Our top tips for a smart, savvy and successful social media takeover

What they are, why you should consider them and how to successfully pull them off

Written by Ellena Johnstone on 11th May 2019

Social media content takes time and effort to curate. And the truth is, your social media accounts are so much more than just Twitter and Instagram profiles, they’re extensions of your brand. Most likely, you’ve spent years nurturing and growing your follower base and getting your luxury hotel or tourist board’s social media presence to exactly where you want it to be…

And now I want you to hand those accounts over to somebody else…

No, I’m not mad; I’m talking about facilitating a social media takeover.

The gut-wrenching feeling and resistance you may have just experienced is something we come across all too often when we discuss social media takeovers with our clients for the first time, but for luxury travel brands, well-managed takeovers can have big benefits and help increase your brand’s presence amongst your target audience.

So, what exactly is a social media takeover?

instagram log in screen

A social media takeover means placing one or more of your social media accounts into the hands of an external influencer for a set period of time. This might be a blogger, celebrity or even a member of your staff – so long as they will provide a new point of view and fresh content for the account.


But why would I pass my hotel’s social media accounts over to a complete stranger?

It sounds risky, but there really are numerous benefits.

A successful takeover should be a fun, engaging and successful venture for both parties. Here are the four main reasons why we encourage the brands we work with to take the plunge:

1. Build your audience base:

Both you and your chosen influencer will have your own established and loyal audiences, so cross promotion around a social media takeover will expose both accounts to a host of new followers.  To put it simply, if your chosen social influencer has 50,000 followers on Instagram, that’s 50,000 new potential guests or visitors who have just been exposed to your luxury travel brand!

2. Produce original content with a fresh perspective:

Sometimes when you work so closely with a brand, you can lose sight of all the quirky things that make a hotel special, or a city unique. By handing your social media accounts over to someone with a fresh outlook, you’ll be amazed at the original content they produce. A takeover can also humanise your brand on social media, providing a real, relatable person to embody the brand’s values and message.

3. Boost credibility with a stamp of approval:

Aa social media takeover is the ultimate third-party endorsement. Your chosen influencer is essentially saying: “I love this brand, and this is why you should too.”

4. Drive web traffic to your website:

A takeover can be a golden opportunity to push people from social media to your website. This is especially worth considering if you are launching a new package, or want to promote low-season bookings.


Is a social media takeover complicated? How do I set one up?

There really are only two basic rules to follow when setting up a social media takeover:

1. Be transparent about your goals

It’s important to ask yourself: “Why am I doing this?” and “What does success look like to me?” Maybe it’s increased follower numbers, maybe it’s higher engagement on posts, or possibly it’s driving traffic to your website.

Whatever it is, make sure all stakeholders understand what the core goals are, and what metrics you’re going to measure to monitor your success. You’ll also need to make sure you clearly communicate your goals to your chosen influencer and make sure they’re confident that the partnership will work to achieve these goals.

2. Find the right influencer

The most important factor which will make or break a social media takeover is to find an influencer who fits your brand, your goals, and who – even more crucially – connects with your target audience.

influencer smartphone

If your goal is to promote the new culinary package at your hotel, that up-and-coming foodie blogger with a small yet carefully curated audience of 10K is going to deliver a much better result than choosing a pop star or fashion model to host your takeover. While the latter may have more followers, are they really relevant and are their followers the audience you want to target?  (For more information on choosing the right influencer to work with, take a look at our post on how to assess if a social media is worth collaborating with)


Common questions we get asked about social media takeovers.

We always encourage questions from our clients, and we’ve received lots of great questions around takeovers. Here are some answers to the most common questions which prop up.

1. Do I have to pay them?

The honest answer is yes, you probably will need to pay.

Capturing, editing and uploading quality content is time-consuming, especially whilst on the move during a busy press trip. Combine this with the fact that for many influencers, blogging and social media partnerships is their full-time job. In saying that, fees will vary considerably from influencer to influencer, and according to the type of project.

Most influencers we’ve worked with operate on a daily rate, and we’ve found that we’ve usually been able to negotiate a one-day takeover during a longer trip to keep costs down if that’s a concern for our clients.

We also encourage our clients to remember that splashing the cash on a celebrity takeover need not necessarily generate better results. It is often best to choose a small, yet well-respected social influencer with a highly targeted and engaged following than to throw money after a high-profile name who has little connection to your brand, or engagement with your intended audience.

2. But I don’t feel comfortable giving out passwords? Are you sure this is secure?   

There are practical steps you can take to ensure a safe and successful takeover. We recommend that clients change their passwords before and after each individual takeover to ensure security.

It is also useful, where possible, to meet your chosen influencer before the takeover begins, for instance on the morning on the press visit, or have your PR Account Manager meet them on your behalf. This ensures trust and transparency on all sides. For peace of mind, we also ensure a formal written agreement is drawn up, which is then signed by both parties.

3. What about our house style? Will they stick with it?  

Again, this comes down to being clear about expectations from the word go.

Issuing the influencer with a clear brief, including a breakdown of house style and brand guidelines and any pre-agreed hashtags is crucial.

photo through trees

While it can be hard to let go, do resist the urge to micromanage the collaboration. Remember, the best content is generated when the influencer feels free and comfortable to share their experiences in their own voice and style.

4. How do I know it’s been a success?

The answer is simple: set measurable goals in the beginning and make sure to analyse the activity afterward.

If your goal was to drive traffic to your site, use google analytics to measure any variations in traffic from social media. If your goal was to grow your Instagram following, looks at metrics like followers gained, or referral traffic which will help you ascertain how much traffic the takeover drove from Instagram to your website.

Read this helpful guide for more on analysing Instagram metrics.

5. How can Lemongrass help me organise a social media takeover?

We’re so glad you asked! Our team has considerable experience in the field of digital PR and can help with all aspects of executing a social media takeover:

But don’t just take our word for it. This is what popular social influencers Twins That Travel had to say after the takeover we recently organised between them and our client Hamburg Tourist Board:

“We worked with Lemongrass on a social media takeover for Hamburg Tourist Board whilst we were visiting the country on a press trip. It was great to work with a PR team who understood the importance of social media and allowed us to be creative in the photos we created for the Mein Hamburg account.”

– Claire and Laura, Twins That Travel

twins that travel

So, there you have it: the whats, whys and how to execute a smart, savvy and successful social media takeover.

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We’re Lemongrass Marketing – we help travel brands grow by delivering PR and content strategies based on digital audience insights. Let’s talk about your next PR, Digital PR and content campaign. Message Mirjam@lemongrassmarketing.com or call +44 (0)1865 237 990.