How to Rebrand Your Social Media Accounts
Posted by EricaMcGillivray
Remember when Moz rebranded way back in May 2013? (Seems like a lifetime ago for this Mozzer, but, alas: startup life.) Well, since then a ton of you have reached out in
our Q&A forum and on social media to ask just what we did to get this done.
Rebrands happen. While this is a late tale, it’s a story better told late than never, and it’s not as scary as you think, I promise.
Plan early. No, really early.
Don’t put off thinking about your social media accounts until the last second of your rebrand. In several cases, you have to work with other companies to get things done, and you might have to file trademark claims if your new brand name’s been taken. You’re also probably going to want to have some new artwork for your Facebook background as well as other social pretties, which means involving your graphic designers. Not to mention, besides your name, you’ll need to update company information, and I recommend putting documentation together to copy and paste from on game day. I personally got to work at 4 a.m. on Moz’s rebrand day, and I can tell you that preparation saved me from a lot of terrible mistakes by this non-morning person. Not enough earl grey in the world.
You want to grab your new Twitter handle as soon as your company’s new name has been selected. You may need to negotiate with someone who might already have your choice. (Note that it’s against Twitter’s terms of service to pay for a handle.) Or if there’s only a squatter, you can reach out to Twitter for either a trademark violation or just
their inactive account policy.
At Moz, we secured our Twitter handle
@Moz almost two years before we rebranded, which meant that we were more than ready come rebrand day.
The actual switchover on Twitter was quite easy. We knew that we wanted to keep the old @SEOmoz account for monitoring and branding purposes, and we wanted to seamlessly transition all of our @SEOmoz followers to @Moz.
To switch, we first changed the @Moz account’s name to something random like @Moz23, and then we changed @SEOmoz to @Moz and @Moz23 to @SEOmoz. I had two different browsers open and logged into both accounts, which let me make all these changes in seconds. All followers of @SEOmoz were then automatically following @Moz.
If you’re verified, you do lose your account verification when you switch your name, but we were easily able to get it back by emailing our ad account folks at Twitter, who were clued into our rebrand before it happened. (We like to have backup plans for our backup plans.)
Facebook is perhaps a trickier network on which to change your company name, particularly if you have more than 200 followers and your new brand name is three characters or less. We have both at
Moz, and this meant that Facebook had to make all these changes for us.
If you are changing an account with over 200 followers, you can apply to Facebook for a rebrand. We were lucky; at that time, we had an ads account person that we connected with directly; if there’s one time to call in a favor, it’s during a rebrand.
The good news is that since our rebrand, Facebook has made it easier to request a page name and vanity URL change. It can take up to several days or weeks to process on their end through this request page, so keep that in mind. I’ve also heard reports from those in the UK that this feature may not be released all over the world. You can also only change your vanity URL once!
Warning: Make sure you change your page name before you change your URL as Facebook needs to approve the name change.
Facebook required a ton of documentation from us around our rebrand. They wanted to see our legal trademark on Moz (easy enough with public records); our marketing documentation (we sent them an internal slide deck and screenshots of our new site in the staging environment); our rebrand press release; and documentation that we owned Moz.com. We also had to keep our fingers crossed that no one from Facebook would leak our rebrand (not that it was top secret or we’re famous).
Unfortunately, if you’re planning a rebrand and your company culture or rebrand situation is one of non-disclosure agreements and super-secretive plans, you may run into a roadblock here. Even at Moz, we questioned internally about how much information to give away without a non-disclosure agreement. You must upload documentation of your rebrand and legal rights to the new name. Here’s what Facebook says:
All said and done, we gave Facebook enough documentation and gave them our new name and the date and time to switch over our account. At 7 a.m. on May 30th, we went from SEOmoz to Moz on our Facebook company page, with our fans intact.
Your vanity URL is an easy change in Facebook through their interface. However, you can only change a page’s name once; so just in case your name change isn’t approved and you are forced to start from scratch, you want to keep that vanity URL free. Once you change the vanity URL, you cannot claim your old brand, and the old vanity URL will redirect users back to the Facebook homepage.
If anyone actually figures out how to change a vanity URL on Google+, please call me! But I get ahead of myself.
Back in the day when it seemed like only Lady Gaga had a vanity URL, SEOmoz had one. The legends say that one day the gods smiled on us, and we were granted +SEOmoz.
I thought in my naivetÃ© that I could change the vanity URL since we already had one, or that after a period of time Google would realize we’d changed our name and do it for us. I was wrong on both accounts. I’d also hoped that maybe once everyone else started getting vanity URLs, there would be an option to edit ours. No such luck.
You can change your company page name on the profile section of the interface to anything you want: smelly cat, lover of potato chips, trampler of paper dinosaurs. Or, you know, your new rebranded name.
Pro tip: the old garble of random numbers assigned to you will still redirect you to your company even if you have a vanity URL. At Moz, we chose to use the number to link to our company page to from our site. This was so you, gentle reader, didn’t ask about site errors and so we hedged our bets in case we wake up one morning to a new vanity URL.
You also don’t want to forget about reverifying your new domain URL, especially if you’re working on authorship and publisher status. Make sure your web developer knows this, and don’t forget to have your bloggers change their personal G+ profiles to reflect your new domain URL for authorship.
Our G+ company page reads Moz now, but that darn vanity URL still says +SEOmoz. Good thing Google doesn’t care about SEO on its own pages. 😉
Make sure your YouTube accountânow forcibly associated with a Google+ page as part of YouTube’s anti-spam effortsâis a manager of your G+ business page. Then connect them together so all of your YouTube videos will appear on your G+ page; you can easily share your videos there; and so all your YouTube comments and shares show up in your G+ page notifications. While you don’t have to do this pre-rebrand, it will make your life easier as
your page name change on G+ will change your YouTube name, too, so you only have to do one.
There are some odd rules on YouTube surrounding vanity URLs, though. In some still confusing circumstances where YouTube does not allow you to have a vanity URL that anyone had ever associated with an accountâeven if that account was deletedâwe weren’t able to secure Moz, but instead went with
MozHQ for our vanity URL.
That said, as long as no one’s ever had your brand name, you can easily change your channel name to your brand without any worry. Make sure your brand’s YouTube account’s cooperating with the new G+ page connections, and that it’s associated with a non-employee business email address, not an employee’s email, whether personal or professional. At one place I worked, an employee accidentally hooked up their personal email to the YouTube account, and we lost our brand name!
Pinterest is super easy. All you have to do is edit away and easily change your brand information to your new name. Don’t forget, if you have a new domain URL, to re-verify your site.
If someone has your new brand name on Pinterest, you can
file a trademark claim. When we were SEOmoz, we were successful in getting the SEOmoz username from a squatter. However, when it came to Moz, the very active user wasn’t using the name in a way that violated our trademark, so Pinterest did not give us the Moz username. So we’re MozHQ there.
I have some bad news: There is no way to change your company page in a rebrand.
At Moz, we tried reaching out to LinkedIn so see if we could work something out, but no one returned our messages. 🙁 Instead, we created an entirely new company page from scratch and posted a message on our old one that we’d moved. Which means we lost 7,000 followers there.
Special note: If you have a three letter name, LinkedIn will have a hard time displaying your new company name when employees go to update their profiles. After a legion of Mozzers filed support tickets with LinkedIn, we were able to get a workaround. However, before that, it kept trying to make us say we worked for Mozilla. 🙂
For those of you running Groups, it’s super easy to rebrand. Mostly because your vanity URLs aren’t real vanity URLs, and you can easily change your name.
Note: We can’t change our Moz Group any longer because we passed a 20,000 member barrier, beyond which you must get extra LinkedIn permissions to grow your Group. This happened post-rebrand, so we were able to easily change it in May.
Now for your vanity URL, you can literally type any words into it, and it won’t matter. The numbers are what directs you to the right group. For example:
All those URLs go straight to the Moz Group. 🙂
While we aren’t using Instagram at Mozâyes, I know!âit’s pretty easy to change your Instagram information, as long as your brand name’s not taken. Simply edit your profile name and it and the vanity URL change:
If your brand name is taken, you can
file a trademark claim with them.
On Tumblr, there are two different places for you to change for your rebrand as you’ll want to change both your blog’s name and your URL. This will also likely depend on the purpose of your Tumblr. Here we use our Tumblr,
Moz Health, to update our customers and community when things go haywire.
For the name, this is located in editing featuring associated with the blog’s design and title field. (When I first started on Tumblr, I couldn’t decide on a name for my blog, and it took me forever to change it from Untitled!)
For the vanity URL, your username is associated with it, if you’re using tumblr.com as your URL. You can change your username to anything that’s not already taken.
Redirecting it a URL on your site:
Special note: If you have more than one Tumblr blog, you cannot change which is your main Tumblr blog associated with your account when you’re commenting via Tumblr. This can be frustrating. I recommend changing your username instead of starting a second Tumblr under the same username for your new brand. You don’t want people going to your old brand name!
More than just switching names.
Of course, a rebrand is more than just switching names on social. You have to make sure your social media messages are aligned with your PR, content, and more. You also have to respond to the people reaching out to you.
On Moz rebrand day through the next week, we sent out over 800 message from the main @Moz Twitter account, and that doesn’t even count the rest of our social accounts or our on-site blog and in our Q&A forum.
We had an entire action plan around the coverage for our community team, and I suggest starting not with the details but with your goals. Then, work down to those details and sharing with all those involved in the rebrand efforts.
Our community coverage rebrand goals were:
- Make sure that all accounts are switched over to Moz names.
- Make our audience happy with the rebrand.
- Answer 95% of all questions, in a timely manner, about the brand and the beta product.
- Have full coverage for launch and then next 24 hours as needed.
I’m happy to say that this part of our rebrand went very smoothly, and I wish the best for all of you going on the same adventure! I’d also love to hear about your stories.
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