Using your domain as your brand with social networks

With all the social networks that are out there these days, it’s so common to get into conversations and have someone ask you, “Hey, are you on (insert the name of specific network here)?”

More often than none, you want to say that you are, following that up with an easy way for that person you just met at some great networking event to remember how to find you on that specific website. Be it Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn, there are multiple sites that all have different ways for you to be found on their service. It could be a search based on a name or email address, but how could you simplify this process that makes it easy for this person to find you?

These following is going to get quite technical, so if you’re uncomfortable with the following directions or just don’t like dealing with the settings on your web server or getting into code in general, don’t let this overwhelm you. Look over the idea and consider using this with your web presence. After that, consider finding someone with the skills to get this implemented.

Just as an example, I’m going to use Twitter. To find anyone on their service, you can usually find someone by typing in the following URL into any web browser:
twitter.com/mybrand

It’s fairly easy to tell someone that URL, but there is actually a way to make your website’s domain name, what you should also consider as your brand, do a lot of the work for you. Using what is known as URL redirection, you can use a simple, one line of code to use your brand to promote your presence on a particular social network. This is where we get a little more technical.

In my example here, I’m using some simple code in the htaccess on my website’s server. It should be said that you need to be very careful when editing this particular file on any website because altering it incorrectly can cause problems with the overall function of your domain. Of course, not all web servers are the same, so consult your host if you are not sure where or how you can implement this yourself.

Redirect /twitter http://twitter.com/mybrand

Once you have added that to the bottom of your htaccess, test it out by going to:
mybrand.com/twitter

Once you have this working, you should be able to go to that URL and have it automatically send anyone who visits that address to your account on Twitter so they can find you easily, efficiently, and, ultimately, follow your Twitter stream.

This also cuts down on any confusion because what if your brand’s name is hard to spell or there is another account on Twitter that has an account such as “twitter.com/my_brand” or “twitter.com/mybrands”? Having this redirect in place will save someone time and any confusion over who is who on any social network.

A live example of this would be the Flickr group that we just started. Since Rebecca and I both have our own accounts on there, we decided to create a pool of photos of all things related to sixty4media.

Here’s the actual address to the sixty4media Flickr Group:
http://flickr.com/groups/sixty4media/

To simplify things, I’ve used this trick to create:
sixty4media.com/flickr

When anyone clicks on that URL or types it into any web browser, they will be directed to the appropriate page on Flickr to see our photo group there. I’ve even gone a step further and added another line to compensate for any misspellings in the event that someone tries to type in “sixty4media.com/flicker“. It’s really up to you as to how specific you want to get.

This concept was something I caught wind about via a Twitter post by John Chow, and it made a lot of sense to me as soon as I saw it.

My instant thought was how much it would make sense to be able to hand someone your business card at an event. Since your website is usually on the card with all the rest of your contact information, telling that person how to find you on Facebook or LinkedIn is easier because all you have to do is point out your website on the card and tell them it’s “slash, (enter name of social network here).”

Posted in Social Networks, Tips, Tutorials and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

3 Comments

  1. Good post. I also always try to cover the case when there’s a slash on the end as well. I.e. sixty4media.com/flickr and sixty4media.com/flickr/ .. Usually I just redirect one to the other in case anyone links to them in a post and puts the wrong one.

  2. John, A great idea. Seems so obvious after the fact, will implement this at my workplace! Thanks.

  3. John, great read. I found you on Google, as I was searching the web looking at how folks are managing their social “footprints”.

    We came up with a tool that you might be interested in trying out (as well as some of your readers), and since you guys are knowledgeable in this space, we would love to have you on as beta testers and get your feedback.

    Here is a sample, we allow you to put all of the social networks you described on your own domain, so users never get forwarded off your site, but can still interact on FB / Twitter / YouTube, etc with full funcionality. Have a look.

    http://MikesPad.com (click the twitter bird)

    If anyone is interested in being a beta tester email me Mike@GizaPage.com and include your links to your social profiles and I will have a page built in under 24 hours for you.

    Sincerely,
    Mike

Leave a Reply