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 as it becomes available.
The influence of third-party platforms on the Internet continues to grow. There are currently nearly 3.5 billion Internet users and over 2 billion active social media users around the world.
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. (Those aren't 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 (e.g., www.facebook.com/yourbrand or www.twitter.com/yourbrand).
Though customers and fans can still find a brand by doing 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 redirects it to a third-party platform of choice increases its likelihood of being found and provides a memorable experience along the way.
Brands that find picking a single social media channel difficult can point 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.
Examples of .Social
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, Yuku, WeChat, Vine, and Periscope.
For a single customer (even one 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 its customer base at www.nypost.social with a page that links to its Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Vimeo, and YouTube. Though the purpose is similar to what Lamborghini is doing with .social, both brands are unique in how they represent themselves on their respective pages.
Most recently, musician Rick Springfield and legendary act The Doors registered .social domains and use them in two different ways. For Springfield, it's being used as a re-direct to his website where he is promoting his latest album, "Rocket Science." For The Doors, the domain serves as the main website, allowing fans to then navigate the site the way they choose, such as News, Gallery, Store, and more.
Even Pope Francis has realized the value of new domain names. Scholas.social is his new platform that enables schools an education networks to be in contact with each other. In this case, the new domain name offers an extra dimension—far better than neutral extensions like .org or .net.
Though many gTLDs are relatively new, many brands are already embracing this opportunity, utilizing a .social domain to redirect to the following social platforms:
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. For example, 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 found 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 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 they focus on creating memorable call-to-actions, branding microsites, and a memorable and clear path to social media content.