As social media continues to gain in daily usage and popularity, even brand-new businesses and sole proprietorships are actively promoting their ventures on these networks. But alongside big brands like Apple, Nike, and PayPal, it’s increasingly difficult to stand out enough to get the attention of your target audience. These larger brands have a “secret” social media ingredient that smaller companies often overlook: An optimized social media logo.
A social media logo differs from a logo in a few essential ways. They’re designed to cut through the noise of a million buzzing brands and offer a clear, memorable way for businesses to label and brand themselves. And until quite recently, they were only used by big corporations with massive branding and design budgets.
Today, that’s changed. The vast improvements in the quality of DIY logo makers and a new focus on the importance of optimizing brand visuals for mobile devices has led to a sudden increase in small companies branding themselves like big brands. You don’t have to have an Apple-sized budget to associate your brand with a recognizable, unique symbol.
You can automatically generate a custom social media logo for your brand as part of the simple logo making process using a DIY tool like FlashMarks. But before you do, read about what a social media logo is – and what it is not.
A social media logo…
1. Shows only your symbol
Think of a social media logo as the Cliff’s Notes for your traditional logo – it highlights the really important stuff and gets to the heart of the matter without losing the overall intended feel of the piece. It does so by dropping the text from your logo and using only the symbol or icon you’ve chosen for your brand.
You won’t see the words “Nike” or “McDonald’s” alongside the swoosh or golden arches on their respective social media profile pictures. They know the symbol communicates the meaning perfectly. While these brands are more recognized and well-known than yours, you can put this important piece of their branding strategies to work in your own business and look like a more established brand by dropping the text from your logo to create a social media logo.
2. Relies heavily on color + symbol
Font styles are often a big part of the way consumers perceive logos. A boxy, square font reads completely differently than a swirly, feminine script. So how can a brand create a feel or vibe without showing its name and chosen font in the social media logo? Two ways:
- The brand color palette
- The logo symbol
When one of your 5 senses is deprived of stimulation (like when wearing a blindfold or ear plugs), the other senses will increase in sensitivity as a means to compensate for the difference. Cutting the text out of your logo creates a similar phenomenon. Without your brand name and font in the picture, suddenly the other visual components take on a new level of importance and get a chance to “speak” for your brand – the color palette and symbol are front and center.
Tip: Because of the simplistic nature of social media logos, we recommend using a limited color palette of no more than 2 colors. This helps the logo pop without looking busy or overwhelming.
3. Communicates quickly
Which do you think the brain registers more quickly – text or images? If you guessed images, you’re right. Google found that the brain processes imagery more than 60,000 times faster than words.
As people scroll through social media timelines and news feeds, text isn’t what’s going to grab their attention. Pictures, icons, and symbols are – posts containing these visual elements get 2.3 times more engagement than text-only posts.
Our brains are wired to look for pictures and visuals, so a logo that is “missing” the text component on a social media profile won’t be missing much. In fact, statistics show it will be more attractive to the eye and reach the user more quickly.
4. Is easily recognizable
How often do you see fonts like these in use today? Chances are, you see them a lot.
Font popularity fluctuates according to trends, so a brand can’t rely on using a unique font to be recognizable. A font that is rarely used and considered unique could surge in popularity, making it fail to stand out or seem like it’s associated with one brand specifically.
There are far more unique symbol and color combinations out there than there are font styles and types.
That’s what makes symbol-only logos more easily recognizable and memorable than traditional logos. A million companies might use the Oswald font in their logo, but very few will use the same specific symbol and color combination.
That’s one of the reasons a symbol-only version of your logo is the best choice for social media profiles and pages – it helps even small brands stand out quickly and be recognized more easily.
5. Fits any profile picture shape
Most social media sites squeeze your logo into a small square, circular, or rounded square shape. That can wreak havoc on a logo that is too small, the wrong shape, or one that has trouble conforming to a smaller space. We’ve all seen examples of logos that don’t fit the profile picture box and get cropped, stretched, or pixelated as a result.
If you upload a rectangular logo into a square space, you’ll get the dreaded “widescreen” effect – the rectangle will be reduced until it’s small enough to fit within the square, leaving blank space above and below the logo. This will render the logo so small, it will be illegible.
If you upload a square logo into a circular space and it’s not laid out properly, the edges will be cut off and you may lose letters, words, or pieces of your symbol in the process.
The simplest fix for issues like these? Downloading logos optimized for social media (FlashMarks is a great option!) – they’re designed and sized specifically for the profile picture spaces they’ll occupy on each social network. This means they will:
- Be the correct size to fit and fill the profile picture space of each social network
- Contain the right amount of empty space around the logo symbol to ensure nothing is cut off
- Fully utilize the amount of “real estate” available for your logo so it’s as large and visible as possible
- Fit properly without you dragging the thumbnail around or cropping out parts of your logo
A social media logo is not…
1. Another name for social media network logos
Often, the logos of social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) are referred to as “social media icons.” As more brands develop specialized social media branding, there has been a bit of confusion regarding what, exactly, to call the logos that are designed specifically for social – not the icons that represent major social networks. The general consensus seems to be “social media logo.”
Since you’ll likely need both, here’s a simple way to remember the difference:
- You need social media icons on your website to promote your social media profiles/pages.
- You need a social media logo to brand your social media business profile/pages.
2. A replacement for a traditional logo
A social media logo and traditional logo are not interchangeable. You need both. A traditional logo contains your brand’s symbol, color, and name in the font of your choice – the social media version will only contain the symbol and color.
That’s perfect for the fast-scrolling world of social where first impressions are made in a fraction of a second, but not so great for your website or marketing materials where you need to take full advantage of every opportunity to communicate who or what your brand is.
The bottom line
You have less time to introduce your brand to users on social media than through other marketing channels. The competition levels are only continuing to rise as more businesses develop a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The profile picture is one of your best chances to grab a user’s attention and show them you’ve got something they want before they scroll on. Are you fully utilizing that space?
Make a simple traditional logo plus a full set of social media logo options by clicking the button below! It’s free to make and download your logo and we offer a variety of packages to choose from if you’d like to grab extra logo file options, too.