How to Run a Smart Social Media Takeover in 7 Steps


A well-run social media takeover can be a win-win situation for you and your collaborator. Audiences need their attention constantly drawn to your social media accounts, and takeovers are a great way to things up!

This guide will cover how your brand can benefit from a social media takeover. It’ll also show you how to run a takeover, step-by-step. We’ll also give you inspiration from other successful social media takeovers.

What is a social media takeover?

A social media takeover is a form of influencer marketing. A brand lets someone temporarily post content on the brand’s social media accounts. This person can be an influencer, fellow team member, or an industry expert. They get to “take over” your account and post content they create.

Why host a social media takeover?

Influencers can provide a real-world look into your brand. An audience craves this type of relatability. Let’s take a look at the reasons why a takeover could boost your social media accounts.

Increase your brand’s exposure

Influencers often come with a highly engaged, niched audience. Their vote of confidence in your brand can go a long way in building credibility. Takeovers are a great way to get a new and relevant audience to discover your brand.

Unique points of view can resonate with different followers. Social media managers should always work to include and account for diverse perspectives/ Takeovers can help to fill in gaps or lift certain voices. A social media takeover is a way to introduce new faces, ideas, and experiences.

Broadway Sacramento did a takeover with one of their ensemble cast members, for example. They shared a behind-the-scenes perspective on what it takes to prepare for a performance. This kind of takeover can let audiences have a new understanding of the rehearsal process.

Takeovers are also a great way to seize the moment with special events. Special events usually result in entertaining content that your brand and takeover host can get creative with.

Model Mika Schneider created a video for Vogue France’s YouTube channel covering her experiences modeling during Paris Fashion Week. Special events like Paris Fashion Week gain plenty of attention. Mika Schneider’s video provides unique coverage relevant to Vogue’s followers.

Gain new followers

Diversifying your audience is crucial to your overall growth. But you don’t just want any followers.

Social media takeovers can help you gain the exact audience you want to reach: people who need your product or service! By collaborating with relevant influencers, they will help expose your brand to your ideal customers.

Build brand affinity

Building hype is a lot easier when you have trustworthy influencers on your side. People want authenticity, and takeovers provide a real way to connect to your brand.

If you’re promoting a new product or service, a takeover from an influencer can convince an audience of your reliability as a brand.

How to run a social media takeover in 7 steps

1. Define SMART goals

Social media takeovers are fun, but you need to align them with your marketing strategy. By creating a shared vision with your influencer, it will be easier to manage expectations for the social media takeover.

A savvy way to create goals is to use the SMART rubric:

  • Specific: Clearly state your campaign’s metrics.
  • Measurable: Describe the metrics you will use to track performance.
  • Achievable: Be realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
  • Relevant: Make sure the takeover ties back to broader business goals.
  • Time-Bound: Set deadlines for your team and content calendar.

Creating SMART goals gives social media managers the tools they need to create a successful takeover campaign. So don’t skip this step!

2. Pick your network

Once you’ve determined your SMART goals, you can pick which social media platform is best for your takeover. Each platform has different content creation options, so it’s important to consider your audience when picking a network.

BuzzFeed Tasty chose to use TikTok to host a live stream promoting the company’s cookware. TikTok may have been a more favorable option compared to Instagram if their target audience is GenZ instead of millennials.

@tasty

Hint: Not brown! Link in bio to shop the #CookWithColor pans that Inga used in the recent LIVE! 📺 @ingatylam

♬ original sound – Tasty

Always target the network where your target audience is most likely to see your takeover. This will go a long way in creating a successful campaign.

3. Create a detailed plan of action

Your takeover’s success will depend on your plan of action. Without a proper framework, you and your influencer could end up on different pages about what is expected for the takeover.

Some questions you should answer include:

  • When and how long will the takeover last?
  • What is the exact content being created?
  • What type of media will be shared? Will the influencer also write captions?
  • Will the takeover include posts or stories?
  • How many posts will the takeover include?
  • Will the takeover promote a hashtag? Should it include other hashtags as well?
  • Should content include other elements like polls or links?

While you’re at it, don’t forget to share your brand’s social media style guide with the influencer. This can help prevent misaligned content from being created.

But make sure the influencer is still creating content in their style and voice. After all, a social media takeover is about providing new and interesting content to your audience!

4. Find the right creators

Brands often partner with influencers when they plan a social media takeover. And for good reason. Influencers often have a loyal audience within a specific niche.

If you go this route, create a list of possible collaborators.

If you’re not sure who would be a good fit, start by looking at people already following and sharing your brand with their followers. You may find a few relevant and authentic influencers this way.

Once you find influencers you want to partner with, start looking at their metrics. Yes, how many followers they have is important. But also take a look at their past collaborations, niche, engagement rates, and the type of content they share.

Some influencers also have media kits which you can request. These can provide you with a closer look at their audience engagement, demographics, and fees.

But influencers aren’t the only way to go for social media takeovers.

Honestly, no one knows your brand quite as well as your employees, so they may be the ideal people to take over your accounts. Employees can quickly create and share a social media takeover compared to partnering with an influencer.

WebinarGeek hosts monthly employee takeovers on Instagram. For an entire week, employees post about working at WebinarGeek. The goal is to spark an interest in potential employees to apply to work at the company.

If you really want to get your creative juices flowing, your company mascot can participate in the takeover. WebinarGeek also created an Instagram Reel with Business Booster Kiki, the office dog. No one can resist a cute animal!

5. Set up permissions

Now we move on to the more technical part of a social media takeover. While not the most exciting part of a takeover, social media managers need to set up content posting permissions. Brands have three options:

Pre-delivered content

In this scenario, influencers create and share the content with you before it gets posted. This gives you time to evaluate the content, make any necessary changes, and ensure it aligns with your campaign goals.

Managers often prefer pre-delivered content because it enables them to have an Instagram takeover without giving away its password.

Pre-delivered content also makes it easier to schedule the takeover on your calendar. (A tool like Hootsuite Planner allows you to create and schedule posts for publication ahead of time.)

While it is the safest option, there is a major downside. Pre-delivered content prevents live interactions between the influencer and your audience.

Real-time discussions may be an important factor in your takeover, so it’s something to consider when planning your content.

Limited permissions

Sometimes partial access to your social media accounts is the best way to conduct a takeover. Many social media platforms allow companies to let a collaborator have limited permissions to manage and publish content.

Facebook allows pages to assign different roles to users. There are 6 different roles available.

For takeovers, you may want to consider giving an influencer an Editor role since this enables them to create posts. This also lets them access Instagram. However, they also can view insights, which may be too much access.

On Instagram, you could use the Instagram Collab feature to let the same post publish on both your page and the influencer’s page.

Another option is to share co-hosting duties with your influencer to do an Instagram live.

Misfits Market used the Instagram Collab feature with Kelly Mitchell to provide an informational video on red wine.

TikTok doesn’t offer any limited permissions to allow influencers to guest post. However, you can do a TikTok live and invite them as a co-host.

Another option is to use your social media management platform. On Hootsuite, social media managers can add influencers as a member and then assign specific permissions.

Hootsuite Assign Roles

Limited permissions give a member the ability to upload content but need approval from an editor before it is allowed to publish.

If pre-approval isn’t necessary, then editor permissions can be set to give members the ability to publish.

There is also the option to customize permissions for members. For example, you may want pre-approval for posts but can grant permission to comment and reply to messages without approval.

Custom Permissions

Password handover

Obviously, there are some risks to handing over your login credentials to an outside person. But sometimes a password handover is the only way for influencers to use a social media platform’s functionality.

If you use a password manager, you can securely send login credentials to another person–no emails necessary. This way there is less risk of your password getting hacked by unauthorized people.

Once the takeover is complete, you can revoke their access to the login credentials.

6. Promote the takeover

It’s time to get people excited about your takeover. Building anticipation is a crucial step for getting your audience to want to check out the takeover.

Depending on what you’ve agreed on, you can ask your influencer to tease the content before and during the takeover on specified social platforms. Be sure they include your handle and/or hashtag when they do.

Photographer Peter Garritano recently took over New Yorker Photo’s Instagram page and shared several photos of his latest project.

He also promoted the takeover on his personal account. This promotion maximized how many people were aware of the takeover before it happened.

Just because the takeover is happening on Instagram doesn’t mean you should only promote it there! Take to Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and whatever channels seem relevant to let your audience know about it.

The band Aespa took to Twitter to announce their takeover of a SiriusXM radio station. Promoting their takeover on various social media channels helped raise awareness of this upcoming event.

7. Track your success

No social media takeover is complete without a review of its performance. You’ll want to go back to the SMART goals you made earlier to determine which analytics will demonstrate the success of your campaign.

Most social media platforms offer built-in analytics tools for businesses. However, they only offer basic numbers for a limited amount of time.

Using an advanced analytics tool like Hootsuite Analytics makes it far easier to measure and report on the results of a takeover campaign.

No matter what your metrics for success are, Hootsuite can find the numbers you need to prove your success.

Hootsuite analytics report

Obviously, we’re a little biased. But Hootsuite has fancy analytics tools which are going to help you find out why a social media takeover was successful.

Finally, be sure to proudly demonstrate your success to your boss!

Hootsuite can create custom reports to show the real return of your takeover. These analytics can also provide valuable insights into what worked (and what didn’t). Learn from your posts and your next social media takeover will be even more impactful.

And that’s it! Your step-by-step guide on running a successful social media takeover. If you want even more tips on influencer marketing, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you.

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