The Brand is you!
2017 Personal Branding Trends Part 1: The Death Of Text
I write about personal branding.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Photo credit: iStock
Each year, I share my thoughts on trends that will impact your career success. Here is part 1 of my trends for 2017 - the death of text.
OK, maybe not the death, but we’re definitely seeing a rapid replacement of the alphabet’s 26 letters, which are being nudged out by pictures – both still and moving. These trends put the spotlight on the impact of multimedia and the speed at which we are moving from text to photos and video. Build your brand in 2017 by providing a richer visual experience for your brand community. Incorporate multimedia into your communications.
Say It In Pictures
New technologies are proving the old adage true: a picture really is worth a thousand words. With the rapid growth of image-based social media, there are billions of “words” being expressed every second. And Instagram is leading the pack. According to eMarketer, 89.4 million Americans log on to Instagram at least once a month, representing 34.1% of mobile phone users. And by 2017, 51.8% of social network users will use Instagram – surpassing the 50% mark for the first time.
Instagram is a great way to give your brand community an up-to-date, bird’s-eye view of what you’re doing. It also gives you the opportunity to show the world who you really are, if you integrate some of your personal activities with your professional ones.
Snapchat, once considered the social media of choice for high-school students – who often used it for dubious purposes – is becoming an important tool for building brands on all levels (company, product, and personal). According to followus.com, “Snapchat has stepped out of the shadows of its growing pains, and has become an innovative, exciting, and effective social media tool for individuals and businesses alike. At seven billion video views every single day, it’s no wonder why you’ve not only heard of Snapchat, but why so many businesses are flocking to see what it’s all about.”
Upgrade Your Headshot
Do you think a party photo of you, with your buddy partially cropped out, will help you get ahead? Think again. Your headshot needs a makeover. In a world that’s becoming more and more virtual, your headshot is the ultimate way to communicate your traits on a human level. It makes you real to those who connect with you virtually. And the bar is being raised.
Investing in a high-quality image that reflects the authentic you is becoming even more essential for career-minded professionals. And it’s not enough to have just one the headshot. Your headshot is published on a variety of sites, so you need a whole series to truly build your brand. Your headshot shows up well beyond your LinkedIn profile. It’s on your corporate intranet and online comment tools. Even most of your favorite apps – from Uber to Spotify – encourage you to add your photo to your profile.
In 2016, I saw more articles with advice on creating a powerful headshot than in years past. And there are new tools to help you make sure you’re on the right track with your image. SRK Headshot Evaluator uses 5 different criteria to show you how your headshot measures up. There’s also a lot of advice for producing the best selfies, along with apps that will help you get it right.
For the most glam selfies ever, new products are entering the market, like selfie sticks with lightsand a fan so you can have that windswept look. Perhaps this is going a little overboard, but the trend is important. People want to be able to get to know you even if they can’t meet you in person; your headshot is a powerful tool for introducing yourself.
Embrace Video For Daily Activities
Video is infiltrating most aspects of the working world. If you’re an ambitious professional, don’t be left behind while video takes over; become a change agent and integrate video into the way you express yourself.
Companies are seeing the value of video as a tool to reduce cost, increase engagement, and drive results. If you are in job-search mode, expect to be interviewed via video before you ever meet ahiring manager in person. According to Catharine Fennell, CEO of videoBIO, “Over 70% of companies currently use video technology somewhere in their recruiting process. It's not surprising that this technology is being embraced and integrated into HR workflows. By using digital assisted interviewing companies can assess, screen and interview candidates in a more uniform and streamlined process for recruiting teams and it provides a more convenient and objective alternative for applicants.” As the workforce has become more geographically distributed and virtual for many employees, companies are literally seeing the power of video. If you’re applying for a job, get ready for your close up!
Eventually, video teleconferences will replace audio ones. The popular video teleconferencing system called Zoom has experienced 215% year-on-year growth according to Gartner. Meanwhile, Google is investing heavily in Google Hangouts. This year, for example, they upgraded the tool to allow 25 concurrent users in HD video. And traditional video conferencing platforms like WebEx are continuing to grow.
Express Your Thought-Leadership With Video
Sharing valuable content that expresses your point of view is a powerful way to build deeper connections with your brand community. Video can help. One of the most impressive Facebook video statistics demonstrates its popularity and mainstream traction. The number of videos published by U.S. users has exploded. As released in their 2016 Q2 Report, Facebook's total audience is now at 1.71 billion. There are 3.8 billion daily views for Facebook video, which shows 100% growth in just six months. And this is not just a U.S. phenomenon. According to AdAge, for international Facebook users, the increase in Facebook videos published is 75% annually.
YouTube has over a billion users — that’s almost one third of all people on the Internet — and every day these users watch hundreds of millions of hours of video content on YouTube, generating billions of views. Having a YouTube channel and providing potent, bite-sized content that’s valuable to your audience is one of the most powerful ways to stand out from your peers. But get in now before everyone starts capitalizing on the lights, cameras, action! As your fan club is made up of more and more millennials, this billion-user statistic becomes important because nearly two thirds of millennials prefer video to text.
William Arruda is the cofounder of CareerBlast and author of 13 Things All Successful Professionals Do To Fuel Their Careers.