Last week, Facebook surprised us all with an unexpected acquisition. In an official press release, the photo-sharing app Instagram was to be bought out for a hefty one billion dollar price tag.
It’s safe to say that this is every Silicon Valley entrepreneurs’ dream. Facebook evidently saw the value of the brand in the app and of the employees running it. Although there is no exact formula for creating a perfect brand, there are certain aspects of Instagram’s success we can take away in our quest for building a personal brand.
Lessons learned from Instagram
Check out these three branding tips learned from Instagram:
Retro is in. If there’s one thing that draws people to Instagram’s brand, it’s the appreciation for vintage aesthetic. This influence of the old-fashioned can shine through your brand and even make you stand out a bit. Before the age of social media and the Internet in general, having and maintaining a solid reputation is what separated you from others. No, you don’t have to dress up or speak fancy, but consider some dusting off some tried and true practices of branding – have solid business cards, or get yourself known through word-of-mouth networking.
Talent isn’t everything. The CEO of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, doesn’t consider himself much a programmer. In fact, he regrets not sticking with his original plan to major in computer science while at Stanford.
Systrom went on to study in the aspects of business and project management instead. Though he didn’t give up programming (he wrote most of the code for the app), passion and persistence is what matters. . Instead of focusing on what you don’t know – focus on those intangible qualities that can make you indispensable. It’s no doubt that both areas of Systrom’s knowledge made Instagram a hit, but without the vision and determination, a brand will not have much value when faced against similar competitors.
Good work benefits your brand. It’s reported that Instagram has zero dollars in revenue, meaning no money spent for advertising or marketing. So how did it get so big in less than two years?
The answer is having a stellar product to offer. The most important aspect of branding is being able to deliver credibility – not by telling us about it, but by showing us. Having something to show for your brand will trump any amount of hype or self-promotion. If you do good work, your personal brand will become much more clearer and effective; no exaggeration required.
What do you think of Instagram’s success? What are other lessons from Instagram that aid in personal branding?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.