The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Four Tips for a Social Media Takeover

Social Media Takeover: the term has been around for several years now, and proven its worth more than once. Put simply, you empower your most loyal followers by giving them “publishing” rights for a limited time on selected social platforms.

Universities are great fits for the takeover strategy, especially when a true sense of community is nurtured with students. Some may wonder, “Is it any different from having students manage the university’s account?” Not entirely, but takeovers allow these influencers to reflect their own identities in an authentic way through your platforms.

Another question might be, “Is it any different than reposting content from student accounts”? Yes! You can only multiply your reach by incentivizing your audience to share YOUR content.

Inspired by Sprout Social’s “5 Things Marketers Must Look for in a Perfect Instagram Takeover”, here are our four tips to tackle your next takeover fully prepared. Note that takeovers are most efficient when visuals are posted. Currently, the optimal platforms are Instagram and Snapchat.

1. Set realistic, comprehensive goals

Like any other marketing strategy, you don’t jump in without knowing what you want and which metrics to measure. Growing your followers is often the first thing that comes to mind, but a lot of information can fall through the cracks if that is your only target. Focus on how and what generates the most engagement. Consider more specific KPIs to provide detailed insights relevant to subtler influencing factors.

Because takeovers don’t work overnight, it’s essential to consider your promotion leading up to it, and the effects this lead-up has on your audience and your influencer’s audience. Be sure to align goals with specific KPIs to efficiently benchmark each takeover and identify strengths and weaknesses to improve over time.

2. Building a relationship based on mutual understanding

Universities with a strong sense of community have a clear advantage here, as the audience is available at hand’s reach. No one knows your university better than your own students.

At first, the main challenge lies in capturing your audience’s interest with pre-campaign promotion. Once the ball is rolling, the goal is to maintain the audience’s attention and willingness to participate. To start on the same page, there are some elements that must be shared over the first touchpoint. This includes your overall strategy and goals, a detailed editorial calendar to set expectations (how often should your guest post?), a branded hashtag and other specific outlines that match your strategy. Be clear with yourself early on, so your goals can guide you toward good candidates to carry out the “takeover” campaign.

3. Tying content components together

With each platform’s growing features come new ways to curate content. Identifying the content that works best for you is a priority. Is the use of filters or lenses relevant? Does a story work better than a photo gallery? If you still need to figure that out; competitive benchmarking is a smart place to start for inspiration. All elements, from posting habits, to content type and tone of voice must be tied to one another. Above all, it should be aligned with the overall strategy and the end goal you’ve put in place.

If the takeover is to promote student life, provide more flexibility for the user to show his/her personal identity for more intimate and behind-the-scenes content. If you aim to provide basic university information, provide a content structure with lists of key words or phrases to make sure the message comes out clearly and does not leave space for potential ambiguity. Once you identify the content producer, work with them to incorporate their voice, too. Followers easily see through overly-scripted and inauthentic moments.

4. Planning and scheduling

Leaving room for some flexibility with your account leads to more spontaneous content, but keeping your takeover on track is essential. A detailed editorial calendar sets clear expectations and is a time-saving way to monitor content and keep track of what performs the best (and why). Set expectations, but also leave some “flex” time for your guest.

The numbers on your calendar will set up the relevant analytics and KPIs you wish to know more about. With consistent monitoring, you’ll soon be able to identify more in-depth KPIs and elements of your takeover strategy that needs polishing.


Like any campaign that involves “external” parties, never treat a takeover like a one-time fix to get some buzz. Approach the method like any large-scale marketing project with set “standards” and highlight your influencers, thanking them for the value they bring. This strongly incentivizes participation and encourages students to take pride in their efforts (and ultimately spread the word farther).


Author: Edouard Reat Noch

A recent graduate from EHL, Edouard is the communications coordinator at swissnex San Francisco. With a passion for gaming, writing, and sports, he hopes to help local businesses grow in his father’s home country, Cambodia.

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