How Does Your Iconography Affect Your Social Media Marketing?

How Does Your Iconography Affect Your Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing has become an integral part of most marketing mixes today. But no self-respecting content marketer should take this sitting down. Rather, with some creative thinking and a few dos (and don’ts) from companies who have faced similar branding struggles, social media marketers have an opportunity to lead changes in brand attitude, while also signaling those changes to their audience. Back in May of 2016, the company changed its logo from its original Polaroid-camera-style icon to a cleaner design. From the launch of its Snapchat competitor, Stories, to its most recent change—allowing users to bookmark content—Instagram has successfully signaled and then followed through on promises that its new icon makes about the brand’s future. For social media marketing, this serves as a powerful example of how to approach revitalizing a brand in a simple way. B2B tech companies such as IBM or Salesforce are great examples of giants who take numerous small opportunities to update their visual appeal to keep audiences excited about their upcoming products and services. Here are just a few happening right now: Indecision and Bad PR Timing: Uber is an app company that is very familiar with the idea of updating imagery with features. In 2015, Google consolidated much of its non-consumer based interests into Alphabet, a holding company with extremely similar iconography to Google that allowed the company to separate its non user-facing developments from its familiar, consumer-oriented brand. How those changes are received, and the story those changes continue to tell, are largely dependent on marketers ability to position and guide those stories on social media.

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Social media marketing has become an integral part of most marketing mixes today. But as is the case with every other marketing channel, some brands excel while others fill their feeds with content that goes unnoticed.

Some social media managers find themselves at a new company, ready to tackle the excitement of a fresh position, only to discover that their brand has little to no following. This is true for small businesses everywhere (how many of us follow our local plumbing company?) to massive artifacts of industry who until recently haven’t felt a need to update for the modern marketplace.

But no self-respecting content marketer should take this sitting down. Rather, with some creative thinking and a few dos (and don’ts) from companies who have faced similar branding struggles, social media marketers have an opportunity to lead changes in brand attitude, while also signaling those changes to their audience.

Nike logo on a basketball
nike logo

The Promise of an Icon

Logos, icons, brandmarks—these simple graphics have some of the most powerful staying power in the minds of consumers. But for all their familiarity, we often forget what a change in iconography can do for a brand. At the same time, we also miss a powerful opportunity for revitalizing social media presence.

Take social media giant Instagram, for instance. Back in May of 2016, the company changed its logo from its original Polaroid-camera-style icon to a cleaner design. It was a simple change, one which evoked similarly branded tech companies like Apple that convey a sense of artistic sensibility and forward thinking through minimalism. The first icon highlighted Instagram’s primary feature (easy image taking and filters), while its updated look suggested new attitude and features.

Since May, users have seen numerous large feature changes to Instagram’s platform. From the launch of its Snapchat competitor, Stories, to its most recent change—allowing users to bookmark content—Instagram has successfully signaled and then followed through on promises that its new icon makes about the brand’s future.

For social media marketing, this serves as a powerful example of how to approach revitalizing a brand in a simple way. By attaching changes in imagery to new features, approaches, or products, marketers can erase some thinking about the past and encourage their audiences to focus on the weeks and months ahead. And this remains true for more than just iconography—updates to types of visual content, or overall aesthetic can…

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