Side gigs have become a popular way to make money, and the gig economy is alive and well. The gig economy is known as the influx of contract, freelance, and independent work available. With the flexibility of these positions, many people work their regular full-time jobs, then work their side gig for extra money. According to the Big Economy Index, gig workers earned a collective total of $1.4 trillion in 2018.
Whether you’re already working a side gig or just formatting your new business to start taking on contract work, personal branding is an important tool for growth. With a personal brand, you can show off your unique skill set and advertise your value, so potential clients can better evaluate your work.
When you show you’re trustworthy, you’re more likely to get positive reviews and referrals. When asked what the best source of business is, 85% of business owners polled chose “word-of-mouth referrals.” If you put time and effort into your personal brand, you can gain credibility, increase authenticity, and eventually turn your side gig into a profitable small business.
Basics of Building a Personal Brand
To create your own personal brand, you must:
- Set SMART goals.
- Do research on competitors.
- Identify your brand attributes.
- Create a unique selling point.
- Pinpoint your target audience.
- Design your marketing plan (both online and offline).
When you implement the steps to creating your personal brand, you’ll need to focus on following best practices. This will ensure the brand you create is authentic and can stay with you as you grow your business.
Identify Target Markets
To identify your target market, you’ll need to figure out where your product or service belongs and who needs it. By figuring out the demographic for your side gig, you can narrow down your branding message and more easily sculpt your personal brand.
Produce Relevant Content
Creating online content that’s informative, engaging, and useful can boost the power of your personal brand quickly. When you create content that your online following finds helpful, they’re more likely to share your content. The content you share through your personal brand, both online or offline, should help solve specific problems you know your target audience faces, or should be relevant to your potential customers’ lives in some way.
It’s important that the content you produce through your personal brand is informative, but it should also be easy for your followers to relate to as well. When you practice sincerity with your engagement and interactions, people are more likely to remember and trust you. When you make sincerity a priority, those who interact with you are also more likely to become loyal customers, brand ambassadors, and referral sources.
Clearly Articulate Your Value
More than likely, your business faces multiple competitors. If you can’t offer unique solutions to your customers with their priorities in mind, they may choose one of your competitors instead. To stand out from the competition, focus on your customers’ problems and pain points and work to solve them in a way that makes it hard for them to say “no”.
Know Your “Why”
Even if you get help starting your business, it’s still your responsibility to figure out the purpose of your business so you can relate it through your personal brand. By narrowing down the purpose of your business and what promises you want to make to your customers, you can better understand how to represent yourself and communicate what you have to offer.
Branding Yourself on Social Media
Social media is a vast online universe that can be overwhelming. However, social media is one of the best advertising mediums and it just keeps growing. In September 2017, Instagram had about 800 million users, which increased to one billion users in June 2018.
Social media platforms are a great way to reach your target audience, provide compelling content, and tell the story of your personal brand. There are several ways to successfully engage online.
Create a Facebook Group
A Facebook group is a group of Facebook users that can interact with each other on one platform. When you create a Facebook group, you can bring your fans together so you can interact with them and they can interact with each other. By monitoring the group, you can provide important information when it’s needed and keep your fans updated on your latest projects and plans.
Share Links Relevant to Your Expertise
Not only do you want to build value and an identity for your personal brand, but you also want to be seen as an expert in your field. Share links that provide important information and are relevant to your expertise. This important content allows you to boost your credibility with your online following.
If you show you’re an authority in the field and you’re sharing useful information, it’s more likely your followers will share your posts with their friends, increasing your brand’s presence and getting your business name out to more people.
Reply to Followers
Customer support is so important, especially online. In the digital age, people expect to hear back from brands quickly when they ask a question online. About 90% of social media users have used a social media platform to communicate with a brand.
If your brand has a big online following, it can be hard to keep up — but neglecting the customers who reach out over social media isn’t an option. You can set up online alerts that notify you when your name is mentioned.
Set these alerts up for your personal name, as well as your “doing business as” name, and any other name you go by. This will allow you to identify when someone is communicating with you online so you can respond quickly.
Use Multiple Platforms
Using multiple social media platforms will help you increase your audience and brand recognition. However, it’s important to only identify the platforms that make sense for your brand. For example, if you sell artwork, you could use the integrated shopping and advertising platforms available on Facebook and Instagram to reach customers. Keep your brand congruent and use the same business name and profile picture so you’re easily identifiable.
By staying true to your personal brand both online and offline, you’ll start to gain a customer base and a loyal following. When you show sincerity and provide relevant content, your customers are more likely to stick around and you can quickly grow your side gig into a full-fledged business.