For personal branding, there was arguably no such decade in our history before. Especially year 2010. The emergence of Instagram. Amongst all big social media platforms utilised to promote one’s brand, Instagram is the newest. It took only 8 years for it to become absolutely pervasive and trend-setting.
Now, one may ask what is the whole hype about, just another social media platform. But let’s take a closer look. Our world is a dynamic place and the pace becomes faster and faster. We are stimulated by more and more things. We experience more but it means less as a result of getting accustomed to everything. The attention shifts from text to image i.e. photos and videos. And as per saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” it also stands to reason that Instagram is way more than just another social media channel. If used smartly, it may prove to be a cheap yet priceless tool for personal branding.
Everyone wants to play
It has become a branding tool for nearly everyone looking to attract followers and convert them into clients – in one or another way. Countless influencers, self-appointed “personalities”, fledging start-ups and last but not least – big players. They all go with the trend and show their presence there. Very often with a great deal of success. The main contributor to this fact is, in my opinion, one thing. The way Instagram enhances repetitive exposure to an audience or followers. That means that if you follow a person or a company profile, you will by default see their posts in your feed. That repeated exposure will over time give them an edge over “competitors”. This is how modern relationship building with prospects and clients look like.
Play it smart
Another reason Instagram is so influential is that it packages high dose of visual content that is very easy to consume. A typical social media user is not there to enhance their intellectual capacity but rather to give their brain “a candy”. The candy that creates a fleeting dopamine spike. We feel happier for a moment. That being said, if you are looking to develop your personal brand, you need to post an attractive, easily-digestible content. That doesn’t, however, mean that you should be documenting your breakfasts or lunch. Unless it’s strictly related to your brand and what it conveys. It has to be on-point and inspiring.
Although the visual part is the dominant one and text usage is limited -it does not mean that there is no point adding captions, hashtags and CTA’s. Those are commonly used to strengthen the message of the post and create an interaction with the followers. If the picture’s role is to invoke an interest, caption converts It into action. Be it visiting a web page, participation in an event or just liking something. The only thing you have to bear in mind is the length. Although the text is capped to 2200 character for a caption, it gets truncated after 125. The question is now if someone would even bother to unfold and read the rest.
Modern “Role Models”
Some of the popular artists have made Instagram a leading channel for interactions with their fans. To name the most successful ones – Selena Gomez with dazzling 138 million followers, Cristiano Ronaldo with 131 or Kim Kardashian with 113 million. Whether you like them or not, one thing is sure. They know how to present themselves out there. That, in turn, increases their chances to be approached by big brands wanting to leverage their sells. Social proof is long known to work very well with celebrities.
Adapt yourself or stay behind
As personal branding is a relatively new phenomenon, it’s inextricably connected with trends that emerge in an online world. With exposure being one of the main factors contributing to the personal brand’s success, one thing is obvious. If you want to build your own brand you have to play by the rules of the game. You either adapt or fall out of the game. The potential is where society’s attention goes. Even if you think that Instagram Is just a modern, flashy tool used by people who often represent nothing. Like every other tool, it’s neutral and its application depends on the user. For those who know how to use it smartly, it may turn out to be gold. Four hundred years ago Shakespeare asked the famous “to be or not be”. Nowadays, he would have to revamp it asking “to be exposed or to be obscure-that is the question”. For those who want to brand themselves the answer is obvious.