It’s All About .SOCIAL
By Bill Glenn
Social media networks come and go. How many of us remember MySpace? How about Xanga? LiveJournal anyone? The beauty of a .SOCIAL domain, as opposed to another one, is that it evolves with you. This means that www.yourbrand.social can redirect to your brand’s Facebook today, Twitter tomorrow and the social media platform of the future the next day. But even if users’ preferred social media platform changes faster than most people change out their toothbrush, the influence of third-party platforms on the internet continues to grow. There are currently 3.4 billion internet users around the world of which 2.3 billion are 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.
This begs the question of how brands, both large and small, can make the most of the time, energy and resources they commit to third party social platforms. The simplest answer doesn’t require the creation of special content 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 of finding their content, brands can dramatically improve the audience’s experience. This ensures that the audience finds the brand’s content they are looking for while enjoying the experience.
This is where a unique and memorable domain name comes into play. Most third-party platforms automatically assign companies an altogether forgettable web address like www.facebook.com/yourbrand or www.twitter.com/yourbrand. While still possible for customers and fans to find said brand using a search of the brand’s name, each step along the way decreases the likelihood that a brand’s audience will successfully find them. A brand that curates this experience by registering with www.yourbrand.social as a format to redirect to a third-party platform of choice, increases their likelihood of being found while providing a memorable experience along the way.
For brands that find it difficult to pick a single social media channel, there’s the option of pointing a .SOCIAL domain to a social media aggregation site. This has the advantage that fans and potential customers can see all of a brand’s third party social media content on a single page. Social media aggregation is beneficial for customers who don’t have the time to follow your brand across a handful of third-party platforms. Using an aggregated site provides a comprehensive portrait of the brand’s news, promotions, and updates.
A good example of this aggregation is the Italian car brand Lamborghini. They are currently utilizing www.lamborghini.social to redirect their audience to a social hub where customers can find all the links to the brand’s comprehensive social media profiles including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Spotify, Pinterest, Vimeo, SoundCloud, FourSquare, VK, Weibo, Youku, WeChat, Vine and Periscope. They opted for this platform since it would be challenging, if not impossible, for a single customer, however invested in the Lamborghini brand, to keep track of this many profiles without the benefit of a single site.
The New York Post offers a similar function to their customer base at www.nypost.social by offering a page that links to their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Vimeo, and YouTube. While their purpose is similar to what Lamborghini is doing with .SOCIAL, both brands are unique in how they represent themselves on their respective pages.
While many generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) are relatively new, many brands are already embracing this opportunity, by utilizing a .SOCIAL domain to redirect to some of the following social platforms:
– Google Plus
Of course, for some brands the power of .SOCIAL is less about the advantage of aggregating their social media platforms and more about the fact that the word ‘social’ is an exact match for their brand or project. For instance, 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 this new gTLD (.SOCIAL) perfectly summed up what their brand represents.
Additionally, websites branded with a .SOCIAL domain are appearing with increasing frequency across the most popular website building platforms, including WordPress, Weebly, SquareSpace and Wix. This indicates that it’s not just larger brands that have climbed aboard the .SOCIAL train. For individuals, startups and SMBs, a .SOCIAL domain can represent a more affordable option than an expensive .COM one. In addition, using .SOCIAL solves dilemmas ranging from how to create memorable calls to action to how to brand microsites by creating a memorable and clear path to social media content.