Rolling out a rebrand on social media comes with enormous pressure to get it right. That’s especially true for well-known brands with large numbers of loyal followers.
In the highly reactive, comment-first-think-later world of social media, a poorly planned implementation can result in negative backlash that’s difficult to redirect. And that could lead your audience to disengage from your brand — or unfollow you altogether.
The good news is that social media also offers an exciting opportunity to rally increased support for your new brand. With a thoughtful plan, you can create enthusiasm for your rebrand among your existing audience while simultaneously attracting new followers. In fact, a solid rebranding strategy on social media can give your brand value a healthy boost and help you achieve the ROI you’re after.
Take these 6 steps to roll out your rebrand effectively on your social media platforms.
1. Audit your social media presence to ascertain the scope of your rebrand
Every rebrand should begin the same way — by taking a complete inventory of the branded assets that need to be converted to your new brand. Rebranding on social media is no different.
Before you begin, take time to audit your social media presence to discover all the places your brand appears. This includes tracking down the third-party organizations or individuals who link to your pages and educating them about how to roll out your rebrand in those partner channels.
It can be time consuming to manually search your social media accounts and other online spaces to find every instance of your name, logo, and other elements of your brand. We recommend building an audit framework and data collection templates to enable you to complete this task quickly and thoroughly. Your colleagues in IT may be able to automate this process for you. If not, consider partnering with a social media agency with the expertise to help you complete a comprehensive audit.
By connecting the dots from where you’ve been to where you’re going, you can maintain and deepen trust with the people who care about your brand.
2. Approach your rebrand with empathy for your audience
Rebrands almost always come out of a significant shift in business strategy, messaging, or organizational purpose. And that means your brand change isn’t simply about introducing a new logo or unveiling an updated visual identity; it’s about fundamentally repositioning your company in order to meet your strategic goals.
As such, it’s important to consider how your identity change will impact your audience. Especially on social media — where your brand might feel like a close friend — you can’t afford to underestimate the emotional attachment your audience feels toward your legacy brand.
Take time to think about what your stakeholders (including your employees) appreciate about your existing brand. Look for ways to pay homage to those elements as you communicate about the reasons for your rebrand.
By connecting the dots from where you’ve been to where you’re going, you can maintain and deepen trust with the people who care about your brand. Then, build on the increased engagement your communications generate by inviting these loyal friends to become ambassadors of your rebrand to their network.
3. Give your audience time to adjust to the idea of your rebrand
Your social media followers are accustomed to seeing your company’s name, logo, and other elements of your brand identity every time you post an update. Because of that, it’s important to let your audience know about your rebrand well in advance of your launch date, if at all feasible.
Social media is not the best place to surprise your audience with a big bang launch where you transition your identity in one fell swoop. This strategy can be effective in other realms. But on social media platforms, sudden changes may cause confusion at best and distrust at worst. Therefore, look for ways to prepare your audience for the incoming change.
Transparent, consistent communication is key here. For example, if you’re rebranding to demonstrate an evolution of your company’s norms and values, be open about that. Tell stories about how your rebrand will enable your organization to deliver your brand promise more effectively to a wider audience. And let your followers know exactly what the rebrand entails as well as when they can expect the transition to take place.
Even if you’re constrained by the legal requirements of rebranding due to an M&A agreement or an IPO, explore the possibilities of using teaser campaigns and preview posts to let your audience know that a shift is on the horizon.
4. Prepare your social media managers to communicate consistently about your rebrand
Your social media presence is likely influenced by more than one person. It’s common for a team of marketing leads to manage the day-to-day responsibilities of keeping regional or department-specific pages up to date, especially in large, decentralized organizations. You might even outsource your social media execution to an external agency.
It’s crucial to get all these players on the same page in order to roll out your rebrand consistently. To that end, consider holding a training session or workshop to lay out your launch plans, communication strategies, and posting guidelines. Keep everyone informed and educated about what you expect from them.
This is also a good time to collectively think about how you’ll respond to any feedback your rebrand receives on social media platforms. Ask your marketing team and employees who are active on your social media channels to help you anticipate the reactions you might encounter. Then, determine how you’ll respond to each scenario when the time comes.
And of course, make sure everyone knows who to contact if they encounter a comment or question they aren’t equipped to handle. Well-documented processes and procedures are key to implementing a decentralized rebrand on social media.
5. Make sure you’re ready for the behind-the-scenes demands of a social media rebrand
A rebrand implementation partner like BrandActive can help you think through every consideration you need to incorporate into your comprehensive implementation plan. But social media requires unique knowledge and technical skills. Therefore, it may be wise to engage a separate agency who specializes in managing the technical and logistical requirements specific to social media, even if you usually operate your social media in-house.
At a minimum, plan to:
- Secure the handles for your new brand on each platform where you have a social media presence
- Nail down your migration plan if you’re transitioning from legacy accounts to new accounts
- Understand and follow the legal requirements to change your name and official identity on each platform
- Double-check URLs and links to ensure public announcements go off without a hitch
- Build in enough time for each social media platform to review and approve your requests
All these behind-the-scenes details will directly impact how successful your transition can be. And this part of the process may be more challenging than you think. Be sure to surround yourself with people who can advise you on the best way to proceed so you can avoid technical glitches that could distract your audience from the message you’re trying to convey.
6. Integrate your social media implementation strategy into your overarching rebrand plans
Social media plays a key role in connecting your brand to your audience. But it’s only one part of a larger implementation puzzle. You need an integrated implementation plan that supports your organization’s overarching strategic goals if you want the rebrand to drive your business forward in all the ways you intend.
That’s where an implementation partner like BrandActive comes in. We can help you think through every facet of your rebrand, identify areas where you need additional resourcing, and keep the entire implementation process firing on all cylinders. And through thoughtful communication and engagement strategies, we can help you endear your new brand in the hearts and minds of your audience on social media and beyond.
Ready to get started? Let’s talk.