If your company is going through a merger or acquisition, we know that rebranding is top of mind. You want to revamp everything – your logo, your website, the water bottles that you give to new employees… But the one thing you can’t afford to let fall down your priority list? Social media strategy.

As the saying goes, “leave no man (nor social media platform) behind.” In other words, social media needs to be integrated into the larger rebrand strategy, but even more importantly, it needs to be done with the followers first in mind. How, you may ask?

First, perform an account audit.
Establish which types of social media presences each brand has. Are they completely consumer-facing, or do they serve internal/recruitment purposes as well? Do they share company cultures? Are they the sorts of brands using 113 different Twitter handles for each minute aspect of their work? It’s important to conduct conclusive research into the nuances of how each account interacts with its followers, and what types of content are most successful and engaging on each channel.

Now, choose an integration strategy.
You have a few options here: 1) make one brand dark and try to send its followers to the other; 2) keep both brands’ accounts live and separate; or 3) combine the two into an entirely new brand channel. The right choice will be the one that aligns closest with your overall rebrand strategy. Here are some best practices for each:

1. Integrating one into the other: Give followers of the soon-to-be-deleted channels enough warning to go follow the other account. Encourage this by creating a paid media engagement campaign that targets followers of the deleted accounts and sends them directly where they need to go.

2. Keeping both: If you’re committed to the identities of each account, and your name and brand aren’t changed too much, then you don’t need to do too much (though you might consider whether cross-pollination makes any sense, and to what degree or frequency).

3. Combining: Choose the account with the most actively-engaged audience and move forward with this one. Use the new logo and name, being sure to openly communicate all actions with both sets of followers. Find a groove in the type of content shared, merging together both objectives, making sure both audiences are being considered at every turn.

Next, communicate even more.
This step is the most important and arguably the easiest (I mean, this is what social media is for, right?) Followers feel a personal connection to the accounts they follow, and without them, your page can’t succeed. Make sure you’re being upfront and honest about what’s happening to your pages, when they can expect to see the changes, and how they can stay informed. Linking to the original announcement and clearly pointing to any new channel/branding efforts through a paid media campaign is a great way to do this. But don’t stop there, be available to answer questions in the comments and message sections of all channels.

Lastly, just make it happen.
So, it’s finally time to implement. No matter the strategy you’ve set out to use, a smooth delivery can be chalked up to two key elements: a strong launch plan and a gentle transition. In other words, don’t rush your followers, but make your social rebrand an exciting occasion that both invites participation and allows plenty of time to adjust.

When it comes to social media, Mark Grey said it best: “a team is only as strong as its weakest-engaged audience” (or something like that). And that’s the bottom line: keeping your audience at the forefront of your social strategy transition is crucial to its success.

Have more questions about best practices for rebranding your social media as mergers and acquisitions occur? Reach out to our experts at conversations@jwt.com.

Sources:
https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/what-we-learned-merging-multiple-social-media-accounts/516573/

https://dcustom.com/blog/strategy/2018/11/5-steps-rebranding-social-media-accounts-mergers-acquisitions/

https://marketingdailyadvisor.blr.com/trends/marketing-strategy/4-steps-handling-content-strategy-integration-merger-acquisition/

Caitlin is a hard-working and outgoing Social Media Associate at JWT INSIDE. When she's not finding a perfect hashtag or witty Instagram caption, she spends her time persistently encouraging people to recycle, cheering on the North Carolina Tar Heels, and exploring the great outdoors through camping, hiking and traveling.