The ideal appearance of a person’s profile changes faster than the passing of seasons. If you scroll through your Instagram feed, you’ll notice that the first picture you posted on your account looks like a prehistoric cave painting compared to your most recently shared photo. Over the years, the idea of creating this virtual identity has developed into ‘how well can I advertise my existence?’ The more these new forms of media have wriggled their way into our daily lives, the more they have become something that is now an integral part of who we are. Just like any big business, the use of social networks to create some form of brand identity is something that individuals are doing on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis to develop and sell the product that is their individual identity to their followers.
If you think about the original intent for which social media was conceived – the act of easier and faster communication – it’s interesting to see how it has evolved into what it is now. Many businesses thrive off the new market that social media has created for them. It’s no surprise that companies such as Coca-Cola, Apple and Google are known for being some of the best at branding their identity. Fundamentally, what all three of these companies have done is, from the start of their journey, to have kept their identities consistent, classic, yet nonetheless innovative and adaptive to change. They have a good grasp of the type of audience which gravitates towards them, and are able to continuously give them want they want. With all the conspicuous consumption prevalent in today’s society, these three brands are especially skilled in updating their product to not only be what the people wanted yesterday, but also what they want today, and what they’ll want three months from now.
This apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree in the case of celebrities and other people in the public eye when it comes to how they use these platforms. When you look at some of the most followed accounts on Instagram, out of the top 20, only three of them are big businesses, with the remainder consisting of musicians, athletes, actors and actresses.
The number one followed account on Instagram in 2017 is Selena Gomez. The reason people love Gomez is because of her ability to share the type of person she is through her account. Fans of the actress and singer find themselves admiring the young pop star more and more because of the authenticity and character that is presented through each post. Each new movie or song Gomez releases adds to her fame, but selling herself on social media is what really builds her reputation.
Branding is never something that comes naturally. When it comes to creating an image, not only do you need to think about what it is that you are trying to show to an audience, but also what it is that they would wish to see. It’s the visual language between you and your audience member. It’s the act of creativity that puts yourself out there to individualize your identity and gain a following.
Whether it be through your logo, pictures, or color palette, all the pieces of the puzzle have to be cohesive. Every person with some online presence has created their own profile where everything that is being shared is essentially building their image. The angles, the effects, the design, and the theme of what you post is what gives these accounts a following and what is creating an identity for yourself, or, in the case of a company, an identity for their brand.
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