Your social media accounts are primarily used to promote your business, but you must also use your business to promote your social media accounts, both online and off! Depending on the nature of your business, you may have a number of unrealized opportunities to promote your accounts and encourage your customers and site visitors to become social media followers through the use of icons.
Social Media Icons Are Everywhere
If you’ve spent any amount of time online since the advent of blogs and social media, you may have noticed small icons on websites displaying the logos of various social media services. You’ve probably even seen these social media icons offline as well, such as in television and magazine advertisements and on billboards. Social media icons are designed to let audiences know that the business in question has accounts for each corresponding social media service. Online, social media icons also provide a convenient and organized way to provide links to each service.
Finding The Right Icons
Social media icons are easy to find online in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Some graphic design websites even provide web applications that allow you to customize the size, shape and color of your icons, which allow them to more easily blend in to the existing design of your blog or website. If you choose to download and use icons designed and distributed by a third-party, make sure you have permission to use them for commercial purposes. Some graphic designers charge a small license fee for a collection of icons or will design custom icons on a per-request basis. Be wary of graphic design companies that require a subscription-based license for the use of their icons, as even a small ongoing subscription fee can add up to a considerable amount of money.
You Must Follow The Rules
It is important to note that most social media icons incorporate registered logos and trademarks and a few simple rules must be followed in order to stay in compliance with each company’s trademark policies. Online, these icons can only be used to link back to a genuine account on a social media service and they should be small enough that they are not the primary design element or call-to-action on any individual post or web page. You must be careful not to display your icons in any way that makes it appear that your website is officially associated with any social media service.
Where To Place Your Icons
Consider placing social media icons on the main page of your website, or incorporate them into a header or footer that appears on every page of your website, including your blog. Some businesses only include icons on their blog page, which needlessly limits their exposure. Your website visitors may not be interested in your blog, but they may be interested in following your Facebook page or Twitter account.
Using Social Media Icons Offline
Social media icons aren’t just useful for websites and blogs – they can be incorporated into just about all marketing materials produced for your business, including business cards, banners, flyers, vehicle graphics and promotional items. The same rules regarding trademarks apply – icons shouldn’t be the primary design element, and they shouldn’t be used in a way that may confuse others into thinking you are employed or endorsed by a social media company. Finally, it is inadvisable to include any social media trademark or logo in a commercial product or a promotional item that is offered for sale.
Use Clear And Consistent Branding
When using a social media icon offline, it is important to remember that someone can’t simply click on the icon’s link; an offline icon simply indicates that your business has social media accounts, and it will be up to the viewer to seek them out. Make sure that your social media pages can be easily found when using a search engine such as Google and when a user utilizes the search function built into the social media service. Make sure you are using consistent branding when you setup your social media accounts, especially when it comes to the name of your business. If a potential customer can’t easily find your accounts, then you should either change your offline social media marketing strategy or stop it altogether.