Social networks come and go. How many of us remember MySpace? How about Xanga? LiveJournal anyone?
The challenge for your business is to seamlessly evolve along with these social networks — and that's where personalized domain names come into play.
Maximizing 3rd Party Investments
Take the .social domain: A URL like www.yourbrand.social can redirect to Facebook today, Twitter tomorrow, and the social media platform of the future the following day.
But even if the social media platform of choice is changing faster than most people change out their toothbrush, the influence of third party platforms on the internet continues to grow.
There are currently nearly 3.5 billion internet users around the world, and more than 2 billion active social media users. Gone are the days when a brand’s entire digital identity was tied to a single website connected to a single domain.
The question is: How can brands large and small make the most of the time, energy and resources they commit to third party social platforms?
The simplest answer doesn’t require special content creation or a contract with a social media marketing firm (not that these are outside the realm of reasonable actions, but they do require more in-depth planning and budgeting).
By assuming responsibility for their audience’s experience finding their content, brands can dramatically improve the customer experience and ensure that their audience can easily find them.
Domain Name Options
Most third party platforms automatically assign users an altogether forgettable web address like www.facebook.com/yourbrand or www.twitter.com/yourbrand.
Sure it's still possible for customers and fans to find brands of interest using a search of the brand’s name. But each step along the way decreases the likelihood that a brand’s audience will find them successfully.
A brand that curates this experience by registering www.yourbrand.social and redirecting it to a third party platform of choice increases their likelihood of being found.
Social Media Aggregation Sites
For brands that find it difficult to pick a single social media channel, there’s also the option of pointing a .social domain to a social media aggregation site where fans and potential customers have the advantage of seeing all of a brand’s third party content in a single place.
Social media aggregation is beneficial for customers who don’t have the time to follow your brand across a handful of third party platforms, providing a comprehensive portrait of any and all news, promotions, and updates.
Lamborghini is currently using www.lamborghini.social to redirect to a social hub where customers can find links to the brand’s comprehensive social media profile including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Spotify, Pinterest, Vimeo, SoundCloud, FourSquare, VK, Weibo, Youku, WeChat, Vine and Periscope.
A single customer, however invested in the Lamborghini brand, would find it hard to keep track of these many social profiles.
The New York Post offers a similar function to their customer base at www.nypost.social with a page that links to its Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Vimeo, and YouTube. While its purpose is similar to that of Lamborghini, the two brands use unique ways to represent themselves on their respective pages.
While many generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are relatively new, many brands are already embracing this opportunity to redirect to multiple social platforms.
Of course, for some brands the power of .social is less about the advantage of social media and more about the fact that the word is an exact match for their brand or project.
Information about Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzgerald’s book The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users is available at www.artof.social because that’s their brand and they just so happened to find a new gTLD that perfectly summed up who they are and what they represent.
Additionally, websites branded with a .social domain are appearing with increasing frequency across the most popular website builders, including WordPress, Weebly, SquareSpace and Wix, indicating that it’s not just larger brands that have clambered above the .social train.
For individuals, startups and small- to medium-size businesses, a .social domain can represent a more affordable option than an often expensive .com, while resolving dilemmas ranging from how to create a memorable call to action, branding microsites and creating a memorable and clear path to social media content.
Title image by Mario Purisic