• Jordan Sherman

Planning a social media takeover

Updated: Aug 22

The familiar phrase “necessity is the mother of invention” is an old way of describing a new challenge for the COVID-19 era: how can a lung cancer nonprofit bring members of the lung cancer community together safely for a fundraising and awareness-raising event? The answer is virtually, using all of its social media platforms to create conversation, connection, and commitment to increased lung cancer research funding. Let’s walk through how M&C Communications moves the stairs to make it happen for the nonprofit Lung Cancer Foundation of America.


A social media takeover is a new twist on an old idea


A social media takeover is just the digital version of the analog campfire: the place where everyone gathers to listen to stories, share ideas, and spend time together. Our job as public relations strategists is to help small nonprofits use social media to generate engagement, media coverage, and drive donations.


While it’s not possible to bring a bunch of people together safely during the COVID-19 pandemic (especially those living with lung cancer), it’s entirely possible to gather virtually- from LA to Budapest- in a day-long event across four LCFA social media channels.


Research saves lives, and humans love stories


The social media takeover happens when a little planning meets a great idea: let’s show people what living with lung cancer really looks like as we raise awareness of the need for more research funding and money for LCFA’s Young Investigator research grants.


The patient advocates are all in on the idea, excited to show off how incredible advances in lung cancer research allows them to do what they love to do every day. The ideas for live conversations came pouring in from dozens of patient advocates: we’ll show you what living with lung cancer looks like by doing yoga, cooking, working up a sweat in the gym, baking cupcakes with the kids, leading an employment seminar, making homemade salsa and challah bread and so much more.


What makes a great nonprofit social media takeover?


Lung Cancer Foundation of America picked a date with special resonance for the lung cancer community: August 1, World Lung Cancer Day. Lung cancer kills more people than breast, colon, and prostate cancer combined but astonishingly is one of the least federally-funded major cancers in terms of research. It’s also the number one cancer killer of women, making it critical for the campaign to reflect the reality of living with lung cancer today: younger people with careers, families, and so much more to contribute to society. That’s the starting point for LCFA’s World Lung Cancer Day social media takeover.


The plan is simple but robust:

  • Measurable goals for engagement, donations, and new followers will determine success

  • Patient advocate will set the tone by demonstrating what living with lung cancer looks like to him/her

  • A social media takeover outline of visual demonstrations on Facebook Live, engaging Twitter conversations, and inspiring hourly posts on Instagram showcases crowd-sourced content from the lung cancer patient advocates and researchers themselves

  • Friends, family, local media, sponsors, and other supporters know how to promote a social media takeover ahead of time thanks to consistent promotion, paid media, and direct outreach

  • The content is easy to find, search, and engage with using the designated hashtag: #livingwithlungcancer

  • Highly engaged social media users are guided to a custom MobileCause online event page populated with live content streams from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, giving users an easy and safe way to donate to LCFA’s mission of funding lung cancer research

  • Make it happen!

Keys to a successful social media takeover & fundraiser

No surprise here. The keys to a great fundraising social media takeover event are:

  • Be organized

  • Create a social media takeover checklist and execute on the plan relentlessly

  • Make sure everyone knows what to do, how to do it, and when it needs to be done

  • Leverage every opportunity to grab attention and drive engagement


A successful guest takeover event is also an earned media driver for patient advocates to engage local news media with their stories of living with lung cancer. M&C created a customizable press release for patient advocates to adapt and use to pitch media in their own communities to extend coverage and reach of the event.


Organizing the creation of 37 hours of engaging, useful, and hopeful social media content for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from more than 30 people is no small feat, but it’s what M&C Communications does best. As former journalists and expert content creators, the strategists at M&C Communications help clients grab attention and drive engagement. From in-depth podcasts to eye-catching videos, to award-winning PR campaigns, M&C knows how to turn heads and protect your brand.


Would you like to watch the Lung Cancer Foundation of America campaign and get ideas for how to host a successful social media takeover and fundraiser of your own? Join LCFA on Saturday, August 1st from 5am PT/8am ET to 7pm PT /10pm ET to watch this incredible social media takeover and fundraiser unfold.


3 Steps to Social Media Takeover Success
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