Your brand is the way the world sees your business, and in today's digital media dominated world - where 78% of the U.S population has at least one social media profile - it's become clear that your brand is very often defined by your social media presence.
Of course, making the decision to re-imagine your business can come with quite a bit of stress attached. For starters, people might not like your new brand, your core community members may feel that the original branding was more faithful to your message and be annoyed that your business seems to be going down a different path. Rebranding can become an overwhelming experience because it can put your online reputation at risk, compromising the awareness you've worked so hard to raise.
That being said, there may come a time when your business outgrows its original branding. When your company does evolve past its current positioning, it's important that business owners take ownership of the situation and lead the charge when it comes to transitioning the company, which is especially relevant when considering your social media identity.
Despite all the risks, updating your social media profiles and having branding that matches your new company principles is absolutely worth it.
If you're undertaking a re-brand, take a look at our step-by-step blueprint for successfully rebranding your brand's social media profiles.
Before the Rebranding
Before you start updating your social media profiles, it's important to take the time to consider what this process is going to look like.
Just to be clear, rebranding can end up being a disaster if you don't focus on laying the proper groundwork for this massive shift. Preparation and research are the most powerful tools you have before launch.
1. Organize your Efforts
As a person, social media platforms present you with the unique opportunity to discover and promote your personal brand at once. As you get more feedback, you develop a clearer sense of what your brand should look like.
To a certain extent, some of those principles are applicable to managing a company's social media platform too. Businesses should constantly be taking the temperature of their profiles and determining what content their audience loves and what they could live without.
When rebranding your business, it's important to realize that this is where the similarities end. No savvy business owner should dive into the world of social media without a clear idea of what message they want to promote and what they expect to accomplish.
Research everything from the new social media handle to the vanity URL and everything in between. You only get one chance at a first impression, and rushing the process is a surefire way to end up making a mistake.
2. Prepare your Audience
Members of your community will have differing opinions when it comes to your rebranding - some might not care either way, while your core community may have some choice words for you. Regardless of their opinions of your new company vision, transparency is crucial if you want to avoid rocking the boat.
Your social media community deserves to know that you're gearing up for a rebranding. And not just to avoid backlash either - there's every chance that your social media followers will be fans of the new direction, which can lead to arguably one of the most powerful forms of promotion: word-of-mouth.
Provide sneak peaks and help pique people's interest. Curiosity is another form of attention, after all.
3. Double Check Availability
This might seem like a no-brainer, but the reality of the internet is that sometimes, handles and websites are taken. To avoid a potentially humiliating situation (like announcing a rebranding only to realize your new Twitter handle is already spoken for), do your research.
How do you go about doing this? It's as easy as checking social media networks for your new social media handles.
Of course, we need to acknowledge the fact that someone may have taken your ideal handle. If this happens (and it does, all the time), try to get creative and find a variation that works for your business.
4. Plan for FAQ
No matter how smooth your rollout is, people are likely to have questions. The last thing you want is for your social media community to feel worried or confused about this major shift in branding, so take the time to anticipate their needs.
Put together a list of all the most likely questions you'll receive after launch. Craft thoughtful yet straightforward answers that will put your community at ease.
If you're serious about providing a high-quality experience for the people of your community, assign a person the job of keeping an eye on your social media profiles following launch, addressing questions quickly and clearly.
It might seem redundant at first, but having someone to provide speedy answers to a user base that has experienced a massive shift can help avoid confusion and frustration down the line.
5. Cover All Bases
So, after all the research and necessary prep work, you've finally launched your rebrand.
For the sake of professionalism and consistency, make sure that you update all your social media platforms on the same day, before your announcement. Announcing a rebrand before actually changing your presentation can be a strange experience for community members. Ensure that your message is consistent across all platforms, to reduce the likelihood of confusion.
In addition to your typical social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram), make sure to edit the details on review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.
After the Rebranding
Once you've executed the rebranding, the battle to maintain and develop your social media presence begins.
6. Address the Changes
Right off the bat, you'll need to make an announcement addressing any and all changes to your social media profiles.
The general rule of thumb? If something's different, talk about it. While there may be some people who are excited about the new direction your business has taken, there are likely to be just as many people confused about what this means for the future of your company.
At the bare minimum, explain why you decided to rebrand, and what this change is going to mean for your customers and users (even if the answer to that question is "nothing"). If you want to go above and beyond, make a note of your former brand identity in your bios so your users know they've come to the right place.
7. Promote your New Image
With a major launch like this, there's a good chance you created some new content to accompany your new brand identity - if that's the case, make sure to promote it to your followers.
Whether it's a new blog post or a video introducing the new brand, the point is that your users will have something to help them make sense of this change.
Promotional content like this should be 50% celebratory, 50% explanatory.
8. Respect the Power of Paid Ads
For whatever reason, paid ads seem to have developed a bad reputation within the world of social media - which is strange, considering that with attention being such a precious commodity, any tool that helps you increase traffic should be embraced.
Paid ads might not be sexy, but they're certainly effective. For one, they ensure that your business will get the attention it needs during a massive rebranding effort.
As if that wasn't enough, this will give business owners who haven't used paid ads a chance to experiment with them.
9. Engage in Conversation with Users
When it comes to life after the rebranding, this is arguably the most important component - actually have meaningful interactions with your users.
This can be your business simply addressing any complex questions your social media community has, but the reality of promoting a brand on social media (especially one that's less than a few days old) is that you need to consistently be social on social media.
New users have no frame of reference for how your social media communities operate and old users are worried that this rebranding means a turn for the worse in your engagement. Take this as an opportunity to reassure both parties that this rebranding will benefit everyone and that your business cares about its followers.
Rebranding can be a mess when handled poorly. But under the right circumstances, it can be the first step towards a bigger and better social media presence.