There’s a lot of talk about APIs (Application Program Interfaces) for eCommerce, and for good reason. Because the code for each API has already been developed by the company that released it, APIs cut down on development time and cost while maximizing the functionality of your website. Moreover, they’re tied to popular websites – like Google Maps, Flickr, or Twitter – that your eCommerce customers are most likely already familiar with. The following series will cover the best APIs for your eCommerce business, beginning with social API integration.
An Overview of Social API Integration
A social API is an API that connects to your customer’s favorite social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. When you integrate a social API into your website, you can adapt that social service’s functionality to your website’s own needs, creating a completely unique functionality set in the process. For example, Firefox’s social API is designed to highlight social networking in Firefox by focusing on Facebook’s messaging system in particular. Essentially the API, called Facebook Messenger, adds a sidebar to Firefox that streams status updates, messages, and chat options. This will allow you to use Facebook functionality while staying on the Firefox site.
Facebook and Twitter API Integration
Because Twitter’s API is easiest to use, there are a number
of Twitter-based website features and apps.
By far, the most popular social APIs are those of Facebook and Twitter. Because Twitter’s API is easiest to use, there are a number of Twitter-based website features and apps. Facebook, on the other hand, has a full set of APIs that you can work with; or, if you just want a simple integration (like a “like” or “share” button), you can simply integrate on of their user-friendly widgets into your website.
Making the Most of Social API Integration
The best part of social API integration – or any API integration – is that it allows you to think creatively about how your website can adapt the functionality of the best social websites on the market, without reinventing the wheel. For example, FriendShuffle borrows from Twitter and Facebook with an app that “shuffles” through the links that a person’s Facebook and Twitter friends are sharing. The possibilities for adapting a social API to meet the needs of your own eCommerce marketing strategy are nearly endless.