Trying to navigate the waters of creating a brand? Working to expand your social platforms? Let’s talk.
Setting yourself up as a “Social Media Public Figure” or launch your own brand/product/career is a difficult task, especially with 20,000 people trying to tell you that their free e-Checklist will gain you Instagram Growth – but if you sign up for their masterclass…
I’ve done the books, the groups, the checklists, the “kits,” and honestly, none of that shit works for someone like me. And if you’re here, chances are you are much like me: looking for someone to give the information straight, no chaser. That baby-girl pink cursive pitch deck is just… blah. No thanks, don’t need that.
I’m Ami Nicole (if you don’t already know me), aka ACRONYM. I’m what is considered to be a “micro-influencer” but I also run my own media company that encompasses Photography, Journalistic Writing, Directing Videos and Short Films, Graphic/Web Design, and promotion and curation of Art Events. That’s a long way of me saying “I’ve got a lot to offer because I’ve made a TON OF MISTAKES throughout my career, so maybe you should take me seriously and learn from me so you don’t do the same dumb shit I did.”
The tactics I’m also sharing here can be applied to other brands, not just “Influencer Work.” So if you’re reading this and going “This may not be for me,” I urge you to keep going as there are a lot of ideas in this cluster of curriculum that might open your mind to more.
A lot of what I’m sharing can apply to public figures and influencers, but to be honest, even creating brands, bands, musicians, artists, etc., you have to create a culture around the people aka “the face” involved in order to elevate the brand. So look at it this way, sometimes you’ve got to look in different corners to find what you’re looking for.
So, let’s get started. You’re about to be busy AF.
BRANDING YOURSELF OR YOUR PRODUCT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
If you’ve already started a brand, great! If not, this is the time to dig within yourself and come up with a brand name that you believe you’ll be proud of for years to come. Full disclosure, I’ve changed my name 2 times since 2008, and then shortened it to what is now “ACRONYM.” While it might seem easy to change a name when you’re not completely established, it’s actually kind of a pain in the ass. So really try and nail down a name before you move past this point.
For the influencers, some use their name or a “byline” for their names and socials, but there’s a good note to keep in mind: If your name is really generic, like John Smith… or my legal name Amy Cooper, you’re gonna have a bad time trying to get your SEO in line as you start to get interviews, be requested for podcasts, etc. EXAMPLE: Google Ami Nicole ACRONYM. That’s me, but that’s only 1/4 of the press that I have. The unfortunate reality is I didn’t realize this when I first started, and I used Amy Cooper for my journalist byline as well as connected to ACRONYM, so now a lot of my SEO is in the shitter. Don’t do that to yourself.
If you have a generic legal name, I highly suggest coming up with a brand name instead. If you’re a clothing line, bakery, band, tattoo artist, etc. then you’ll obviously already have an idea of what you want your brand name to be. Once you’ve decided on the name, lockdown all the socials you plan on using – and the ones you’re not. Even if you don’t feel like you’re a TikTok Star yet to be discovered, nailing down those socials NOW will protect you from someone else taking your username if you ever decide to get on there, or worse, someone creating content with the name you’ve chosen, and eventually coming to you to rip you of YOUR BRAND NAME.
It is also important to note that you should try and keep every handle the same. When choosing your name, some social media platforms have a character count limit for your username, so try to not make your brand name the length of a Panic! at the Disco song in the early 2000’s. As I previously mentioned with SEO about interviews, podcasts, etc., you are going to want press on some level with whatever you are doing, and there’s nothing worse than these people who are trying to PROMOTE YOU to have to remember all of your different nuances in your social media handles. The simpler it is to promote you, the more people will do it.
Now I’ll be the first to admit I had to FIGHT for my Twitter name for almost two years. They finally awarded it to me after the account holding the name hadn’t posted since 2011, and they were able to verify I owned the domain name (website) for the name, as well as an LLC (which you don’t need until you start pulling in more money. We’ll talk about that later.).
I also have to admit that my YouTube channel is YouTube.com/acronym, as is my Ko-Fi.com/acronym, but that’s a lot better than if I did ACRONYM some places, Ami Nicole other places, and then ACRONYMOFFICIAL on others. Some mistakes are irreversible, what can I say?
Instagram, out of all of the platforms, is the hardest to contact or get appeals on names, so if you choose your name and you cannot get it for Instagram, and Instagram is a viable part of your business, I would suggest finding what works for Instagram, and then check the rest of the places. Don’t start signing up for the accounts until you’ve nailed down a name that’s free on all. Google the name, search it on each social media platform, and then if it’s available everywhere, then sign, seal, deliver.
And LASTLY: Underscores and periods are a pain in the ass if there’s more than one. I personally think it looks crappy to have a ton of underscores (no shade to my friends that have them), so anytime I’ve helped build a brand, I always sway them away from underscores or periods. If it’s necessary to complete your dream, then go for it – BUT keep in mind, many people will not remember those underscores or periods, and that may mean they won’t be able to find you if they didn’t immediately follow you. It’s all about making it simple for lazy or busy people, if I’m being honest.
This is more important than you think, and I lump it into the same category as nailing down your social media accounts. As you’re looking to nail down your social media names, also search for a website domain that matches the name you picked. If it’s available, I suggest nailing it down N-O-W. Now the question is, where to make the website?
Professional Opinion: DO NOT USE WIX… LIKE EVER. There goes a future sponsorship opportunity but I don’t care! As a designer that dabbles in light web work (I can’t code to save my life), I can’t tell you how many sites I’ve migrated for clients off of WIX to better platforms like Squarespace or WordPress. What would work best for you? Ask these questions:
- Do I plan on having a storefront on this website and selling products?
- Are you looking to write/blog/review products?
- Are you a musician / musical act that is looking to share their music online?
- Are you looking for aggressive expansion on the site in the coming years?
If you’re looking to run a small side business with selling product, but you don’t want to use a platform like Etsy to do so, or can’t for content specific reasons (looking at the Cannabis people), Squarespace is a quick, easy, plug and play platform that will help you along the way to establish a store, a front-facing website that has template-based setups so you can place things where need be, and not have any coding to do it. They have multiple themes you can install to the system, and it saves a lot of guesswork. There are also a ton of plug in’s to use that can help you share Soundcloud links, social media accounts, and more. You will usually end up spending around $30 a month to keep the site up if you choose to have a site that has a storefront, or you can pay a monthly fee, as well as buy your domain through Squarespace.
If you think that you want to be the next big whatever, and plan on utilizing your site for just that, with aggressive expansion or intense blogging, I highly suggest biting the bullet and doing a WordPress.org site. It’s not as easy to set up for someone who’s not already into tech, but if you’re able to hire someone (ahem, email@example.com), it’s just as simple as locating a pre-existing site template through online stores for purchase (usually around $50-60 as a one-time fee), finding a template that works best for what you’re trying to build, and installing everything to an online host. Hosting does cost money, and it all depends on what hosting package you get. This all depends on your business, but I know for mine, I spend around $30 per month keeping it active.
When I first started, I purchased my domain through GoDaddy.com and had to learn a lot about how to connect nameservers to hosts (I know, I may be losing you, bear with me), and then eventually released my domain from GoDaddy to the host I currently use. NOW: If you’re not ready to spend all that money on a website per month, what I suggest is still buying your name from GoDaddy.com so nobody else can buy it, much like how I explained nailing down your social handles. Once you’re ready to connect it to a site, then tackle that issue.
WHY DO I NEED A WEBSITE?
If you’re launching an online product, that question answers itself. But if you’re an artist, influencer, public figure, whatever, why have one? This is where you can share all your content in one place. Think about it as making your own world within a webpage. You can show your most amazing content on the home page, discuss rates (or not – everyone’s got a different opinion on if you should share rates publicly or not), links to your press, and share content that social media won’t let you share (once again, looking at my Cannabis friends).
I also have fallen victim to clients that I’ve worked with who have deleted content we created on their platforms, and I have no record of it. For example, I had a press piece that a former client and employer had published on their site about me. It wasn’t a bio or anything, it was a legitimate press piece that a year after I left, the client took it down. I, however, knew that their operation already ran on petty-juice, so when I went to leave the start-up, I screenshot pieces I knew the client would probably delete and saved them. Lucky I did, because I still have a record of the work, even if it’s not showing up in my SEO the same.
Another important reason: Social Media can delete your profile at any time. AT. ANY. TIME. You could have 600K following on TikTok and accidentally show something they didn’t like, and they could delete your entire account, leaving you with 600K fans that can’t find you anymore (the die-hard fans will hunt you down – this I’ve seen with TikTokers who have lost their platforms and regained a lot of them back or reconnected on others – BUT STILL).
Having your own website is going to be very important either way, whether published or private, just a standard landing page, or an encyclopedia of YOU, but screenshotting and keeping records of these things and having them on your website can save you a lot of heartaches when someone decides to clean house or the powers of Social Media rear their ugly heads. And the most important part: You have it so people can visit it and learn more about what you do, plus it legitimizes your business as a whole, having your own *Planet Badass* to show off.
That concludes today’s lesson, please tune in next week when we discuss HOW TO BUILD A FOLLOWING ON SOCIAL MEDIA!
SCHOOL OF ACRONYM
School of ACRONYM is an initiative put forth by Ami Nicole aka ACRONYM in which she teaches tips and tricks for Social Media, Branding, Content Creation, Cannabis Content, and more. Continue to check back weekly for new content in the School of ACRONYM section on acronymofficial.com/zine, and if you would like to donate monetarily to this initiative, you may use the following channels:
ACRONYM ZINE strives to bring you the newest in Music, Politics, Pop Culture, and more by hunting down stories that matter most to you and those around you. To continue supporting ACRONYM, please visit any of our sections, share stories on your social media accounts, and make sure to like/follow us on the following sites: