If you’re like many small businesses you’ve invested in developing some sort of logo for your business. A logo makes it easy for existing and potential customers to easily remember your company. It also makes it easy for them to quickly grasp what they can expect when they work with you. (I.e. the “personality” of your business).
But just because you have a logo doesn’t mean you have a clue what to do with it. There’s the obvious stuff, like using it in ads, email signatures, and the header of your website. But some applications feel more difficult than others.
Social media is one logo application that I often see mishandled, and understandably so.
Some businesses hire a designer or content manager to take over social media content creation, and passing those tasks over is often a worthwhile investment. However, lots of small business owners create their own social media content because it’s more affordable. For some small businesses, hiring someone just isn’t a feasible option.
DIY social media saves costs, but can also lead to headaches when it comes to organizing all the elements that go into a design.
Common Social Media Logo Mistakes
One common logo mistake I see on social media is using a version of your logo that has a white background. This results in a big white block behind your logo and on top of whatever the primary social media content is, which looks unattractive and breaks up the flow of your design.
Another common mistake is to have a transparent background on your logo, but place it on a busy background so that the logo and your content are competing with each other. This makes the logo hard to read, and also takes away from the main post content.
So, as a business owner who manages your own social media content, what can you do to make sure you’re using your logo in a way that’s attractive and effective?
Side Note: These are best practices. Designers will break these rules sometimes in strategic ways that are still successful.
Tip #1: Make Sure You Use A PNG File with Transparent Background
Like I mentioned, a white background on your logo will break up the flow of your content and distract from what you’re communicating. As a general rule, it just doesn’t look very good. Make sure you use PNG image files that have a transparent background.
(Shameless plug: one of my services is converting logo JPG images into high-quality PNG and EPS files. Reach out or schedule a meeting if you don’t have a usable PNG with transparent background and are interested in having that).
Tip #2: Use Transparent Overlays
A transparent overlay is a simple way to add your logo to complex content. You can easily add an overlay of any color to any image. This gives your logo great contrast with its background and prevents your logo from competing with your content. You can create an overlay with a plain transparent shape, or with a gradient.
Don’t worry if you don’t have design software; you can easily add simple transparent overlays using Canva (even the free version).
Tip #3: Use Photos or Graphics That Incorporate Blank Space
This tip is more nuanced than the first two. However, keeping this in mind as you create content can make your life a lot easier once you’re ready to add your logo!
As you take/choose photos or content templates, look for images/designs that feature blank space as part of the photo background or design. Then, when you add your logo, just make sure you place it in the naturally existing blank space.
Unless your logo is meant to be the central element of your content, it’s best practice to try and keep the logo to the top/bottom/sides of the design so it doesn’t distract from the main content. So when using this tip, try to use make sure the blank space is on the top/bottom/sides of the content.
Side Note: If your logo is black and white, it can be handy to have a version of your logo that’s reversed. (For example, I have a white version of my logo I can use on dark backgrounds).
BONUS TIP: Use Your Logo Mark Instead of Your Full Logo
This tip isn’t as important as the first three. It’s more like icing on the cake of your social media logo-usage education. But one thing you may want to do sometimes is use only your logo mark instead of your full logo.
(Not every logo has a logo-mark. I.e. monogram or wordmark logos, where the name is the actual logo — think IBM or Coca-Cola).
Using your logo mark instead of your full logo keeps the design as simple as possible while still creating an association with your business and brand. A good logo will be recognizable even without any text (think Apple or Nike). (Again, the exception to this is wordmarks or monogram logos).