I opened up Facebook, and on the very top, there it was: another brand attempting a social media takeover, and it was going spectacularly poorly. Misspelled words, bad grammar and a person who couldn’t have been more bored if she had tried. I couldn’t stop looking and not for any of the right reasons.
Here’s the thing: I get why people do a social media takeover. You don’t have enough time to do everything and having someone tell their story from their perspective is attractive. However, this form of content is done so poorly so often that it often becomes a lesson on what not to do rather than useful content.
You Are Letting Someone Else Control Your Brand
What usually happens in a social media takeover is a password is handed over and the person is told to have fun. This is literally the only direction they receive. The person likely has no knowledge of your brand guidelines or social media marketing, but they want to help out. So they take your account and post some random things, hoping it’s right. And yup, that inappropriate post goes up. There was no ill intent. They were just trying to help. And now you have to explain that inappropriate post and do some damage control.
The amount of time and knowledge you would have to pour into a person to effectively post on your accounts is immense, and chances are you will miss something. So it’s basically impossible to get someone up-to-speed enough to be able to post on their own.
And when those inevitable mistakes happen, they are not the person doing the social media takeover’s mistakes. They are yours. You will have to own every single one of them. Do you really have time for that? Wouldn’t it make more sense to put some time in on the front end?
You Don’t Really Know a Person Until They Do a Social Media Takeover
Story time! I once watched a brand give the Twitter keys to a local personality who ran social media for different accounts. Sounds good, right? This personality had successfully run other accounts, so nothing could go wrong, right?
What followed was some of the most offensive tweeting by a brand I had ever seen. So many people were glued to the train wreck, and the brand had to apologize multiple times. Multiple. Times.
What went wrong? The personality decided it would be a good time to go rogue and be “funny.” Except he wasn’t, but he didn’t know that. So he kept going and doubling down on it. The brand quickly found out that his sense of humor was borderline disgusting.
So despite his “social media training” and being known locally, the brand was blindsided and quickly had a crisis on their hands. Because they didn’t really know him or his character.
How to Do a Social Media Takeover
But if it fits your goals and you have the resources, a social media takeover can be great. It can give your fans a behind-the-scenes look at your brand or show them what it’s really like to visit your area. And there are plenty of brands who do an excellent job at this kind of content. So what do you need to do to get it right?
Make a Plan
If your first thought when doing this is, “Yay! Someone else can think this one through,” please don’t do a social media takeover. You need a plan and it should be as detailed as if you were creating the content yourself. Know what your goal is. Have an idea of what each post should look like (although it’s okay to leave room for a bit of whimsy). Don’t just throw it at someone else and leave it to them to make that plan.
Be a Gatekeeper
Instead of giving out your password, have the person send you the content. Be very precise on what you are looking for and share your plan, so you have a chance of getting usable content. This option will require more back and forth, and it’s more likely to frustrate the person you have doing it. Which is why I think you should…
You don’t have to rely on another person to do your marketing for you. Let them be the star, but you are the camera person. This way you can guide things towards what your goals are. You can also make sure the person is seen in the best light. No more boring person droning on at a camera selfie-style. You can be their cheerleader and hype them up. You can ask the questions your fans will want answers to. You can make it fun.
Social media takeovers should be work, and where too many people go wrong is by being hands-off and letting others do that work. It will only lead you down a path you don’t want to be on and cost you way more time than you have.
Have you done a social media takeover? What did your process look like?