Have you ever gone out for drinks with your friends, and it turns out they’ve brought along another friend who you don’t already know? It might feel a little weird at first, but as soon as you get to talking you realize that you actually get along really well with this new person—and the more you hang out with them, the more of their personality you get to see, the more you realize you’d actually like to keep hanging out with them even after this.
This is exactly what a social media takeover is. Another account invites you to hang out with their audience and throughout the day they get to see who you are, and when it resonates, they’ll want to follow you and continue getting to know you outside the takeover.
But if you’re new to the world of takeovers, it’s not uncommon for it to feel a little overwhelming as you get your bearings. If that’s you, don’t sweat it! This guide is here to help you secure your very first takeover and make an incredible impression along the way.
What is a takeover anyway?
In short, a takeover is when you go on someone else’s social media platform and for an allotted time (usually a full afternoon or day) you are the one in control of the content. Meaning, every story or post is coming from you and your perspective.
It’s a great way to leverage another person’s audience while bringing new people (your existing fans) to their account. So it’s a win-win
How can I find one that’s right for me?
Start paying attention to the people you already follow and looking at them through the lens of “would this be a beneficial partnership?” You can also use hashtags to find new accounts. For musicians, look at other musician accounts (think: someone you’d play a show with) or industry professionals, blogs, etc.
Look at the type of audience they have, the level of interaction their account seems to get, and if it feels like an audience that you’d like to get in front of, reach out and see if they’re open to doing a takeover.
One piece of advice here—choose accounts that make sense for your own reach. For instance, if you have 100 followers, it might be tempting to reach out to an account with 10k followers and ask for a takeover, and they might say yes! But, remember that part of the takeover exchange is that the other account is getting access to your followers as much as you are getting access to theirs, so just keep that in mind when looking at which accounts to approach. It might make sense to start off with an account with similar reach as you begin to get the hang of things and grow.
So…what do I post?
This is where the fun starts! The best piece of advice I can give for getting a feel for what to post is to start watching other takeovers. The best way to learn in this case truly is by first seeing it in action a few times and then just getting in there and doing it yourself. Some blogs will have examples in their Highlights section showing past takeovers, and that can be a great way to see a takeover in action.
Otherwise, follow different labels and blogs that do takeovers and pay attention to when they’re happening. Each takeover is different but, there are a few ways to prepare.
One way to do this is to plan the takeover for a day that you actually have something going on. For instance, when you’re in the studio, or doing a music video shoot, or practicing for a show, or having a live show or release party. Then you can create content around those activities. For instance, videos of the band getting ready, or rehearsing, or choosing their outfit for the night, or creating new merch for their fans. Anything that shows the audience the behind the scenes of those moments,
You can get creative with this—even the small moments like band rehearsal or a show in another city or a writing session can provide enough material to keep fans engaged.
But you’ll have a lot more luck with fan engagement if you have a specific activity to center the takeover around. Speaking of engagement, takeovers are the most successful when people are actually engaging so…
How do I make it engaging?
Once you have a set activity to center your takeover around, be mindful of always involving the audience. Make sure you use things like polls, stickers, quizzes, etc to get your audience interacting and feeling a part of your process.
Remember, the takeover’s goal is to bring the audience along with you for the day, so think of it like if you had a friend from out of town. You’d ask their opinion, show them your favorite spots, have conversations with them. The same is true of a takeover. So make sure you:
- Make use of stickers/polls/quizzes
- Ask the audience for their thoughts on different things. Even (and especially) small things like “which pizza should I get?” “Which lyric do you like better?” “Which shirt should i wear?” will make them feel involved
- Post a lot. When you’re doing a takeover, posting every couple hours (at least) is important to keep people’s attention.
- Make the most of your environment. Don’t just film or take photos in the same position all day. Move around, show different surroundings, different people/places/activities you encounter throughout the day. Remember, you’re taking them on a journey.
- Have a defined start/middle/end. For instance, if the takeover is around a release show, then start by introducing yourself and who you are, taking your fans through the pre-show antics and process, then showing them the show itself, followed by how you unwind and call it a night after. You’re telling a story after all.
Above all, have fun with it! The takeovers where bands look like they’re genuinely enjoying themselves are always the most engaging and well attended ones.
So no matter what, be sure you’re doing things that are going to feel fun and easy to you—because I promise, if you’re having fun, the audience will too.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves ice cream, reality TV, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.