Brands across the globe know that being active on social media is a must. Most give it a high priority from the start, and why wouldn’t they – it’s the most accessible way to reach customers in place they’re already hanging out.

But in today’s digitally-driven world, first impressions matter more than ever. They’re made in an instant – Google says it takes just nanoseconds – and it’s a lot tougher for brands to get it right. Today, screens are small, but the stakes are huge. The way a company brands and presents itself on social media is now more important than ever.

In the past, a business could do well enough with just one low-resolution logo file in its visual brand repertoire. Throw it up on the website, pop it on some business cards – done. Today, one-logo businesses find themselves coming up short.

Most browsing is now done on mobile devices. Mobile screens are small, but they’re packed with pixels that make images clearer and more vivid than ever, so low-resolution logos look jagged and painfully outdated from these high-tech screens.

And the prominence of brand logos on social media (which are often used as company profile pictures, or flashmarks) is undeniable. Unfortunately, most logos haven’t finished getting ready for their closeup – they’re too detailed to appear with clarity in these tiny spaces.

The appearance of a company logo in the minute flashmark space on social media pages and profiles is one of the first criteria a brand is judged on by digitally-savvy customers. It can do one of two things:

  1. Attract customers – making them want to learn more about the brand and be associated with it
  2. Repel customers – making them want to stay away from the brand and find a better fit

An outdated or improperly sized logo on your brand’s social profile may not seem like a big deal, but today’s customers are absolutely inundated with buying opportunities and options (thanks to constant connectivity). That makes it all too easy to choose or discard a brand based on a visual indicator of value like a logo.

There’s a simplification trend happening in logos, messaging, and UX and it’s no accident or coincidence – it’s been developed to correspond to the shift to mobile devices and social media saturation. The detail and complexity that was once prized in branding marks has given way to a much more minimalist design approach that holds true to the old saying, “Less is more.”

 

Nike, Apple, Instagram, Spotify, Optimizely, Roomi – the list is infinite, but their logo components are minimal.

Roomi flashmark

Instead of stuffing an ill-fitting logo into their social media profile picture and wasting space with text, they’re using bold, memorable flashmarks instead. These are the wordless marks big brands have been using for years. Apple’s bitten apple, Nike’s black “swoosh,” and Instagram’s simplified camera outline are all examples.

When users see marks like these, they think of big brands. You can capitalize on the trust and familiarity users already have with these marks by making one of your own.

If your current logo is simple enough, you might be able to isolate the symbol and use it as a flashmark on your social accounts by just dropping the text. But if your logo contains fine lines, more than 2 colors, or a lot of detail – or if it’s more than a couple years old – it’s best to start from scratch, simplifying your design overall. Googling “flashmarks” will lead you to DIY tools that enable you to make one logo, then provide you with matching flashmarks created for each of the most popular social networks.

Logos and flashmarks are a team. You don’t need one or the other – if you’re serious about leading the pack on social, you need both.

These simple marks enable even the smallest businesses to represent themselves professionally on social media, where standing out is the only way to make a user stop scrolling.