Codi Johnson is the social media marketing strategist behind Mini Media Marketing. She has over seven years of experience with social media management, strategy, and content creation, and she specializes in helping businesses develop an online identity that is rooted in authenticity.
Not only does she help other humans figure out what works for them on social, but she also has built her own community on Twitter, and currently has over 11k followers. We talked to Codi about how to build a personal brand that lands.
Building Your Personal Brand
1. What does a personal brand look like/mean to you?
Personal brand to me is the physical and non-physical aspects that make you who you are. Physically for me, I like to rock my afro, wear gold jewelry, and always have my nails painted. As for the non-physical aspects, I associate my brand with my love for charcuterie boards, social media marketing, cooking, ‘90s music, fitness, and family values.
A personal brand isn’t something that you have to magically whip up—it’s already in you. It’s everything that makes you, you. And it doesn’t always have to be “professional”. It can be the quirky, fun things that are associated with you as an individual.
2. How did you decide that you needed a personal brand and how did you go about defining what that looked like?
I’ve always had a personal brand, but I’ve never paid much mind to it. Over the past 5-7 years I became obsessed with social media marketing, branding, nails, music, fitness, and other things I now identify with. I would constantly share fun articles, videos, or mini-projects as a way to showcase to the world that, Hey this me! This is what I like, this is what I’m good at, and this is part of my brand.
I wanted to express and share more about the things that I liked because it connected me to the communities that I wanted to be a part of. I have always had a passion for marketing, nails, music, and fitness—I used to be a soccer player, so I was already invested in everything that aligns with my personal brand.
3. Have you seen the hiring process as a freelancer shift for you as your personal brand grew in recognition?
YES! 100% yes. Especially over the past couple of years, as I’ve started to tweet more about social media marketing and other things I find interesting, I’ve received heaps of referrals from my social networks.
4. Do you think all freelancers should have personal websites? If so, what do you think is necessary for them to include?
Yes! Even if it’s just one page, it’s so important to have a place for your prospective clients to learn more about you, your work, and the things you like to do. As for sections to include, there should always be an About section. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited websites and been instantly turned off when there was no bio or personal touch! Tell me more about you—your likes, things you do outside of work. If your prospective client reads that you love to go kayaking, and they do too, you’ve already made a connection, and that can develop into something deeper. At the end of the day, you’re doing business with humans. Human connection is so important. Don’t lose sight of that.
Secondly, have a place for your Portfolio. It could be a link to your work or case studies that give people a sense of the success you can help them achieve.
Thirdly, add a Services page. What do you offer? What comes in each package? There are lots of different opinions on whether or not to share your rates on your site, and that’s something that freelancers have to decide for themselves. Personally, I don’t share package rates on my site as they vary depending on each project. However, I do share starting rates.
And, lastly, I would also include a Contact page. Keep it simple.
5. What channels do you recommend freelancers leverage to build their brand?
This depends on the industry of work. But, as a marketer, I’ve found that Twitter is my favorite platform to connect with other marketers and industry leaders. Conversations never stop on there. I love it! I used to be a LinkedIn hater, but truthfully, it has provided me with some amazing job opportunities. For example, in 2021, after doing a search for “social media strategists” in the US, I was able to connect with another social media strategist. I messaged her to let her know I was happy to connect and maybe we could get to know each other. Since that message, we talk bi-weekly, she has sent me three clients in the past year, and I’ve partnered her with a colleague of mine to give a presentation to our college students.
You could be on any platform really, but it’s how you use it to your advantage that matters. I’d say pick two platforms that you know you can own, and just start creating content. Start publishing some of your work, spark conversations, share interesting articles (tag authors), go LIVE, collaborate with other industry leaders. The possibilities are endless.
6. What other advice would you give to a freelancer who is just starting to build their personal brand?
Don’t worry about what other people think. Be you! When it comes to owning your personal brand in the hopes of landing more clients, you have to show how you can provide value. People don’t know what they don’t know. If you have an amazing stat to share from the work you’ve created, share that! If you have a testimonial from a client that you’re proud of, share it. If you want people to know you for graphic design, start incorporating more of that into the conversations you have on your social channels.
Only you know what works for you. I know it’s easy to get consumed with the successes of others, but focusing your attention on what other people are doing will only take away from your own success. If you’re just starting out with building a personal brand, I’d suggest making a list of the things that you like and the groups that you are already part of, and start spending more time connecting with people in those communities. Keep the list to about 5-7 things. You don’t need to overwhelm yourself.But do remember, that no one is going to build your brand for you. So, be authentically and unapologetically you. People will admire that and remember you for it.
Give Codi a follow on Twitter or check out Mini Media Marketing to learn more about the services Codi offers.