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Our current digital environment acts as a stage for anyone, anywhere, to present themselves to the world. You can have your personal brand, business or idea seen across the globe in a matter of seconds without spending a single dollar. This is especially true today since the pandemic has forced many people to go online for entertainment, education, communication and work purposes. Platforms like Google have made it easy for anyone to take a joyride down the information highway. Intricate details about our private lives are publicly available throughout the internet at the click of a button, and there’s not much that we can do about it. This may seem like a harsh reality, but if you take control of your personal brand now, you can leverage the internet to work in your favor.
Courtesy of David Castain
Your personal brand within the digital landscape is crafted by posts in the form of pictures, videos, captions and articles. These posts shape the lasting impressions that others have of you and should be crafted to represent your experience, expertise, capabilities, actions, lifestyles and accomplishments. Your personal brand is the response people give when someone asks who you are; it’s the mental sound bites that come to an individual’s mind when your name is mentioned. And it’s those last few thoughts someone has about you after an interaction with your brand. In a world of disinformation, misinformation and semi-permanent records on the internet, managing your personal brand is a must. It could be the determining factor for that job you’re being considered for, that client you’re trying to close, the product or service you’re trying to sell, that loan you’re trying to get or even that date you’re trying to go on.
Building a brand is like building a house; the better the material, the stronger it is. It is imperative that you make calculated contributions that allow your brand to evolve as you perfect it over time. Successfully building your brand can successfully build your bank account, power and influence. I, myself, am in the business of “brand building.” I own David Castain and Associates, a multi-million dollar conceptual marketing firm that uses the principles of psychology to determine how people perceive a specific product, service or brand. I then use that information to determine what type of physical or digital environment is needed to influence people to buy into that product, service or brand.
Your brand should speak for itself; it should exude your message without you saying a word. If you were to review my Google search results or my digital footprint at this very moment, you would understand why it’s easy to build rapport with a potential client. Strategically crafting the digital presence of things like educational background, verifications across all social-media platforms, national recognition from notable outlets, and personal or professional achievements can make potential clients feel as though they’ve already met you.
In today’s society, our personal brands have arguably become an online resume; paper resumes and business cards are a thing of the past. Using these digital dynamics, I’ve personally designed Castain’s Social Concept, a posting philosophy currently utilized by some of the world’s most successful public figures, entrepreneurs, business leaders, entertainers and influencers. This concept involves transforming your Instagram account into a digital resume that will ultimately improve your reputation. Turning your Instagram into an impressive resume is not easy, but it’s extremely possible. I’ve outlined some of the steps to Castain’s Social Concept below to help get you started.
1. Define your brand
Defining your brand is a seduction, and when done correctly, creates a set of conditions for an ongoing relationship to be developed. Selecting a target audience and tailoring your content to meet the wants, needs and expectations of that audience is a good place to begin. The posts on your Instagram feed should be a direct reflection of what you think might pique their interest. Furthermore, I challenge you to think about the initial perception people have after viewing your profile. What thoughts would they have? What would you like them to remember most after scrolling through your photos? You can also do some research by browsing through the Instagram profiles of other successful people in your field. What are they posting? Is there a noticeable pattern or a philosophy? What is the visual representation of their Instagram profile? You don’t have to mimic everything they do, but you can creatively borrow ideas on how to enrich your content and overall brand.
2. Only post your highlights
Your internet presence should be your highlight reel, with content that increases your credibility and further establishes your validity. In most instances, when creating a traditional paper resume for a potential employer, you would purposefully leave out irrelevant information. For example, you wouldn’t want to add the local fast-food restaurant you worked at in high school when applying for an engineering job. This same principle applies to Instagram. You should only post content that has relevance towards the brand you want to portray. A simple rule of thumb: Don’t post it unless it makes your target audience want to hire you, admire you, get to know you, research you further or turn your post notifications on.
3. Remove all noise
The attention span of the average person is about eight seconds. It is likely that Instagram users will only examine your first nine photos before formulating an opinion about you. In that same eight seconds, they will decide if they want to continue scrolling through your profile. You should delete or archive all noise. Noise in this context is anything that siphons away the attractiveness of the brand you’ve defined and is not part of your highlight reel. This can include memes, meals, dogs, family, relationships or even the bar you went to last night. Instead, think about posting your milestones or other things that align with your brand.
Anything posted on Instagram becomes public information, so make sure it’s something that you want others to see. Having your brand represented accurately on social media, as well as in a Google search, is extremely important. The Castain Social Concept stresses the importance of persistence, preciseness and patience while transforming your Instagram into your resume. Your brand is the first thing that people are going to see when they look you up and the last thing they’ll remember when they’re done searching. Every post sends a message, every message tells a story and every story builds a brand. Make sure that your brand is built to last.