Step 1: Don’t!
Surprise, folks! This isn’t a listicle, and that title was a lie. There are no easy steps when it comes to taking over someone else’s social media. Why is this? Because people are more than just brands. In the eye of the public, the brand encompasses everyone who works for that business.
But while many people (actors, musicians, models, athletes, salesmen, etc.) would like to market themselves as a brand, you can’t take the individual out of the brand. When an individual acts inappropriately and there is an outcry in the public, the business fires the individual and the brand is secure. But you can’t separate a brand from the individual. Whatever mistake the individual makes reflects his own brand, and there is no escape.
I am a firm believer that if you want to market yourself as a brand, you must handle your social media yourself or let a close friend run it. The whole idea of social media management is that you are putting words into your clients’ mouths. That’s fine for large businesses, as they have set goals and mission statements. But people change. What someone believes today, they may change tomorrow. That’s brand inconsistency.
It takes an extreme act of arrogance as a social media manager that you can always stay on brand for your clients, and chances are, you will screw up. It doesn’t look good for your client, and it will look bad on you when looking for future clients. For example, say you were managing social media channels for a musician. You’re on Facebook and Twitter posting their “thoughts” and engaging with the audience that responds. All is good so far. But then, while you’re engaging, @Sephiroth420 asks “Hey man, love that song ‘Bad News Portland’, but what does is it mean?” And you reply “It’s meant to raise awareness about deforestation in the Pacific Northwest”. But it turns out, the musician actually revealed in an interview with Microphone Stuff magazine three years prior that the song is actually about the plight of urban youth in America. And them some other user posts the link to that conversation. Now all of that musicians followers can see that you didn’t know what you were talking about. They’ll probably figure out that this isn’t really Chad Timothy on Twitter, and you have taken the satisfaction of following him on Twitter away from his fans. See how easy that is? All it takes is one minor slip up to make your client look like a moron.
The amount of communication you need with your client and the hours spent on research is probably worth much more money that your client is willing spend, so to all of my fellow social media managers, save yourself some headaches, and stick to helping businesses and organizations.