The Social Media Takeover: Using Influencer Marketing to Your Advantage
Creativity Marketing Transformation

The Social Media Takeover: Using Influencer Marketing to Your Advantage

Social media takeovers have been around for a while, but these days, more companies are trying out the tactic to sharpen their influencer marketing strategy. By handing over the social media reins to an outsider, brands are hoping to build buzz and a bit of a content cache—and the gimmick seems to be working.

Take Capital One, for example. It handed the keys to its Instagram kingdom to five popular Instagrammers for five consecutive weeks, asking them to post pictures of the interesting artifacts in their wallets. Nine of the pictures were turned into Instagram ads.

All told, the campaign resulted in a 16 percent lift in ad recall, Adweek reports. Interestingly, the campaign resonated most strongly among Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. Users 45 and older increased ad recall by 25 percent, and brand favorability jumped three percent for 21- to 24-year-olds.

Using influencer marketing on Instagram

The Appeal of Influencers

The idea behind influencer marketing is straightforward: Brands partner with popular YouTube, Instagram, or Twitter figures and gain brand exposure from the celeb’s legions of fans. Social media takeovers provide influencer marketing, but with a twist: Because the takeovers last only a short period of time, excitement and buzz are built in. Brands can promote the takeover event well in advance, and during the takeover they can incorporate interactive features like question-and-answer sessions to further engage followers.

The celebrity cool factor doesn’t hurt, either. Clothing retailer Express got a bump in engagement when it invited professional surfer Anastasia Ashley to take over its Instagram account. Throughout the day, Ashley answered user questions and posted pics of herself in Express’s swimwear—a powerful endorsement.

Journalists and photographers are also frequent fodder for the guest takeover. The Oakland Raiders gave ESPN’s John Clayton the Twitter carte blanche during a Raiders practice; he tweeted out his observations and answered questions.

But celebs and public figures aren’t the only people brands can tap for takeovers. AARP found its groove by inviting members to take over its Instagram account, including custom cookie business owner Gail Dosik. The move highlighted the brand’s human side and helped increase its authenticity.

Treading Wisely with Takeovers

Of course, using takeovers isn’t the right call for every brand. To be effective, social media takeovers need to be authentic—and that means ceding some or all of the editorial control to the content creator. Some brands may opt to give free reign to their guest contributor. Others may set guidelines and review content before posting. Others, like Ford, have said they won’t turn over their accounts to any guests at all, citing concerns about maintaining standards and language, Digiday reported.

And while teaming up with Internet celebs can yield rewards, influencers aren’t infallible. Vine star Nash Grier’s descent into controversy for a homophobic slur should give brands pause: Choose your celebrity partner wisely.

To avoid potential pitfalls, brands should ensure they understand their objectives for hosting a takeover, whether it’s boosting engagement, expanding followers, or starting conversations. Give the guest guidelines, but keep the editing minimal. If the message isn’t authentic, users will notice. PR News suggests establishing a war room on the takeover day to allow the team to listen and respond to the social conversation. After all, takeovers are all about the engagement, and a crack social listening team can also help mitigate any hiccups.

Want to know more about how to harness the power of influencers? Check out Skyword’s eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing and Influencer Strategy.

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