Tips to Improve Your Social Media Findability (Pt 2)
How many times have you literally heard of a web-site or social program that you thought, That’s Interesting! I’ll check that out later, but when you went to search for it you couldn’t find it? Sometimes it might be because you have mispelt the name or misheard the information, but most of the time it’s because the implementers of the program think you’re secretly Sherlock Holmes and will just naturally be able to track down the correct information.
In my previous article I talked about using links to reduce the barriers to entry and to guide consumers to other platforms. All of which is very basic and should be obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many times even these simple steps are overlooked. In this article I’ll be talking about something a little more advanced: how using the right URL for your program can make a world of difference in your findability.
Social programmes can cost big bucks to implement. So who wants to waste all that effort by making it difficult for your consumers to find you? One of the easiest ways to improve findability is by using an obvious program URL. For example, if you have a corporate social responsibility recycling program you would choose YourcompanyRecycling.com or maybe YourcompanyRecycling.org. Of course, these days finding the right URL in itself can cost big bucks as the name space becomes saturated and domain squatters are eager to speculate. There are alternatives however.
You may have reached this page by clicking on a linking that instead of using the domain skribeproductions.com used the domain skr1.be followed by a short string of alphanumerics (like this http://skr1.be/smFind2). This is my short url and it uses a feature implemented by bit.ly to provide custom short URLs. This allows you to buy an appropriate short domain for your company and then use bit.ly to redirect URLs to all your separate program sites. This somewhat diminishes the need to become overly inventive with your namespace or to pander to cybersquatters. The system even allows you to customise the alphanumeric, as demonstrated by the link to the first article in this series (http://skr1.be/smFind1). This doesn’t entirely get around the crowded namespace problem but it does provide you with more options on how to direct your consumers to the relevant sites. Please note that bit.ly doesn’t actually sell you the domain, you must supply that yourself and have it properly delegated on a name server, but bit.ly’s service is currently free for all but the largest enterprise sites.
Similarly, if you’re using a Facebook Page as part of your program, then once you cross the 25 like threshold you can use a vanity URL for the page. Instead of something like this http://www.facebook.com/pages/Skribe/195088403838282, which is difficult to remember, you could use this http://www.facebook.com/SkribeProductions. Short, obvious vanity URLs are much easier to remember and will also assist you with Search Engine Optimisation for the fan page.
Something else you can do is to check to see if the program name is available across a range of social platforms. Being forced to use different names across platforms decreases your chances of being found. A great tool for discoverying what names are still available is Namechk. Just pop in the name of your program and it will tell you whether that name is available on each of the sites.
Making your programs more findable is not hard. It just takes a little effort and understanding. Going that extra yard can make a big difference. I’ll be offering further tips about how to improve your findability soon.
Sherlock image by OtuboTags: bit.ly, facebook, findability, namechk, seo, short url, vanity url