Merging Social Profiles - A How-To Guide Of Merging Two Companies Online
We were really excited to merge Convurgency and 9th sphere to form 9thCO. In the months before the merge we laid out a plan of attack to make sure we kept our social media profiles in good standing and to merge them all without a hitch.
There were a few critical objectives we wanted to achieve:
- Claim social profiles for the new business name
- Keep the social profiles for the old business names
- Keep social authority in existing accounts
The purpose of this was to avoid any risk of losing any long standing vanity URLs ("uniform resource locators") - potentially to competitors - as well as keep the authority that we had built up over the years.
Here’s what we did:
Twitter was probably the easiest social profile to change over. Your Twitter username is the same as the URL associated with your account. To change it, it’s simply a matter of logging into Twitter and providing your password in order to change your URL/ username.
Be aware that you want to change your 'username' not your 'name', and your username can contain up to 15 characters. Specific steps can be found here: https://support.twitter.com/articles/14609-changing-your-username
We opted to convert the 9th sphere account, as this was the most active account out of the two. It also had the most followers, and we didn’t want to ask all of our current followers to follow a new account.
We changed the 9th sphere Twitter account name to 9thCO, and with that, our URL changed to twitter.com/9thco. We then created a 9th sphere account immediately afterwards to claim twitter.com/9thsphere. We then added a message saying the account had moved to 9thCO, in case people came to the 9th sphere Twitter account.
With Facebook, you only have one opportunity to change your account name. Once again, we went with what we thought was the strongest account, meaning the one that had the most posts and likes, which was the 9th sphere account.
We changed the name from 9th sphere to 9thCO. This allowed us to keep all the posts and likes while choosing a new vanity URL, which we then changed to facebook.com/9thco to reflect our new identity.
Finally, we created another account and obtained the minimum likes to claim a vanity URL, to claim back 9th sphere immediately afterwards. We then put up a message on the new 9th sphere Facebook account asking all our prospects and current clients to come check us out over at the new 9thCO Facebook page. To get this process started, head on over to: www.facebook.com/username.
Google+ Local (Now known as Google My Business)
G+ ("Google+") was a bit complicated, and a word of warning here – you are unable to change your vanity URL after you accept one that Google suggests at the time of writing. We ran into this issue trying to use a vanity URL we were given on a new listing for a current listing. Unfortunately even if your listings belong to the same company, you just aren't able to transfer them as of yet.
So, here's what we did:
We created a new profile under https://plus.google.com/+9thCO/ but later realized this listing looked too new and didn't have any reviews.
We wanted to transfer the reviews, but, according to Google, it was not possible.
Unfortunately by the time we wanted to change 9th sphere's page to 9thCO, we had already accepted the vanity URL for the 9thCO account, so we were given the following: https://plus.google.com/+9thSphereToronto/ We decided to use this as the official 9thCO account due to the reviews and relevant activity from the account.
Aside from the above, the best way to do this is to create a brand new G+ profile with your business name and to wait until you get awarded a vanity URL (that hopefully lines up with your business name). We did this to claim a 9thCO vanity URL. We direct people over to the rebranded 9th sphere G+ page as it has a lot more reviews that we really value.
As of June 2014, G+ has been rebranded to Google My Business. You can get started here: http://www.google.com/business/
LinkedIn requires a real person’s account to create a business profile. As such, it’s important that you make sure the account you use to set up a company page is someone who is going to be at the company for a long time (e.g. a founder).
It’s easiest to create an account with your work email address, as it’s the same domain, to confirm you are representing the company you are an employee of. Before getting started LinkedIn requires a 250-2,000 character company description. More details here >
LinkedIn will give you an option to choose a vanity URL at the time of set up.
One of the bugs we ran into was adding other company members as administrators. There was a drop down option to do this, but when we typed in a member name, nothing came up. After contacting LinkedIn support, they mentioned that this is a common bug, so they manually added our admins.
Once we sorted out all of the above, there were a few other online properties we wanted to claim, in case we ever needed them in future. This would vary, of course, for each business, but it doesn’t hurt to set up a page where you can claim more vanity URLs for other social media sites eg. YouTube, Pinterest.
Claiming all of the right social media profiles means you can better control the way someone may see your brand when they Google your business name. Ultimately, your needs may differ depending on the niche your business is in, but we highly recommend claiming as many social profiles as possible as you never know what you may end up using down the road.
Using the above techniques, we were able to keep our followers and fans for both Twitter and Facebook. For all the social media accounts, we acquired branded vanity URLs. Owning the vanity URLs helps give us a lot more visibility for branded searches as seen in the pic above.
It was definitely a great idea to do all this before announcing the new brand name to help reduce scrambling around, but also to have the appropriate social media channels in place to help promote the new brand at the same time.