If you are like me, whenever you hear people talking about Avatars, you think of the movie. You know the one where a hybrid human-alien called an Avatar is created to facilitate communication with the indigenous Na’vis from the planet Pandora. (Ok, so I am a geek, and maybe I am the only one who thinks that.)
Sorry to disappoint if by chance you did think that. Today’s blog post is not about science fiction characters, it is about the social media avatar, the small image in your social media profile which displays on your timeline. It is a small picture – often less than 80 pixels, but like the avatars of movie fame, it can have a large impact.
Let’s take a look at some of the dos and don’ts of a social media avatar.
Consistency counts – One of the best ways to build brand recognition is with consistency. So choose an image and use it on all social platforms. And don’t change it. Just about the time you are absolutely bored with it, your customers are finally recognizing it.
Your avatar needs to stand on its own – We often see companies designing a social media avatar and cover image as if they were always going to appear together. While they look beautiful side by side on your company page, remember after someone likes your page, they rarely return to your page. Instead, they interact with your brand in the timeline, and only the avatar makes it to the timeline.
Your logo isn’t always your best social media avatar – The avatar will compete with lots of other images in the timeline. If you have a horizontal or busy logo it may not be recognizable in the timeline. And since your name appears right next to it, the image will be directly associated with your brand.
Look at the two images below. Both images are actually the same size, but the horizontal nature of the original logo forces us to make everything smaller. When we pull just the first part of the logo it fills the box. Think about looking at that on your phone. Which one is more likely to jump out at you?
Make your social media avatar a part of your brand kit – When we decided to jump on to social media, we had a challenge because our logo wasn’t designed for the square avatar space. With no “icon” or graphic, just a simple text treatment, we settled on using just the letters r & p in the fonts and colors used in our full-scale logo.
I didn’t want to give up our primary logo, so to create a sense of consistency, we began using the “rp” on print materials, bringing the social media avatar into the real world. It appears on business cards and note cards linking the two elements into one consistent brand identity.