Remember back in March of 2013 when the Human Right’s Campaign asked everyone who supported marriage equality to change their profile picture to the red equal sign? The campaign met with resounding success, and according to data I’ve seen, over 2 million Facebook users changed their profile image in response to the campaign.
Whenever I opened Facebook, my timeline was filled with red equal signs. I loved it, don’t get me wrong, but am I the only person who found it odd to actually read the person’s name who posted? I never do that, and I didn’t even realize it. I see the profile image, and immediately know who is posting!
Our profile images become our name, the image that represents us and lets our readers know at a glance who were are on all social media outlets. As a result, that image should be chosen with consideration. More importantly, as we’re striving to build brands that are unique and consistent, our profile image becomes our icon, the image that tells our readers who we are at a glance. That image should be used on each and every social media site you use..
Now, some of you are probably having a bit of a moo cow right now. You want to be an individual! You have a twitter icon, a facebook icon, an icon for chatting, and an icon that you just like doggone it. Besides, who wants to go to all the hassle of changing your icons? Once it’s set, you forget it! Or better yet, you like to change your icon based on your mood, the weather, or what day of the week it is, cause that’s the way you roll.
Under normal circumstances, that’d be awesome. As an author working to develop a brand, however, you are missing out on a great opportunity to become instantly recognizable in the ever changing news feeds that scroll through your social media sites. Consistency is one of the most important aspects of building a brand, and your icon is a great and easy way to do that.
So what makes a great icon, anyway?
Here are some tips and tricks to making one that stands out.
1- Keep it simple. Remember that icons/profile images are normally itty bitty by the time they make it to the newsfeed. Text isn’t going to be easily readable at that size so whatever image you choose should be readable at the size your readers will see it at. (For example, the twitter avatars display at 73 x 73 pixels. Or about this size:
2-Use a color that stands out. This is a great time to incorporate the colors you chose in Branding 103. By using a consistent color across the board, your readers will come to associate that color with you and easily be able to pick your itty bitty image out of a crowd.
3-Don’t change it. This is a debatable opinion, to say the least, but my stance is to keep it consistent. I know authors who change their social media icons to their newest book cover. I can’t object too strongly to that, but consider that some of your readers may be like me, and connect the image to the person. When that image changes, will your readers miss your posts because they don’t realize it’s you?
Take a few minutes to look at your favorite social media site and see if you actually read the person’s name, or if you only glance at an image to know who is posting. Now take a few minutes to look at the profile image(s) you are using. Are they easily recognizable? Are they the same across social media outlets? Are they connected to your overall brand?