But what if, after all you’ve spent a long time building a brand’s presence in the digital space, you find out that their name is going to soon change?
All that work you’ve done will have to be redeveloped. You’ll have to start from scratch, which poses massive challenges.
Before jumping in, do some research. Find out whether you’ll face any naming limitations from platform to platform.
When you implement the name change, you’ll want to keep your brand consistent across all social media platforms. You must make it as easy as possible for consumers to find your page or account, regardless of what social media network they use.
Luckily, I’ve been through such a digital rebranding.
This post will provide some tips for three major social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – and how to manage your social media profiles to ensure your rebranding is successful.
1. Facebook Page Name & Username
When rebranding on Facebook, you have to change both the name of your page and your username. You also must be an admin to implement any name changes, so make sure you have the proper privileges.
For the Facebook page name, you have 73 characters to work with. But what happens if the rebranded name is already taken?
One of my clients recently changed their name from CliniSanitas to Sanitas Medical Center. We wanted people to find the page with little effort.
Unfortunately the Page name “Sanitas” was unavailable. We thought it would have been ideal because it was shorter would be easier for people to remember.
Ultimately, this turned out to be a good thing, however. Although “Sanitas” was shorter, “Sanitas Medical Center,” was more appropriate – it’s the brand name consumers would become familiar with.
Once you place your name change request, you’ll see a pop-up box that says:
Our review may take up to 3 days and require additional information. If your name change is approved, you won’t be able to unpublish the Page or change the name again for 7 days. During this time we may also let the people who like your Page know the name’s been updated.
One time my request came back immediately. It was denied. I knew I had followed all the guidelines Facebook had set out, yet still something was flagged.
If this happens to you, open a ticket with Facebook’s Business Support. If you’re unlucky enough to get denied, then visit the link and scroll to the bottom of the page. Depending on how busy Facebook’s support team is, the “chat” function may or may not be visible. If there’s no chat option, open up a ticket via email.
When it comes to the Facebook username, a few restrictions apply. You have 50 characters to work with.
It’s easier for people to find your page via Facebook search when you have a unique username associated with it. The real benefit is that pages with usernames can also create custom URLs, which helps when promoting the brand’s new name in the digital space.
Your Facebook username can be implemented immediately. Once the change is done a confirmation box will appear containing your unique Facebook URL.
2. Facebook Location Page Name & Username
Once your main brand page is completed, you need to complete the same exercise if you also have locations pages under your main brand page.
Although you can’t use the same name for the brand page as your location pages, you have an opportunity to use geotargeting naming structure to your benefit.
For example, if one of your business locations is located in Tampa, Florida, then you could use brand name + Tampa, this way your unique URL for that location would be facebook.com/BrandNameTampa/.
In addition, all new logos must be changed individually. Changing your main Facebook brand page logo won’t trickle down to your location pages. However, one neat thing I discovered changing the cover photo actually carried over to the location pages.
After you’ve updated your visuals, go back the next day to make sure they, in fact, stuck. The day after I changed the logo/main profile photo for the first time, I discovered I needed to make the same changes for a second time.
Finally, make sure you update the About section, URLs, and any other information that may reflect the old name.
3. Twitter Handle
When changing your brand name on Twitter, there’s no limit on how often you change your name. The bigger issue is making sure a username you actually want is available.
More often than not, you’ll discover your rebranded company name is unavailable on Twitter. Be prepared to go with a variation. Try to keep your Twitter name as similar as you can to your presence on other social platforms.
To change your Twitter handle, navigate to Settings and privacy:
From there you can update your username. Remember, your new username can only contain alphanumeric characters (with the exception of underscores).
Twitter also doesn’t accept requests to “claim” inactive accounts. So even if a username that is perfect for your brand appears to be totally inactive, there’s no real way to obtain it. For now, your only option is to come up with something similar to the handle you really want.
If your client is rebranding, and is located within a certain area, then perhaps combining their location and brand would be best option.
For example, one of my clients recently rebranded as part of an expansion to other U.S. cities and states. So I changed their name from @BrandNameMiami to @BrandNameUSA. This led to better flexibility, as they were no longer just in one city.
Another option is adding “Global” after the brand name if the new brand name alone isn’t available.
4. LinkedIn Company Page
Unfortunately, LinkedIn is, by far, the worst experience you’ll have when rebranding a company page. Here three of the biggest issues and errors I dealt with, some of which required several emails back and forth with their engineers to fix.
You Can’t Rebrand a LinkedIn Company Page
When it comes to an existing LinkedIn company page, you must be an admin of a Company Page to do any type of updates. But even then, you can only make minor changes to the company name and information. For example, “Company Page Inc.” can be changed to “Company Page LLC.”
The reason? Because changes to LinkedIn company pages affect the profiles of current and former employees. Fair enough.
However, LinkedIn should work on a solution to populate auto-updates within profiles if/when a company rebrands. At the very least, LinkedIn should provide a notification to its users (similar to Facebook) informing them that a company name has changed. This would give LinkedIn users the option to update their profile if they want.
The only solution on LinkedIn for a major rebrand? Develop a whole new company page.
Who Owns Your LinkedIn Company Page?
Another huge issue I ran into during a rebranding was discovering that someone had already developed a new LinkedIn company page. Nobody knew who did it and, even when I got ownership of that page, this person was still able to make updates to the page.
When you rebrand, make sure to communicate to your employees and leadership that this exercise should be left to the people who run your social media.
Because if a random employee creates a LinkedIn company page, and you don’t know who it is and (and you can’t find out because LinkedIn won’t provide that information to you), the only other solution you have is to create yet another page with an alternative company name, which only defeats your rebranding efforts!
The Corporate Headquarters Address Error
Here’s yet another issue that arose, which took a few emails back and forth with LinkedIn to solve.
I was unable to update the overview, the logo, and cover image. Every time I would update and publish the new information, LinkedIn showed the following error:
What. The. Heck?
This was so frustrating. I was doing everything right – or so I thought.
Come to find out that when you create a company page, adding the corporate headquarters address to the location section is the first thing you must do.
If you create a new page and see the above error, make sure your address is updated. Once you update that, you should be able to move forward with updating the other items on the Company page.
Did you experience an issues I didn’t cover? You can open a LinkedIn help ticket.
A rebranding is a major undertaking. But if you use these tips, it should make your rebranding efforts a bit less painful on social media.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our weekly newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!