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Sometimes everyone feels the need for a change. You could lose your job and decide to embark upon a new career, or you might find your brand becoming stale and decide to seek out a fresh new start. Either way, being able to start again is often an essential step on the road to success.
These days, many people promote themselves via social media, from film makers, sculptors, and poets to folk musicians, activists, and graphic designers. Many creative people see having a popular, distinctive social media presence as a crucial part of their career strategy.
But what happens when you need to reinvent your social media persona? How do you take a stale personal brand and relaunch it to attract new fans and followers? Here are some things to remember if you are going through the process of social media reinvention.
Be Careful About Choosing Which Social Media Platforms to Engage With
When people choose to reinvent their online image, they are often tempted to go overboard, leading to a diluted sense of purpose and weak results. Just because Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Snapchat, and YouTube exist doesn’t mean you have to use them all.
Some social media platforms are suited to different tasks. For example, YouTube obviously suits videographers, but also musicians, dancers, artists, and activists. It’s not so useful for coders or writers, although it has a role to play. For those who rely on text, Twitter, Facebook, and blog aggregators are much more important.
It’s important to assess each social media platform and work out what you want to achieve with your profile. If you can’t immediately see a way to attract followers and get your message across, don’t waste your time. Just select the platforms that have clear short-term benefits and concentrate on them.
Do Some Market Research and Use It To Inform Your Relaunch
There’s no point in reinventing your online identity unless you are confident that it will deliver increased visibility or sales, so carry out some research to find out whether it will make a difference. It won’t just provide you with the confidence to proceed. Knowing your target market is a vital part of crafting a social media strategy that works.
Find out who are the most successful people in your niche. What drives their popularity? What kind of people buy their services or work, and why do their customers feel that they add value to their lives? The key thing is to blend pragmatic marketing with your own personal skills or creativity.
Don’t Forget About the Need to Network
Reinvention isn’t just a matter of changing your brand name, images, and web hosting service. You also need to ensure that you have a strong infrastructure to underpin your business strategy.
If you haven’t already done so, build a comprehensive LinkedIn page. If you have done so, inform valuable contacts about your rebranding exercise (you might not want to carry them all over, depending on how different your new work will be).
You’ll also probably need to create a portfolio and a set of channels to promote your work. Whether you code, rap, paint, or sing, showcasing who you are and what you can do is the core of a successful online identity. Create YouTube playlists of your most important videos, build a simple portfolio website for your paintings or articles and have a strategy in place to add new content to a location that potential customers or fans can easily access. Remember that your relaunch is a continuous process. Your portfolio will grow as you attract clients, so always remember to keep it maintained.
Create A Smooth System for Managing Business Contacts
Half of the challenge with creating an online identity is establishing trust and turning casual contacts into regular customers. The best way to do this is by having a professional contacts management strategy which allows you to deal with inquiries and customer complaints, and to project your brand image.
At the moment, Twitter is an unbeatable way to stay in touch with key contacts. As soon as you embark upon a rebrand, start adding business contacts and following key influencers. Always respond to customer inquiries, and link your other social media channels to Twitter.
It might be tough with so much going on, but checking your account regularly is vital. Find the time to retweet mentions or reviews, and always reply to messages. That way, you can prove to contacts that you have a viable, growing online presence. If people can see that you are up and running under a new identity, they will be much more likely to engage.
Get the Basics Right Before Relaunching
Sometimes it’s the little things that derail a social media relaunch. For example, the spinning off Netflix’s DVD and video game rental into a new firm called Qwikster should have been fairly simple. Unfortunately, the @Qwikster domain had already been taken, and flooded with images that Netflix would not have sanctioned themselves. Qwikster never caught on, largely thanks to the PR mistake.
If you are setting up a new Twitter handle and web domain, due diligence is vital. Be sure to check that your snappy brand name hasn’t been taken by a mischievous hacker, and reserve the right domain as quickly as possible.
Think about the name as well. It might be as simple as your own name and a short description, but the tiny difference between “DaveDannMusician” and “DaveDannTroubador” can be important in the long run. Try to find a profile name that captures who you want to be, as concisely as possible.
Bury the Past But Dig Out Any Useful Content
If you are reinventing yourself, it might seem counter-intuitive to spend much time on your old brand identity, but it’s usually time well spent. In some cases, your Twitter and Facebook followers will be a goldmine full of potential contacts. Even if you are changing your field of business, it’s worth skimming your lists to find anyone who may be interested in your new endeavor.
If you used to run a blog on a different topic, there may be some evergreen content worth migrating to your new site. You could even leave links to your new site on the comments page of your old blog, boosting its linking profile. But don’t waste time going over the past. Just take what you need and start working on your new profile. It’s the future that matters now.
Successful social media relaunches all have certain things in common. They target the right market; they focus on the right social media platform; they have systems in place to keep track of new contacts and they involve dynamic portfolios that showcase what you can do. With those elements in place, and some due diligence about domain names and handles, your relaunch will be off to a flying start.