The modern workforce is defined by an increasingly global workforce that works as independent contractors or freelancers. Industry estimates show that the global freelance platform market will surge at a CAGR of 15.3 percent from 2021 to 2026. The gig economy will cross $455 billion in 2023. The need to succeed in such a competitive environment makes online personal brand building a top priority for these professionals.
Business leaders, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, freelancers, and other passionate individuals like you rely on personal branding strategies to attract business in today’s connected world. Its absence can often translate to misrepresentation of your brand. Inspiring success stories on this front range right from that of Gary Vaynerchuk and Oprah Winfrey, to Gordon Ramsay and Tony Robbins!
What is a Personal Brand?
A personal brand is a superpower. Public figures, business thought leaders, entrepreneurs, freelancers, social media personalities, and celebrities have personal brands of their own. Finetuning of these brand’s public perceptions is the essence of personal branding.
Personal branding is all about consciously shaping and influencing your positive public perception. It positions you as an authority in your niche or industry. Such beliefs highlight your credibility and set you apart from the competition. This advances your business, profession, or passion for making an impact.
Although intentionally crafted, personal branding does not build on falsehoods. It combines your image, story, and position within a community. Your brand highlights your true self, brilliance, and values to your target audience to help you stand out.
Craft a Community around your Personal Brand
The amount of money you pump into advertising does not guarantee business success. These efforts take time. Trial and error might be needed before it yields results. This is where a genuine, value-driven, organic community built around your personal brand supplies stability to your business—even in tough times.
When you build a well-knit community around your business, it translates to a solid personal brand. Instead of creating a broad audience, target a focused audience, and build a community around your goals.
Passionate about your personal brand, a community supplies financial, emotional, and strategic support for your business. This is a proven strategy to survive economic turmoil like a recession. Your community members buy your product (or service) and spread positive messages about your business. Such a platform enables you to brainstorm new ideas and strategies to navigate challenging times.
The key points to remember in any brand community creation exercise include:
- Clearly define your brand’s mission, values, and personality. Effectively communicate these aspects along your audience’s journey. This lays the solid foundation for a vibrant community built around your personal brand.
- Don’t dilute your brand message by championing causes not included in your mission.
- Create a content hub for community members to assemble. Exchange ideas, views, information, and share experiences.
- Craft high-quality, relevant content that your community enjoys. Use customer research to create and share helpful tutorials. Create interesting articles, blogs, and virtual events for meaningful community engagement.
- Encourage user-generated content, which helps a brand community engage and grow organically. Reward community engagement with likes and comments on User Generated Content (UGC). Invite brand ambassadors to endorse your business.
- Leverage all your channels to drive people to community pages, which include onsite forums and social media platforms.
- Be responsive and humanize your brand. Engage with customers personally to answer their questions and meet their needs and requests for help. Involve a community outreach team overseeing the space to streamline these initiatives.
- Use AtomChat, the versatile chat plugin that allows integration with 30-plus apps. AtomChat strengthens your online personal brand community-building efforts by giving your audience an outstanding engagement experience.
- Spotlight relatable people to reinforce the bonds within the community. Partner with influencers to further enhance these relationships.
Benefits of a strong Personal Brand
A well-calibrated personal brand makes you visible, trustworthy, and credible. This translates to being a deserving candidate for referrals, cross-selling opportunities, and much more.
In uncertain economic times, people trust and emotionally connect more with a recognizable brand. Loyalty, referrals, new clients, and business opportunities follow! An effective personal brand strategy puts you in the driver’s seat, which makes your business recession-proof.
Globally, buying decisions of 65 percent of consumers are influenced by the words, values, and actions of a company’s leaders. Some of the key benefits on this front include:
Unique identity: Your personal brand sets you apart as a leading authority in the industry. It creates a distinct identity for you and your business.
Unwavering trust: People trust a brand and connect with it personally when they see an identifiable face linked to it. This becomes more significant in difficult times when people seek reliable information sources.
Clear visibility: You become more visible as you share your expert insights and views through various media. These expand your online and offline networks.
Confidence and joy: Express your knowledge and skills in what you love and enjoy. As a creator, it boosts your confidence and energy levels.
More extensive client base: A solid personal brand automatically generates referrals for new or potential customers.
Increased opportunities: As you become the go-to source in your industry, you begin attracting people, places, and opportunities necessary to achieve your goals.
More earnings: Your community and connections empower you to charge more for your products/services, get better employer deals, and attract partnership and advertising offers.
Free advertising: You get free publicity from your audience/community, posts, and content.
Scale and expansion: Your audience engagement and loyalty help you scale your existing business and foray into new territories.
Best Practices to create a Personal Brand
Successful companies, startups, entrepreneurs, and freelancers rely on certain steps to create a solid personal brand. This helps them consistently deliver on commitments.
Public trust, loyalty, and manifold support can be gained with best practices like:
Know and show who you are: Present your true self to your audience which consists of fans, followers, and customers. Build your personal brand on it—display your skills, interests, values, and beliefs.
Have a clear brand vision, mission, and timeframe to achieve your aims. What is your main message? Who do you intend to connect with as future loyal customers? What does your content aim to address? What is your brand personality? Are you a pathbreaking blogger, risk-taking entrepreneur, or passionate coach? All that and a lot more go into this step!
Find your target audience: Identify and target your audiences based on their demographics, needs, wants, and challenges. Zero in on whose lives you can change with your expertise and skills.
Create attractive offerings: Your product or service offerings sell when they become irresistible. These must resolve your target audience’s problems or give them the desired outcomes. Your value proposition and how you create offerings are the key.
Craft a content strategy: Creating and sharing free relevant, meaningful content that helps your audience is ideal for building your brand and the community around it. Start with keyword research to choose suitable topics. Then, craft pieces of quality content and publish them in different forms on various platforms.
Own a website that talks: Social media presence is vital. However, owning a personal website is prudent because you have no control over these platforms. User-friendly responsive design, content, chat features, CTA possibilities, and other elements make your website a resourceful, valuable destination.
LinkedIn: For business leaders and executives, professionals, freelancers, and others, LinkedIn is one of the pillars of your personal brand. Your target audience is most likely to research using this network before it decides to work with, hire, refer, or buy from you.
Facebook: Create a private Facebook group for your audience. Engage them in regular, meaningful interactions with each other and your team.
Instagram: A great way to build your personal brand. This is especially the case if you’re a creative person—or if you are an aficionado passionate about travel, food, beauty, fashion, or niche interests.
Founders, corporate executives, startups, entrepreneurs, independent contractors, freelancers, and others face increasing competition daily. This creates an ever increasing need to work on your personal brand.
If you are the face of your business and already have a social media presence, it is high time that you build an audience, a community. Position yourself as an expert and start attracting customers.
Although it pays off substantially in the long run, creating a personal brand requires time and consistent efforts. A solid personal brand, a well-knit community, and the right business tactics can be the winning combination to achieve your business and career goals.