What is an API? It stands for application programming interface, and it is a vital component in social marketing. APIs serve as platforms for web applications to interact and share information with social media networks and each other. Examples of apps that use the Twitter API are FriendShuffle and #NewTwitter, which have interfaces that pull in tweets from the social network. Recently, Pinterest has entered the API game by launching its own. Here's why brands need to make sure they are incorporating this into their marketing strategies, especially when developing consumer apps and website updates.
Brands need to become conduits between consumers and social media
Brands have a great opportunity be social media aggregators. Consumers who are socially engaged spend 20 to 40 percent more than other consumers who are not as active on social platforms. Pulling in pins, posts, and tweets to your website or app is a simple way to extend time on page and engage new customers. The longer a consumer spends on your platform, the higher the chance that a conversion will occur. If your website or app acts as a conduit between your consumer's favorite social media network and your brand, you are actively injecting your brand's voice into the social conversation. This association leads to brand loyalty and sales.
APIs help brands stand out among the clutter
The biggest problem for most brands on social media (especially for smaller companies) is that the consumer is overloaded with options. There are literally hundreds of social media networks, and each network contains thousands (if not millions) of accounts. In each account are countless posts, updates, and promotions. It's a crowded world out there for brands vying for a consumer's attention, especially new consumers. Using social APIs on your website or app is a great way to stand out from the crowd. If you can isolate your customers and make your branded platform the place to go for their social experiences, you are ensuring that your brand is front and center in their interactions.
Easier, better ways to aggregate social data
Every social media manager knows that collecting relevant social data can be overwhelming and difficult. However, APIs are now allowing for more intelligent and easy ways to pull in relevant social information. The Pinterest API for example allows brands to pull in top pins and popular re-pins or clicks that are relevant to your brand. This API (like Twitter and Facebook) allows you to easily keep a close eye on how your social community is resonating with a particular product or update from your company.
In this exclusive interview, iMedia speaks with Rishad Tobaccowala, chairman of DigitasLBi and Razorfish, about why your brand's social strategy needs to be API-friendly and the benefits you can see from this approach.
APIs and agencies: Are they doing this?
So how prevalent is the use of APIs in an agency's social strategy for brands? According to Rishad Tobaccowala, agencies are starting to slowly get it, but a couple of obstacles are preventing it from reaching standardization. First, agencies can't run to a new model right away, especially because the old model is still equivalent. The other reason is that agencies need to take clients along and get them used to the new system for social aggregation. Only time and refinement will cause brands to incorporate social APIs into their strategies, especially during expensive development investment periods.
Rishad Tobaccowala ends our conversation on the prevalence of APIs by explaining the two biggest obstacles agencies are having when trying to incorporate this into their strategies.
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