Social networks have become an integral part of our lives and the number of users of social networks has been constantly increasing. We check news and write messages to each other instead of calling directly. Meeting new people, we immediately look for the information about them in the Internet.
Social networks, with all their fame, appeared in our life not so long ago. The first social network in the world appeared in 1995 and it was called Classmates.com. It is functioning nowadays and has more than forty million registered users in Canada and the U.S.A. Randy Conrad, its’ creator, made a breakthrough on the Internet.
Social networks in the business world
For some companies the standard practice is to lead the customers to their business through social networks, while other companies create social networks and this is their business.
In fact, today many use Twitter and Facebook to promote existing and upcoming businesses. People looking to connect with other business-associated contacts usually move to sites like LinkedIn, but one needs to understand that social media is beyond Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogs.
Generally, top 5 most popular social networks nowadays are:
- Facebook; 900,000,000 – estimated unique monthly visitors, February 1, 2015.
- Twitter; 310,000,000 – estimated unique monthly visitors, February 1, 2015.
- LinkedIn; 255,000,000 – estimated unique monthly visitors, February 1, 2015.
- Pinterest; 250,000,000 – estimated unique monthly visitors, February 1, 2015.
- Google Plus+; 120,000,000 – estimated unique monthly visitors, February 1, 2015.
Believe it or not, Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only cool social networking sites on the Web. With the daily explosion of startups, there are plenty of new social media tools popping up. These newer platforms could be working on the next big thing, so you’ll want to keep an eye out. The following social networks getting more and more popular nowadays:
- anonymous social networks where users can share their feelings and thoughts without knowing each other. Example of such network may be Secret. This app is available for both Android and iOS;
- addicted to taking selfies? Such app was designed for you too. There is a mobile social network through which you can snap and share selfies named Shots;
- there are some popular social networks that allow you to share photos and videos with others (for example, Snapchat, which is available for both Android and iOS devices);
- mobile text and voice messaging services. In addition to making free calls, you can share videos and photos, create group chats, and find new people nearby. For instance, WeChat. The app is available for Android, iOS and several other devices;
- dating apps. As an example,Tinder is a mobile dating app that pulls your photo and basic info from your Facebook account. Users can swipe “yes” or “no” to potential matches who are nearby. If the feeling is mutual, people can chat within the app;
- social networks for kids. Unfortunately, popular social networks are also filled with adult content, unfiltered comments and potential for cyberbullying, identity theft and child predators.
With this problem in mind, several companies have attempted to create safer alternatives that are essentially “Facebook for kids” – safe social network platforms where kids can be themselves without all the risks. Social networks for kids are built on the balance of entertainment, expression, experience, education and engagement without endangering exposure. Facebook isn’t for kids, but social networking can be. Kid-friendly social networks are monitored and include parental oversight to make sure everyone is safe.
As we may see from Altabel Group’s experience, some of our customers are potentially in a big way to create such social networks for kids. At the moment the most popular social networks for kids are Togetherville, ScuttlePad, Skid-e-Kids, Imbee, Club Penguin and Yoursphere. And who knows, maybe our current or next project will appear in one of the tops.
To your mind, what kind of awesome social network may appear in future? What new is interesting for users nowadays?
Statistics for businesses on social media
– 60% of Small-Medium Businesses (SMB) have gained new customers through social media;
– 46% of users check social media for product information prior to making a purchase;
– 99% of SMBs use Facebook, 98% are on Twitter, but only 59% trust Instagram;
– 90% of Twitter users follow you to get a discount. 67% of Twitter users are far more likely to buy from a specific brand they follow.
So as the statistics shows, businesses can no longer imagine going without social media – whether it’s retail, services or something else. And, although many among them still consider social media as a ‘necessary evil’, the advantages of being present on social media can no longer be ignored.
Social media APIs as effective tool to make business socially-adapted
Actually social media APIs provide businesses with a new way to personalize their marketing campaigns and communicate with customers. By building social media features into your website – whether by simple addition of plug-ins such as “like” or “follow” buttons or more in-depth functionality – you can allow your customers to leave feedback, interact, and communicate socially without having to leave the site or log in elsewhere.
You can also collect and display user-generated content, which can be extremely beneficial as the users themselves can create plenty of free material that might be interesting to a broader audience. In the case of user-generated content in a foreign language, a translation API can be used to facilitate communication. Translation APIs allow content management systems (Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, etc.) to seamlessly interact with a translation platform to translate uploaded content.
Developers have access to a number of social media application programming interfaces that can help them integrate the services of major social media services into their websites or applications. This is particularly beneficial for content providers, marketers or even e-commerce companies that may have share-worthy content or products.
APIs of top 5 most popular social networks
Facebook Graph API
With well over a billion active monthly users, Facebook is not only the biggest social network worldwide, but also an invaluable mine of data and personal information. Facebook’s Graph API is the core of Facebook Platform and is designed to provide access to every object in Facebook’s database, including users, photos, videos, statuses, conversations, places, and their interlinked relationships with each other.
Developers who log in to the Graph API can use data to create deeper, personalized experience for their own users.
Facebook authentication enables developers’ apps to interact with the Graph API on behalf of Facebook users, providing a single sign-on mechanism across web, mobile, and desktop apps.
This API makes it easy to connect with users on your website or application and offer them more personalized experience, as well as the ability to like and share pages on your site or app. It can also provide site registration features and a Facebook-based commenting system.
– Site registration;
– Commenting system.
Twitter Embedded Tweets
Twitter’s early policy of providing a relatively simple-to-use API ensured that a host of third-party apps quickly sprang up around the micro-blogging site. The Embedded Tweets tool allows you to take any tweet and embed it directly into the content of your article or website. Moreover, the tweets will display with expanded media (e.g. photos, videos, articles summaries, etc.) and real-time retweet and favorite counts. Plus, when the tweets are embedded, they will become interactive on the Web page, allowing visitors to follow the author, reply, retweet or favorite them without ever leaving the page.
– Listen to the conversation around your brand and aggregate the data;
– Create tools that increase the reach of your campaign;
– Display conversation relevant to your campaign.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest business social networking hub. Launched in 2003, LinkedIn has millions of users and is implemented in over 200 countries. LinkedIn actually provides 2 APIs:
- The REST API provides a simple, consistent representation of people, companies, jobs, and the interactions and relationships between them. Query language lets you read data in XML and JSON at the granularity and aggregation that you choose.
The Pinterest API provides developers with access to an authenticated user’s pinboards and pins. The API provides detailed user data, as well as the home feed for a user, pins, likes, following, followers and the ability to unfollow. Developers can also access information about specific boards and pins, including creating boards, adding pins, categories and adding/removing likes. The API allows businesses to integrate with Pinterest’s social media platform in an effort engage with customers. With the APIs, developers can access a site’s top repins, most recent pins, related pins, most clicked through pins and pins resulting from specific search terms. The API makes its data available via JSON only, with requests also wrapped as JSON.
Google first started testing its API for the search engine in 2002, enabling up to 1,000 automated searches. It has since released numerous APIs relating to various areas such as Google Maps, Google Wallet, and the Chrome web browser. It might not have the reach of Facebook, but the Google+ API can be used to tap into the platform’s own social graph and to integrate features such as cross-device sign-on into your site or app.
Thought it may not have the name brand recognition of Facebook or Twitter, Google+ is still an incredibly useful social network in some circles. If you’re looking to tap into those clusters of users, you can integrate the Google+ API into your app or website, which allows users to connect with one another for “maximum engagement” and use Google+ features directly from your site or app.
As the API economy continues to grow, more and more companies look to open up their APIs in order to extend their own brand’s reach. The social media landscape is a fast-moving and constantly shifting one, but accessing the features of major platforms via their APIs is likely to continue to be a source of great opportunities, no matter what business you are in.
What do you think, should we expect the rise of new social network giants? Or would top most popular social networking sites stay unchanged? Have you already had the experience of using social networks’ APIs? Do you have any interesting ideas of API using in mind?
You are welcome to share your thoughts and experience with us.
Business Development Manager