Vanity URLs: are they important for branding?

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Vanity.

Having vanity in an off-line world isn’t necessarily a good thing since displaying excessive admiration of one’s own appearance is generally frowned upon. But, having vanity for your brand as part of the online community is everything.

Just last week Google+ started allowing vanity URLs for profiles and pages, so it’s renewed the question in the online industry of whether or not a vanity URL is important for branding.

In short, the answer is yes.

Vanity URLs

A vanity URL is a creative web address that points directly to a specific page on a social networking site. Not only is it creative and fun, but it allows users (and potential clients/customers) easily find your brand without digging through the thousands of pages that exist across the web.

For example, the domain address for the Radiate Digital Facebook page is facebook.com/RadiateDigital. And, the unique address for our Google+ page is plus.google.com/+RadiateDigital.

Because the vanity URLs are the same as our company name, it’s easier to remember for our clients and helps integrate our company name into an overall social networking and branding strategy.

How do you get a vanity URL?

Each social networking platform has a different process for getting a vanity domain for your company page or profile. So, to go over this in a nutshell we’ve listed the process for the top five social networking sites (that allow some version of a vanity URL, of course) below.

Facebook
When you initially set-up a Facebook page for your company or group, your URL is a lengthy random assortment of numbers. To be eligible for a vanity URL, your page needs to have a minimum of 25 fans.

After that point, they will unlock the ability to choose a creative URL (assuming it’s not already taken by one of the other 50 million Facebook pages).

Twitter & Pinterest
The URL address that is assigned to your Twitter and Pinterest accounts are the same as your chosen username. So, as long as your company name is shorter than 15 characters, you’ll be able to use it as the username and URL for your account.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn will also match your vanity domain to your chosen page name as long as it’s under 100 characters and not already in use. So, chances are you’ll be able to maintain a consistent branding on your LinkedIn page to match your other social networks.

Google+
Lastly, the newest social channel to allow for personalized URLs. The criteria for gaining access is that your page must be at least 30 days old, it has a profile image and you have a minimum of 10 followers.

Once you’ve met the standards, they will automatically ask you if you’d like the vanity URL. Initially they’ll suggest a URL that matches your page or profile name, but they allow you to change it once if you would like to.

What do you think of vanity URLs? What social networks are you using them for as part of your brand strategy? What additional platforms do you wish would start allowing them?

(image via insightmarketingsolutions)

Written by Staff at Radiate
on November 6, 2013