations in a way that benefits the customers through access to influencers they already know and trust.
5 Tips for a Successful Takeover
Whether you’ve planned a takeover in the past or need suggestions for planning that very first campaign, here are five tips that will help ensure that your next takeover is a success.
- Determine the brand objective. What do you hope the takeover will achieve for your brand? Do you want to reconnect with the existing audience, grow your audience, or generate leads? Define clear goals up front to more accurately focus efforts.
- Find the right person. For example, let’s say you’re marketing for a technology company focused on IoT. What influencers are talking about IoT in that space? You can also hold an employee takeover where you provide an “inside look” through the eyes of employees. Or an HR takeover, where that department posts job opportunities and real-time updates and content. Match the right person to your strategical goal.
- Share expectations and guidelines. Social media takeovers should be mutually beneficial to everyone involved. It’s also important to share your expectations and guidelines up front with your chosen partner and ensure that everyone is strategically aligned. For example, how many tweets, posts, or pictures do you expect daily during the takeover? Do you have a “wish list” for content? Share these items with the chosen partner.
- Promote the takeover across all accounts. For example, let’s say you’re hosting a Twitter takeover. Promote the event through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and all other social media avenues in which your brand participates, to expand its reach.
- Measure the results. Using the objectives that you defined up front, determine whether the social media takeover succeeded. For example, perhaps you want to grow your social media following by 20 percent. Did that happen? Or perhaps through a giveaway featured in the social media takeover, you want to generate 1,000 new leads. Other metrics can include total mentions of hashtags across social channels, or leads captured.
Next Social Media Takeover: Make It a Success
Social media takeovers can be nerve-wracking and fill you with doubt and worry about the outcome. But the results from these takeovers are usually excellent, as your brand’s reach, engagement, and perceived authenticity soar.
However, as with most new marketing strategies, it’s important to test and fine-tune campaigns. Try different types of influencers, such as established social media influencers, employees — and even customers. As a result, you’ll determine which approaches work best with your target audience and start engaging with them in newer and more powerful ways.