Think it might be time to rebrand your social media presence? Want to make sure you cover all of your bases?
In this article, you’ll discover a complete six-step guide to rebranding your business on social media the right way.
When to Rebrand Your Social Media Presence
Before you start planning your rebranding campaign, you need to understand why you’re doing it. The reasons for your rebrand will affect the decisions you make. And if you don’t know why you’re rebranding, then the rebrand is likely to fail.
Here are some good reasons to rebrand your social media presence:
- You’re launching a new product, line, or season, and you want to update your branding accordingly.
- You’re rebranding your business as a whole (as in the example below from Doodle) and your social media presence needs to match.
- Your brand has been through a major crisis and you want to reset the public’s view of you.
- You want to reach out to a new target market and your old branding doesn’t work for that audience.
- You’ve received consistent negative feedback from multiple users about your current branding and tone of voice on social media.
- You look and sound too similar to your competitors.
- You never consciously designed your brand. You’ve just been winging it but now you want a more coherent approach.
Here are some bad reasons to rebrand:
- Everyone else is doing it.
- Engagement has been lower lately and you’re not sure why.
- It’s been X number of years since your last rebrand and you feel like you should.
In other words, a rebrand should be about reaching your audience, not making yourself feel better. If your social media presence is just starting to feel a little tired, then you probably need a brand refresh rather than a rebrand.
Once the rebrand comes, it should be decisive. Both you and your audience should feel confident with the updated brand.
Of course, rebranding can be a stressful process for social media teams. You have to overhaul every last detail of your social media presence and a lot is riding on the result.
But you can take some of the pressure off by planning your rebrand campaign meticulously. Once the process is broken down into individual steps as follows, it will feel a lot more manageable.
- Audit: Review your existing social media presence and check out what competitors are doing.
- Create: Develop new social media assets including profile images, profile copy, post templates, and guidelines.
- Clean up: The rebrand should ideally be a clean break. You don’t necessarily have to delete all of your old posts but you may need to edit or review them for fit.
- Prepare: Prepare your audience for a change in your look by dropping hints in advance. You can even turn this into a chance for more engagement or exclusive content by offering sneak peeks of the rebrand. For example, Gumroad used its upcoming rebrand as a chance to recruit more newsletter subscribers by offering exclusive details in advance.
- Launch: By launch day, you should have every detail ready to go. However, you’ll still need to field comments and queries from your social media followers.
- Review: Do a thorough review of how the process worked, how long it took, and how your audience responded. Hopefully, you won’t be rebranding again anytime soon but you could learn some useful lessons.
Let’s get into those steps in a bit more detail.
#1: Audit Your Existing Social Media Ecosystem
Your rebrand must start with an audit. I know, I know—doing a social media audit is a chore. But it’s really important here for several reasons.
First, an audit ensures that you don’t overlook any of your social media profiles (this happens more often than you might think). That way, you won’t be scrambling to create any last-minute assets on launch day. Think about any new social networks or post formats that you’d like to add into the mix as well; a rebrand is a good moment to open up new frontiers.
Next, take note of your current followers and engagement rates, which gives you a benchmark for performance after the rebrand. You can expect your analytics to look weird for a while after launch day as your audience adjusts. The figures from your audit will be a useful reference once things have settled down.
You’ll also want to collect information on your competitors. You can compare their performance on social media and check that your rebrand really does look fresh and original.
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There are lots of free guides and templates out there to help you run a quick social media audit. As a rule, your audit should cover:
- Details of each social media profile, including usernames and URLs. Make sure you’ve included every profile including your presence on review websites.
- Data on engagement, audience demographics, and referral rates.
- Links or screenshots of your most popular posts, and/or which post types have been most successful on each platform.
Finally, it’s also helpful to include a space for additional notes about each social network. You and your team have lots of expertise and your insights should be included in the rebrand.
#2: Update Your Social Media Style Guide and Catalog New Assets
Now the real creative work begins. You’re going to pull together your social media audit, competitor analysis, and goals for rebranding into a single new brand identity.
Does that sound simple? It shouldn’t. This is the most labor-intensive part of the process because there are so many details involved. It’s not just about choosing a shiny new logo.
When we talk about social media assets, that includes:
- Usernames, display names, and vanity URLs for each social network.
- Profile and cover images.
- Copywriting for profile bios and page descriptions.
- Post templates for a variety of formats.
- Ready-made posts for all formats and social networks, scheduled ahead of the launch.
- Updated images and descriptions for any shop listings.
When you create these assets, you’ll need to check that they match the latest guidelines from social networks, which are constantly updating advice on image resolution and character counts.
You should also review every asset for accessibility. Test copy with a screen reader and check that color schemes work for users with visual impairments. Websites like Contrast Checker can help you test assets for visual accessibility.
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A full rebrand means changing your visual style and tone of voice. Your style guide for social media will need to be updated accordingly. This is also a good opportunity to check for brand safety. Review the keywords and hashtags you plan to use on different social networks and make sure there are no unfortunate associations.
Finally, communicate all of these changes with any agencies or freelancers you work with. If they’re still creating content based on your old brand identity, the result will be confusing and unsettling for your followers. Just make sure that none of the new assets are accidentally released before launch day!
#3: Decide Whether to Delete or Archive Past Social Media Content and Posts
Whether to delete or archive your old posts is a big topic of debate during a rebrand. Deleting everything and starting again can give you a clean break, clearing space for a completely new brand identity and message. On the other hand, it can also be disorienting for your followers.
Some brands have used a scorched-earth policy to great effect. Coca-Cola once scrubbed its profiles in preparation for a new branding campaign linked to World Kindness Day and then flooded social media with positive messages about friendship and community.
Scrubbing posts from your profile can also create the impression that you’re about to announce something big. If your followers are expecting a new product or a major collab, they might be comparatively disappointed by your rebrand announcement.
If you don’t want to take those risks, then you could simply edit your post history. Remove anything that is definitely at odds with your new style, tone of voice, or brand messaging. Edit other posts lightly. Even though you’re rebranding, there should still be some consistency with your past brand identity so there will be existing posts that are worth keeping.
Once you launch the rebrand, commit to it completely. Don’t try to mix old-style with new-style posts. That will just discombobulate your followers even more. Pick a launch day and stick with it.
#4: Outline the Launch Plan for Your Social Media Rebrand
Let’s talk about planning for your launch day. There are three key elements to consider here:
- Are you going to advertise the rebrand in advance?
- Will you make changes silently or announce the rebrand as it happens?
- How will you respond to followers who have questions or comments?
For example, this soccer supporters’ group is building engagement by announcing a rebrand in advance.
Trailing the rebrand in advance can be a great way to connect with your audience, especially if you want to offer exclusive content or privileged access. For example, you could use a newsletter, private Facebook group, or Discord channel to show a sneak peek at the new look before it’s launched. Loyal customers will appreciate feeling included in the rebranding process.
The actual launch day is also an excellent opportunity to connect with your audience. You could…
- Make a post announcing your new brand identity.
- Post stories from behind the scenes of your rebrand.
- Run a live Q&A to handle customer queries.
- Offer special deals to celebrate the rollout.
If the rebrand includes any changes to how you normally do business—for example, an updated checkout process or a change in contact details—then that information should be the headline. Otherwise, you can focus on how excited you are about the new brand designs and tone of voice.
This rebranding announcement from software company Builtfirst makes it clear that the rebrand includes changes for users, as well as an updated design.
Prepare this content in advance as much as possible. As you’ll see in the next section, launch day can be very busy so using scheduled content and readymade templates will make things much more straightforward.
#5: Launch Your Newly Rebranded Social Media Presence
The big day is here… and hopefully, you’re about to get plenty of feedback.
A rebrand will often trigger lots of customer queries. Your followers will look for reassurance that you’re still the same company, just with a smart new look. So you’ll need to pay extra attention to your mentions and DMs for the first few days of the launch.
Realistically, there will probably be some negative comments in there. The trick is to separate genuinely useful feedback from grumbling. Think about how many times Facebook has redesigned the news feed and the protests that inevitably followed. Some people just hate change. But if you get complaints that relate to usability or accessibility, then you may need to consider making some changes.
Bear in mind that depending on your industry, followers may need different kinds of reassurance. If you sell software, then customers want to know that it still runs the same way. If you sell retail products, customers may expect new releases to match your new branding.
And businesses in certain industries such as financial services will have to be extra-careful about showing a secure link between their old and new brands. For example, banking service Wise lists its old brand name on all of its social profiles to show customers that there’s continuity between the old and new brands.
#6: Monitor and Review Responses From Your Audience
You planned your rebrand, came up with some amazing new designs and copy, and launched the new brand identity on time. Everything’s great. So now you’re all finished. Right?
Well, no. With social media and marketing in general, there’s always more reporting to do. Taking note of what worked well during your rebrand (and what didn’t) will give you useful information for the future.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How long did the process take? Was it on schedule? Was the work manageable for everyone on the team?
- Has the rebrand communicated the brand image you were aiming for?
- Has the rebrand resulted in increased engagement or sales?
- How do your followers feel about the rebrand? How many new followers have you added?
You won’t be able to draw conclusions right away. It will take weeks—potentially months—for everyone to get used to your new rebrand. You may see rapid changes in your engagement and followers as you change the style and pace of your social media content. And of course, as your social media team gets comfortable with the new brand identity, you’ll see even more changes.
With the right planning and preparation, you can rebrand your social media presence with a minimum of stress and disruption. And you’ll reap the benefits of a re-energized brand.
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