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Why you should add social icons to your email signature (and how to do it)

Jo Sobey's Layout avatar

Do you use an email signature at the end of your emails?

Have you ever wondered if you really need one, and what it should include?

Your email signature can be a tremendously useful piece of branding, especially when you use it in a strategic way.

Three reasons to use an email signature

1. Make it easy for people to contact you

Your carefully crafted email signature provides an instant, easy way for people to get in touch with you. You can engineer the ways in which you prefer clients communicate with you, too. Do phone calls interrupt your creative process? You can leave out your phone number and provide a link to Slack instead.

2. Consistent visual branding

Email signatures are a great opportunity to present your brand consistently. Incorporate your brand colors, logo, and style into your sign-off.

3. Marketing and community building

Linking to your website, portfolio, and social media channels makes it easy for people to connect with you right from your email. I’m far more likely to click on your portfolio directly from your email signature than search for it separately online. What’s more, your email is right there in my inbox, so I can refer to it anytime I want to visit your site.

The pros of adding social icons to your email signature

Social icons in an email signature can be tremendously useful, for both you and your readers.

  • For your readers, it’s quick and easy to visit your social channels and follow you.
  • For you, social icons increase traffic to your social channels and encourage social networking.

Bottom line: “Social icons in your email signature are a constant invitation for people to connect with you. ”

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How to add social icons to your Gmail signature

Many of us freelancers use Gmail as our email client, so here’s a quick tutorial on how to add social media icons to your Gmail signature.

Step 1: Find fantastic social media icons

First things first: you need social icons. If you’re a designer, you can make them yourself. If you prefer, there are lots of affordable resources or free social icons (just be sure to check licenses before using them).

A Google search for social icons will produce masses of options for you, ranging from clean, flat design, to watercolor, retro, vintage, grunge, and just about everything else in between. Colorlib has a great social icon roundup.

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Two of my favorites are Christophe Kerebel’s excellent basic social icon set and Alexis Doreau’s fantastic collection which includes some of the more difficult to find icons like SnapChat, Periscope, and Slack.

Step 2: Prepare your icons (branding and uploading)

Once you’ve downloaded the icons you want to use, it’s time to prepare them for your email signature. You can keep them in the colors you’ve downloaded, or for visual brand consistency, change the colors to match your branding. Illustrator is the easiest program for doing this, but if you don’t have it, try Inkscape for editing .svg files and exporting to .png.

Once you’ve made your icons, upload them to your website. On WordPress, you can upload them directly to your media library. This part is important: copy the location URLs for each of your icons and save them in Google Doc.

Step 3: Add your social icons to your Gmail signature

1. Log into your Gmail account and click the gear icon on the top right of your screen.

2. Go to settings.

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3. Under the “General” tab, scroll down to “Signature.”

4. Click the option box next to the signature window and type in your email signature.

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5. Leave a line or two and then click on the image button (highlighted in yellow).

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The image window pops up and invites you to paste in an image URL.

6. Paste in the one of the URLs you saved earlier when you uploaded your icons to your website. Choose whichever icon you want to appear first.

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Your spiffy social icon will show under your name in your email signature. You’re almost done now.

7. Click on your icon and then on the link button (again highlighted in yellow).

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8. In the link window, paste the link to your LinkedIn/social channel profile. Leave the “text to display” box empty.

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9. Repeat the process with all the social icons you want to add.

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Once you’re done, save your changes at the bottom of the settings page.

Voila! Great job, you made it.

Step 4: Check it all works

To make sure your email signature icons work as planned, send a test email using your new signature to one of your other email accounts. Click on each icon to make sure it takes you to the right place.

There you have it. Social icons added to your Gmail signature. You deserve a coffee now. And a moment to reflect on how good your new email signature looks!


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