The following is a guest contributed post from Bill Glenn, VP of Marketing for Rightside.
Social media networks come and go. How many of us remember MySpace? How about Xanga? LiveJournal anyone? The beauty of a .SOCIAL domain is that it evolves with you, and 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 over 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 both 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 experience, ensuring that their audience finds them and enjoys the experience.
This is where a unique and memorable domain name comes into play. Most third party platforms automatically assign users 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 www.yourbrand.social and redirecting it to a third party platform of choice increases their likelihood of being found and provides 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 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 utilizing 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+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Spotify, Pinterest, Vimeo, SoundCloud, FourSquare, VK, Weibo, Youku, WeChat, Vine, and Periscope. For a single customer, however invested in the Lamborghini brand, to keep track of this many profiles without the benefit of a single site would be challenging at best and impossible at worst.
The New York Post offers a similar function to their customer base at www.nypost.social with a page that links to their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Vimeo, and YouTube. While the 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 gTLDs are relatively new, many brands are already embracing this opportunity, utilizing a .SOCIAL domain to redirect to the following social platforms:
- Google Plus
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 SMBs, a .SOCIAL domain can represent a more affordable option than an 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.
For additional .SOCIAL use cases visit http://showcase.ninja/tagged/.SOCIAL.