Twitter Takeovers Taking Over

Sorry about that pun. Well, not really. I mean it fits this story so well that I couldn’t resist.

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Perhaps it’s just because it’s the playoffs or teams/brands are seeing a value in them, but there seems to be an increase in Twitter Takeovers. A Twitter takeover is when a Twitter account has someone run their Twitter account for a set amount of time. The takeover happens with the  takeover-er (not a word, I know) will live tweet with their commentary or just general interaction with fans during the game, match or show. It could also be a general Question & Answer session. Regardless, Twitter Takeovers are becoming popular.

When the actual “first” Twitter Takeover occurred, I don’t know. Having been on Twitter since 2009 (that’s 28 in Twitter years), I am fairly certain there weren’t many, if any at all, back then. It’s not a new fad, however. Just last year, Media Bistro had this article on how “brands” were using celebrities for Twitter Takeovers. Maybe it’s the time of year (playoff-time) but as far as sports-related takeovers go, it seems like there’s one or two…or a few each week. The benefits of a takeover are numerous, depending on the reason for it. Take the case of Kobe Bryant.

Back in late December, Kobe Bryant did a Twitter Takeover of the Nike Basketball account. The “takeover” went so well, that Bryant joined Twitter in January. Today, Bryant enjoys a Twitter following of over 2 million, not to mention his 850k+ Instagram followers he has after joining that social platform in April. A basketball superstar of Bryant’s status used the takeover to launch himself into social media superstar status. It’s helped him continue to transform his public image in a way that five-plus years ago, he wouldn’t have been able to do.

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Here’s a look at some of the most recent Twitter Takeovers:

1. This one flew under the radar but it might be one of the best ones of the month: Kansas City Royals’ pitcher, Danny Duffy, did a takeover of the Royals’ Twitter account last week.

Danny Duffy is a Royals’ pitcher who is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery on the disabled list.  Given that, I think it’s a great idea to have a player on the DL engage with fans in this way. Judging by the tweets of fans (hashtag = #DuffyTakeover), the night was a success.

2. In a Twitter Takeover that spanned two sports, just last week The Rock took over the @NBAonTNT Twitter account.

Utilizing the hashtag, #RockTakeover, allowed fans to follow along with not only The Rock’s tweets on @NBAonTNT but it showed what fans were tweeting at him during the Chicago Bulls-Miami Heat game.

His most popular tweets:

Granted, The Rock’s takeover was most likely tied to his new movie, Fast & Furious 6, coming out in theaters this month, but all in all, he was entertaining and did not tweet anything controversial.

3. Unlike another takeover that happened just last night.

What started off as a “huge mistake” joke, turned into a PR mini-nightmare with this since deleted tweet:

Yeah. Ryder tweeted it. Under the LA Kings’ Twitter account.

Let this be a lesson for future teams/athletes/brands. Be careful who you give the “keys” to your Twitter account. Contrary to what the LA Kings said, they do “reflect” on you.

Ryder himself tweeted his apology, albeit with a slight defiance.

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There are three other recent Twitter Takeovers that I want to briefly mention. Two related to sports and one non-sports.

-A quite popular Twitter Takeover occurred when comedian, Rob Delaney, was “handed the keys” to the MLB’s Twitter account. A union between one of the more funnier Twitter accounts and one of the best leagues at doing social media was a match made in Twitter heaven. MLB.si.com has a list of his Twitter exploits here which for all intents and purposes was tame, compared to the aforementioned, LA Kings account.

-In coordination with last week’s XGames Barcelona, ESPN’s @XGames account was taken over by the legend himself, Tony Hawk. As captured by ESPN in a slideshow that you can see here, Hawk made the perfect ambassador and expert for the XGames during the Barcelona event.

-On a completely non-sports note, when doing a quick search for Twitter Takeovers, I stumbled across a story on the ABC show, Scandal. Scandal is a show that I only know because of Twitter. Many of the people I follow or are one of my Twitter lists are BIG Scandal fans. As someone who is not an avid television watcher, I find it curious how into it people are (much like “Mad Men” or “Justified”, etc). In reading this story a bit more, social media (Twitter Takeovers) has been an integral part of its success. 

When the second season premiered in September, so did the show’s live-tweet campaign. Hashtags like #AskScandal and #Scandal dominate, but week to week, new ones pop up based on the story line: #WhoShotFitz, #WhatTheHuck and #WhoIsTheMole.

Initially, I hated the Twitter takeover. It left too much room for spoilers. I’m a longtime Shonda Rhimes fan girl, from “Grey’s Anatomy” to “Private Practice” and now “Scandal.” If she creates it, I’ll tune in. But there’s nothing that will blow out my birthday candles faster than someone telling me the end of a show. Online, it happens often. If I’m not watching in real time, I won’t log on.

But there was a payoff in social media. More of my friends, online and in real life, started to watch. Now, the show averages 8.3 million viewers. People who slept on the first season are wide awake for Olivia and company. Even Oprah credits social media with bringing “Scandal” to her attention.

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Twitter Takeovers are here to stay. For now. In the fast-moving world that is social media, who knows what will be in vogue a year from now. It’s proven to be an encouragement to athletes to join Twitter, like with Kobe. And when done properly, it is an excellent way for teams/brands to engage with fans on Twitter.

YOUR TURN: What do you think of Twitter Takeovers? Do you, as a fan, like the idea? Have you engaged with anyone during a takeover? What has been the best one you’ve seen so far? Who would you like to see do a takeover?

Let me know your thoughts on Twitter Takeovers.

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CadChica Sports

3 comments on “Twitter Takeovers Taking Over

  1. seancallanan says:

    I have seen a few Twitter Takeovers go pear shaped like the LA Kings one, never been a fan of them as you spend so much time developing a brand voice and an way to engage fans it can be very jarring for fans to read tweets from someone else let alone poor tweets like examples above.

  2. LaurenTee says:

    Last year during the FedExCup Playoffs, the PGA TOUR invited NHL players from the local markets of the events to do Twitter takeovers of @PGATOUR from inside the ropes while following golfers in early rounds. NHL players Matt Moulson and Kyle Okposo from the NY Islanders followed Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler at The Barclays (played at Bethpage Black), while Shawn Thornton of the Boston Bruins live tweeted while walking with Keegan Bradley’s family during a round of the Deutsche Bank Champinoship at TPC Boston. It was a different way to showcase the fan experience and playoffs from a golf tournament, especially as many pro athletes are golfers in their spare time.

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