When you’re a freelancer trying to snag a potential client, you need to do a lot of outreach. These days most of that outreach happens online.
If you’re using social media to secure freelancing gigs, you need to think about how you “visually” brand yourself. The face that you show to others online is important.
In this article we explain the steps freelancers need to consider when building an online brand.
1. Think About What You Want Your Brand to Say
What do you want your visual “style” to say about you as a freelancer? Are there certain topics you want to be associated with? How about words or colors? Or trends?
These are all questions you need to ask yourself when you’re designing your online brand. Branding is long-term, and once it gets cemented in your audience’s mind as “your look” it’s difficult to change course.
You can change your brand years down the road, but those changes need to be incremental. They still need to tie into your original persona, otherwise readers will get confused.
For example: If your company is called “T”, you can change the color of the “T” and your audience will still be able to make the connection.
If you suddenly change your name to “S” you’ve lost that searchability connected to your original name. It’s for reasons like this that you need to be careful about your choices.
2. Keep Your Screen Name Consistent
When you’re active across multiple platforms it’s important to keep your screen name consistent.
Your handle doesn’t need to be a direct rehash of your full name, but it does need to have some sort of structure to it so people can find you. Again, think about searchability.
Because we’re no longer in the days of the early internet, you might not be able to snag the exact handle that you want. This isn’t the end of the world.
All you have to do is pick something close, or a variation on a theme. If you can’t find a name that is close to what you want, this is where visual branding comes in.
3. A Good Profile Picture Is Invaluable
One of the easiest ways to make sure your branding is consistent is to have a profile picture that easily conveys the idea of what you offer as a person. It’s used to tell clients something about your working style—not so much “I can do this skill”.
Are you friendly or approachable? Are you a perfectionist, or into geeky things?
All of this can be conveyed through a good profile picture. If you’re an illustrator you can create your own logo, but a lot of the time these questions can be solved with a good headshot.
Think “LinkedIn profile,” but a little less stuffy.
Make sure you have good lighting, a good camera, and the patience to take 20-30 pictures of yourself until you find the right pose.
This consistent profile picture also conveys the idea that this social media account belongs to you—even if your screen name is slightly different on other platforms.
4. Have a Common Header Image and Color Scheme
Most social media platforms come with 2-3 graphic elements:
- A profile picture
- A header image
- Your color scheme
We’ve already discussed the profile picture and why it’s so important, but it’s equally important to have a matching header.
Like your profile, you want this header image to represent you, and for it to be consistent.
Be careful, however—you can’t just pull random images off of Google. Make sure you have permission to use them, otherwise you can get in trouble when it comes to copyright.
If you have access to the program, here’s how Adobe Stock can help you find the perfect image.
Additionally, keeping that color scheme consistent helps to convey a theme or mood. A good example of this is how the color green is often associated with the environment.
5. Make Sure Your Image Dimensions Are Correct
When uploading your pictures you need to make sure they have the proper dimensions.
Nothing looks worse than a picture that’s so big that parts of it are cut out. It’s also terrible when an image is so small that it gets resized and looks fuzzy.
When uploading a picture, keep in mind both general web specs and the specific dimensions for each platform.
Most images are safe for web use if they are in the JPEG or PNG formats. However, the dimensions for headers and profile pictures can change from site to site. Make sure you double-check them before uploading.
6. Make Sure Your Website Is Easy to Use
If you’re a freelancer you will need a blog or website to showcase your portfolio.
When setting one up, make sure it’s as easy as possible to navigate. Have a logical order to the items that are displayed on your page. If there’s a lot of text, make sure it’s easy to read.
If there are a lot of visuals, make sure those images are fast to load. You don’t want them getting in the way of people finding information.
7. Have a Consistent Bio
Last but not least, make sure your bios on your website and social media pages are identical or almost identical to one another.
This helps to convey the idea that, “Yes, this is me”. It also helps you state what you do as a freelancer.
Keep your bio to 2-3 sentences max, and talk about who you are, what you do, and one thing you like.
Humor is fine, but make sure that this humor is “safe for work”. It makes your platform more accessible for people who may be viewing your bio in public.
Put Your Best Face Forward
By keeping these steps in mind you’ll be able to avoid some of the most common mistakes when it comes to branding as a freelancer.
You’ll also be able to make the most of social media outreach, and once these items are in place you can focus on content creation and building a community. After all, if you showcase yourself well and your product is stellar, you should be able to attract attention fairly quickly.
Are you looking for more information on what kind of photos you can use in your social media headers? Then check out our list of the best sites for free high-resolution stock images.