Friday, September 4, 2009

Your association's logo in social media

A recent announcement of a redesign of an association's corporate logo said they plan to use it in social media. But in social media most of their name is cut off because the logo design doesn't fit into the Facebook logo space for the News Feed. If designing for social media, shouldn't it fit? (Note: this pictured logo was only thing we had that stacked our name so at least the 2 key words in our name would show up in social media - the middle part, not so much)

Here are a few lessons learned (the hard way) about logos and names in social media:

1. Shrink it before you pick it. Many logos are initially designed for letterhead and web sites ... or potentially even a Page on Facebook. Those can easily accommodate various sized logos. Facebook isn't going to let you use that big logo in a thumbnail- and when it shrinks it smaller than a stamp you might just find you're only getting part of your logo. Same with Twitter.

Before adopting a corporate logo, especially if you plan to use it in social media, check out what it looks like in a News Feed on Facebook (note: your Fans aren't visiting your page, they're reading your association updates when they read about their family, colleagues and friends in the feed); and check out what your logo looks like on TweetDeck (for Twitter - the type of format that is the actual view of your logo). If half your lettering or logo is missing, you may need a bit of a redesign; or a complete do-over.

2. Ask your logo designer if he/she uses social media - and see what their own logo looks like there. Unfortunately you may be working from the outset with someone who isn't thinking how small a space is really involved. Ask your designer to give you the version that can fit in the actual minuscule space on TweetDeck and Facebook News Feed. And give those dimensions if necessary.

3. Fax it and photocopy it before you pick it. I know, some believe that faxes are dinosaurs and no one uses them anymore in the days of social media. Well, in our office we get plenty of faxes (and send plenty too). We once had to scrap a logo (after it had been selected, of course) because it turned into a big blob when it faxed or photocopied. Even looked terrible when it lost its color on a typical computer printer. Not pretty. Not our image.

4. Think about a person's face vs. logo as the corporate image/brand. A company we work with all the time has a definite logo. But out of the blue a woman started appearing as the corporate image instead of their logo. I assume the woman in the picture really is the person tweeting. But it's awkward because I'm not connecting her to the corporation - and my interest stopped because I wasn't trying to follow an employee; I wanted to know what the company was up to, even if it's people in the company doing the updating. That is not to be confused with companies having employees tweet under their own personal names and pictures. This is a scenario where it's the company's name and a woman's picture. I never had a clue if she had a name.

5. Your Twitter name is HOW many characters? My association's Twitter name is 14 characters long (including the @). That's actually fairly lengthy as names go on Twitter, but it does reflect our membership. A big point of the whole social media thing is the hope that people will retweet (forward) association info you post to their own followers. So anything I post needs to leave space for others to include, in my instance, 17 characters (for the letters RT then a space then the 14 character name) JUST for including us as the source. That's a lot when only have 140 characters to work with AND others may want to add a few characters of commentary ... so need to leave space for that too. So an initial post you make should have way less than 140 characters if you'd like it to go somewhere. Try not to fill up the whole 140 yourself unless you want everyone to just read and not send.

6. Your hashtag is HOW many characters? With each additional character an organization might add onto a hashtag it decides to use, it's one less character those using Twitter have to work with. Be kind. Be short. (Note: a hashtag is the symbol # followed by a few characters that will catalogue info from multiple sources on Twitter)

Social media brings plenty of challenges to associations - including what our logo, name and image literally look like in communications.


Curtis Picard said...

Great post Cindy. Ironically, our logo, which is very dated and I would love to change at some point, works great for social media. It is square and simple and works in a small space.

We also have a long twitter handle, but it was important for the branding. MMA or MEMerchants was not as important as helping people start to identify @mainemerchants as a Maine-business oriented entity.

Amanda Fretheim Gates said...

I agree with No. 4. We tweet as a magazine, so we use our current issue's cover as our Twitter image. However, I've heard from social media experts that people like a "face" to connect to, and we should really use someone's face instead.

But, I disagree with that. We're not tweeting as individuals - we're tweeting as a "we." Like you said, I think it's more confusing to associate just one face with an organization or association. I think it completely depends on the situation.