4 Tips to Tackle Your Social Media Takeover

Putting an outsider in the driver’s seat can be a fun, engaging digital strategy. Here’s how to do it for your next gathering

There’s no question that a strong social media campaign can boost your big event—from creating early buzz to sustaining the momentum long after guests have gone home. But would you feel comfortable giving that control to someone else for a day or so?

Known as social media takeovers, these short-term handoffs allow a “guest star” to show off his or her creativity, enthusiasm and personal brand. They’re growing in popularity: Celebrities such as Pharrell Williams and Mandy Moore have led recent takeovers for brands and related events. But it’s also an increasingly common tactic for universities, nonprofits and cultural institutions that might rely on less familiar collaborators to take the helm of one or more social channels. 

Regardless of size or scope, these efforts take planning and some oversight to ensure they go off without a hitch (or glitch). Consider these steps when crafting your takeover:

1. Find your influencer.

Discuss in advance who could feasibly “take over” your event’s social media platforms. Perhaps a well-known keynote speaker already scheduled to attend? A company mascot or brand spokesperson? Maybe a young, plugged-in employee with a fresh perspective is right for the job. In this case, personality and fit are key considerations.

Evaluate the strengths of different individuals by looking at their digital (and real-life) profiles to see who aligns best with the goals and tone of your meeting. Review a person’s online reach—via follower count and engagements such as likes, comments and retweets—as well as their writing style and on-camera personality. 

2. Offer clear (but not rigid) parameters.

Determine which channels your guest host can access as well as the length of time and frequency this person will be expected to contribute. Do you want spontaneous live tweets or a curated Instagram Story? A behind-the-scenes blog post or a Facebook Live video in the center of the action? Your needs and capacity can guide the approach. 

Consider your approval process, too. That means deciding whether a guest will be given account passwords (be sure to change them afterward) or a social media manager will be reviewing and posting content. More important: Provide a clear list of editorial do’s and don’ts for your takeover guests to keep in mind when sharing their perspective.  

3. Set target objectives. 

Although goals can evolve as the takeover approaches, it’s important to map out some basic things you’d like the effort to accomplish. These may include growing social media audiences and related interactions, driving website traffic and, in the case of meetings, getting more registrations or turnout for a particular seminar or workshop.

Make sure your takeover host is aware of those goals, which may affect how he or she produces content. Likewise, those materials can have an extended shelf life: Depending on your needs, guest contributions might be repurposed for future social media pages, company newsletters or materials promoting current or future projects. 

4. Promote the partnership.

Don’t wait until the event has begun to spread the word. Find out if your takeover guest is willing to spread the word a few days in advance. That’s key if you’re looking to boost attendance or social media engagements as the meeting or event is still in progress. It’s also a great way to draw more outside followers to your brand or gathering.

And while any good meeting has a designated hashtag, consider adding a second to commemorate the actual takeover. If the partnership was a success, cultivate those ties going forward. Having eager influencers in your corner is always a good thing—especially when it comes to championing your next big idea or annual meetup.