Keep reading to discover the benefits of personal branding and some actionable tips you can implement immediately.
Are you a freelance social media manager wondering how you can take your career to the next level?
Building a strong personal brand is an excellent way to get you there. It will help establish you as a thought leader in your industry, attract opportunities you never imagined possible and differentiate you from the growing competition.
And that competition is fierce.
In 2022, a whopping 39% of the U.S. workforce, or 60 million Americans, performed freelance work. With the freelance workforce accelerating at a faster rate than ever before, social media managers shouldn’t neglect personal branding.
So whether you’re just starting out or you’re ready to take your career to new heights, keep reading to discover the benefits of personal branding (plus some actionable tips you can implement immediately).
One of the major benefits of building your personal brand as a freelance social media manager (and not staying behind-the-scenes) is that you open yourself up to more opportunities.
When I first started freelancing, I kept myself fairly anonymous. A lot of the work I got was through referrals and word-of-mouth — and for a long time, that was enough.
It wasn’t until I began putting myself out there (making YouTube videos, booking a personal branding photoshoot, going live on Instagram) that I realized how much I’d been missing out on.
Speaking gigs and invitations to run corporate workshops landing in my inbox. I received podcast interview requests and was even offered a regular guest coaching spot in someone’s paid program.
So many more doors opened when I got serious about my personal brand. One thing that clients commented on was how unique it was to find an Instagram expert as opposed to a ‘social media’ expert.
That’s not to say you have to niche down as much as I did to build a successful personal brand.
However, it certainly helps to become known for something, whether that’s your personality, your branding, or the kind of work you do. The more memorable you can be, the easier it is for organizations to know whether you’re the right fit (be it subject matter or values) for their audience.
Personal branding tip: You don’t need to overhaul your website and book a personal branding photoshoot to begin building your personal brand. The best way to start is simply to get more visible and have 2-3 talking points (or ‘content pillars’) that you share regularly. For example, start hosting weekly educational Instagram Lives or YouTube videos. This is the fastest way to build affinity with your audience and it also helps you figure out what you want to become known for.
Increased trust with your audience is a major perk to building your personal brand as a social media manager.
The more you show people who you are and what you stand for, the more they’ll feel they have a relationship with you. This will help set you apart from others in your industry.
In the UK, more than 70% of consumers will buy more from a brand they trust.
As Seth Godin said:
“People do not buy goods & services. They buy relations, stories & magic.”
It may feel like a cliche, but it still holds true today that people buy from people. Particularly for service providers who work closely with clients — sometimes 1:1.
Think about it like this: there are hundreds of cake makers you can buy from online, especially in a big city like London. If you had to decide between two bakers who sell very similar cakes for the same price, how would you choose?
The answer is that you’d (most likely) pick the person you feel some affinity to. The one you trust slightly more than the other.
This is how your audience and potential clients will make the decision to work with you over a competitor offering a very similar product or service to your own.
It’s why word-of-mouth marketing and referrals are so valuable. Because when someone receives personalized recommendations from a person they trust, they’re more likely to take action and purchase.
Moral of the story: Don’t ever feel that personal branding is nothing more than a vanity project. Because really, it’s so much more powerful than that.
For a strong freelancing career, trust has to be at the heart of everything you do.
The quickest way to become the go-to person in your niche is to put the personal into your branding.
More specifically, personality.
I don’t need to tell you how competitive social media management is. There are lots of us around and that can make it hard for prospects to know who to work with.
Yes, your client results and testimonials may speak for themselves.
But while these are important (and you should definitely shout about them as much as possible), lots of other social media managers have them too.
What they don’t have is your story, your experiences, and your unique point of view.
Sharing this as part of your content strategy will help differentiate you from other people in your space. It will also leave a lasting impression on others.
The more you share your insights and experiences, the more you’ll give people a way to remember you. Particularly those whose values align with yours.
And, even better, the more you talk about your area of expertise (through education and storytelling), the sooner you will become recognized for it.
Here are 5 pieces of content you can share next week that will help to build your personal brand:
Share this kind of content consistently, and you’ll become recognized in your niche in no time.
Pro tip: A really simple (but underrated) personal branding tip is to make sure you have a consistent brand name across your social media channels. This will make it so much easier for people to find you. For example, my website is bellafoxwell.com and my Instagram handle is @bellafoxwell. Easy and memorable!
Since the end of 2022, everybody’s been talking about AI chatbot ChatGPT.
And no matter whether you fall into the optimistic camp (it’ll help improve productivity and cut waste) or the pessimistic camp (there’s a 10% chance it’ll wipe out humanity), one thing is clear.
AI isn’t going anywhere.
In fact, it’s accelerating at such a rate that a lot of social media managers have been left wondering whether they’ll still have a job in the next few years.
As we mentioned in this article about Iconosquare’s new AI caption generator, AI-powered social media tools aren’t something to fear.
Instead, they can (and should) be used to unlock your potential.
Rather than wasting time and expertise on repetitive tasks like manually posting Reels, you can focus on areas you’re passionate about and uniquely qualified to handle.
And with more time to spare, you know what you can focus on?
Building your personal brand.
Because as AI gets more sophisticated and its skills improve, the need for strong (human) personal brands will be greater than ever.
Many more people will be able to churn out content at scale, but far fewer people will have a strong personal brand that helps that stand out.
This is your opportunity as a social media manager.
By working on your personal brand, you’ll grow your network and increase trust with your audience — and those people will turn to you as the go-to expert in your field.
How do you stand out in a crowded space like social media management?
Business is all about relationships, so the more of these you can build, the stronger your network will become and the more opportunities you’ll get as a result.
And a strong personal brand can do some of the heavy lifting (and intimidating work of networking) for you.
People will start to recognise your face, the kind of work that you do, and the values and experiences you have in common.
Not only does this make you more memorable, it also makes it easier to strike up conversations online and offline.
When I began to take my personal brand seriously, one of my goals was to share more of my day-to-day life online.
That included my corgi and somewhat lazy colleague, Winston.
Now it might sound silly, but sharing more of Winston bonded me to others who also have a dog/love dogs.
It made for an easy conversation starter at networking events and it helped me stand out among other social media managers because I’m “the one with the adorable corgi!”.
The lesson here?
Never underestimate the power of being a little more personal online. This is personal branding we’re talking about after all!
Knowing where to start when it comes to building your personal brand can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
Small changes can make a big difference — like factoring in more personal posts into your content calendar.
The more you do this, the more comfortable you’ll get sharing yourself and before you know it, you’ll increase trust with your audience, start to become recognized by your peers, and receive opportunities you hadn’t thought possible a few months ago.
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Every week, Emily interviews top brands, renowned influencers, and hidden agencies with one goal in mind: to understand what happens backstage of their social media strategies.Listen to esm2