Talking Takeovers

What are takeovers? How can you set your brand up for takeover success?

The innate appeal of social media is that it feels more real and timely than any other type of messaging. Content publishing is instantaneous and there is an always-on approach in which customers can access brands (and vice versa) at any time and any place. WHile social media’s roots are stepped in immediacy and spontaneity, this effect has become somewhat muddled down over the years. With editorial calendars, dedicated teams and best-practice insights to determine what to post and when, social media now feels, well, filtered. Don’t get me wrong, it’s smart to take a procedural approach to social media, but when it starts to feel too planned and rigid, the magic of social media start to lose its luster.


So, how can brands re-introduce a degree of freedom into their feeds without completely flying off the rails? Social Takeovers.


As a consumer, you’ve no doubt seen takeovers across Instagram, Twitter and even, Facebook. These special events indicate that a celebrity over influencer has taken control of a brand’s feed for a predetermined duration of time. During this time they can post personal or behind-the-scenes photos of themselves, provide never-before-heard anecdotes of their experience with the brand or product, and answer fans’ questions in real time. Takeovers shake up feeds because they let audiences engage with an influencer that they may not normally engage with. They also bring an element of surprise; audiences can pretty much expect or predict certain kinds of tweets or photos to appear on their favorite brands’ feeds,  but a new social driver can take the feed into a refreshingly new, albeit temporary, direction.


living proof_IG takeover


As a brand marketer, you know first-hand the amount of time and energy that went into building your social communities and planning and curating your feeds. It’s important that you implement social takeovers without totally derailing your progress. Here are five essential component to successfully running a takeover:


Find the Right Person: Most influencer programs are comprised of a variety of influencers – some may be household names whereas others in your program may be just building up their niche community. Influencer programs, in general, succeed when there is a healthy mix of influencers involved. Takeovers, however, should not be executed with this same strategy in mind. The primary object of takeovers is to excite  vast number of your followers, but the only way to do this is by picking a person who is well-known, boasts an established personal brand and a distinct voice. You also want to be sure that this person approaches the opportunity with a high degree of professionalism; there may be a YouTube star who is beloved by your customers, but if he is known for being careless, vulgar or lazy, then he should not be given this much control over your brand’s feeds.

birchbox takeover


Pick the Right Platform: Most influencers have influencer across more than one network. It may be tempting to try to capitalize on their following across platforms, but it’s best to simplify takeovers and streamline them on one social network. Within a takeover time span, you’re trying to drive the most engagement possible for your brand. If you’re asking your followers to split their attention between Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, then you will receive fragmented engagement. It’s also a lot to ask of the influencer to be as engaging as humanly possible across multiple networks at one time – they’re content and community responses will undoubtedly suffer if they are spread too thin.


Cross-Promote: Why pay an influencer to take over your feed if no one sees it? Cross-promoting on other platforms maximizes the number of followers who are aware of the takeover event. Cross-promoting is also a great way to build up followings on some of your less established channels. If your brand has an established Twitter fanbase but a tepid Instagram following, a takeover is a great opportunity to drive your Twitter followers to your Instagram feed. It’s also crucial that the chosen influencer cross-promote the takeover on his feeds. Building a minimum number of promotional posts across platforms into your contract will ensure that the influencer’s audience is aware of the takeover and (hopefully) ready to engage during the designated time.


Designate a Hashtag: Establishing a unique hashtag for the takeover will limit confusion. A defined hashtag will ensure that followers can submit their comments and questions to the influencer without them disappearing into a social void. Hashtags are also a great discovery tool for those social users who may not follow your brand but may be intrigued by the conversation that the takeover is sparking.


Provide Talking Points: During the takeover, the influencer will be the face and voice of the brand, which means that they may be asked specific questions about a particular product or their relationship with the brand. Rather than sending an influencer into a takeover blindly, it’s best to arm them with talking points about the latest brand and product updates. Although you don’t want the influencer’s responses to appear over-edited, you will mitigate confusion or panic by providing loose guidelines.


Limit Interference: By the time the takeover has begun, you will have done everything in your power to encourage success. At this point, it’s best to sit back and let the influencer lead. While you should be either physically or virtually present throughout the duration of the takeover, in case an unexpected question pops up, try to only interfere when absolutely necessary. If you edit each response or filter each photo, the audience will be able to see through the takeover and they will be less likely to engage.


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