What are Social Media APIs and How are They Helpful for Small Website Owners?

By on June 12, 2013

You might have never heard of APIs before, and if you have, you still might not really have a clue what they’re all about. This tutorial should clear up any confusion and let you know how APIs could help your company in its social media marketing campaigns.

WordPress plug-ins, Facebook and Twitter apps, Google Analytics – all of these programs use APIs.

What are Social Media APIs?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. This is essentially a programming language that enables applications to talk to each other. APIs are designed by software companies and released to the public. Software developers then create services that are powered by the API.

Social media APIs are developed by social media companies themselves, which other organisations can then build on to create their own services.

Social media APIs therefore allow outside parties to use APIs to build products for social media pages. Myspace applications, Tweetdeck and Facebook Connect are some popular social media APIs. These have made social media marketing easier, faster to track and far more profitable.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck interfaces with Twitter’s API to enable people to receive and send Tweets to each other and view other people’s profiles. It can be a desktop, Chrome or web app that allows for easy management of Twitter accounts through a handy personal browser. Publishers, power users and online marketers can use Tweetdeck to track conversations in real-time and keep on top of the Tweets they are interested in. Businesses can easily see what people in their sector are talking about and reply to any Tweet they’re mentioned in, research moves and trends, or jump into conversations to promote themselves.

Facebook Connect

Facebook unveiled the Facebook API in August 2006 and Facebook Connect in 2008. This allows Facebook customers to connect their Facebook friends, privacy and identity to other websites, so webpages across the internet can use Facebook API features on their own pages.

Businesses can therefore us a trusted authentication method to connect partner websites and Facebook accounts together, can post as their Facebook account on other websites and can maintain their chosen privacy wherever they go.

Small website owners could encourage Facebook users to comment on their blogs or interact with their company on and off Facebook with this powerful social media API.

Facebook’s advertising API is also particularly useful – companies can target their ideal clients and connect with them on the world’s most popular social networking site.

Myspace API

Myspace has created a series of OSML and JavaScript APIs, enabling developers to create original and creative games and applications that are embedded into the social media site.  Not only can businesses make money through these applications with virtual goods and advertising, but they can also use them to promote their websites to the Myspace members that use them.

MyspaceApp is another popular application created using Myspace’s API. This was designed with the SmartPhone market in mind, allowing fast access to SuperPost, Stream updates and instant notifications when on-the-go. It also connects the artists within the user’s iTunes Library – perfect for music fans but also a great tool for businesses in the music industry – while the program also offers the ability for users to browse Myspace without logging in.

APIs for Small Businesses

Small businesses are a vital part of the online marketplace and API developers have this in mind when they create their tools. There is an endless supply of niche software available for this market.

However, small website owners have their own unique requirements. They need flexibility and affordability in all of their processes. They usually prefer Open APIs – those that enable end users to add, alter or integrate the software into their services without having to seek the consent of the software vendor beforehand.

APIs also enable small website owners to stay in touch with a wide pool of potential customers no matter what changes happen to the internet. Providing that Facebook, Twitter and Myspace remain powerful websites, the APIs that connect to these social media pages will remain powerful tools, and if another social networking site steals their thunder, then this website will undoubtedly use APIs too.

Businesses should use APIs as the tools developed through them enable companies to market themselves, drive up revenue and complete their jobs effectively. And APIs aren’t just isolated to social media – a Paypal API could help you drive up donations, for instance.

The future of online marketing will undoubtedly have APIs at its centre, so jump on the bandwagon today!

Author Bio:

Chelsey lewis loves to write about legal matters and especially influence of technology in legal practice. She admits the significance of technology and its influence in every field of business. Mostly she reports issues related to compensation claims for road traffic accidents and effects of serious brain injury on human life.

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