Alright, people. I think it's time to have a coming-to-Jesus about social media.
Instagram is not your brand. Instagram is a wonderful tool to tell the world your brand’s story. As a tool, it allows you to interact with clients and onlookers in a unique way, to build campaigns, and to reach new people… but it is not the crux of your brand's success—old timeline or new timeline—I promise.
Stay with me here.
I have two important (and telling) questions for you:
1. Do you remember who was on your Myspace top 8?
At the time, it was a huge deal. But now? 10 years later? It doesn't matter. At all. And it sure as heck doesn't define you.
2. Is your brand believable without the tool?
Say you're on an elevator with no phone service. No portfolio. No proof of how many Instagrammers love your feed. How do you talk about your business? How do you sell whatever it is you do? Is it believable? Can you spark intrigue with the stranger in the elevator without a curated collection of thoughts and images?
I ask these questions to remind you that social media is fleeting, and to urge you to focus on the elements that are your brand. That way, you can use tools like Instagram as a means to better tell your story, and not panic when platforms change their algorithms. You must believe in what you do, and evolve with the resources you're given. Change will come, and I promise you—no strong brand has withered away in the hands of an app update.
Not what, but who is your brand.
“Inside every organization is a driving force, a sense of purpose. This force is your brand. It is what you stand for. It is what sets you apart. It’s not a slogan or an ad campaign. It’s a living thing - the net result of behavior.”
So remember: you living, breathing thing, you—you are a brand. You’re out there pursuing a life based on your unique set of gifts and passions. Your brand visuals, the way you talk about your brand, the way people feel when they interact with your brand collateral, all draw you closer to your dream clients.
With every public action you take, you plant a seed of thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, and experiences in the minds of customers that becomes linked to your personal brand. That's where Instagram serves as a wonderful tool—but nonetheless it is a tool, not the centerpiece of your story.
So, let's maybe shift the focus today.
Focus on who you are as a brand. Work on your kick-ass elevator pitch.
Start by writing down a list of words that excite you or represent your brand. They should be descriptors that speak to how your dream clients want to feel. Break out the thesaurus to spice things up. Then, narrow down your list of words to the most impactful few. Try to choose 3 or 4 words that will be centric to how you describe your brand.
It’s important to know what to say and to understand why what you say is relevant. The power of a brand lies in its unique story. How that story is told verbally and visually should be impactful on its own, even without the tools.
So today, breathe easy and choose to care more about being accurately, precisely who you are than worrying about the things you cannot change.