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Social Media APIs
 
As I present information and attempt to educate visitors to my blog in regards to APIs, some will seem familiar while others will be new to many of you. The topic of this blog is social media APIs. In this post I will be talking specifically about Facebook and Twitter.
 
I’m sure many of you use Facebook and Twitter for many different reasons - both business and personal. Obviously, they are great devices to help users keep in touch with family and friends and clients (Facebook) or maybe you just enjoy the concept of a “microblog” (Twitter) because you are busy but want to know about new products from your favorite company or what controversial thing your favorite comedian/entertainer has to say today.
 
You are reading this not because you care about my opinions on social media, but rather, how you can use the services and potentially the apis (or widgets) they offer to help promote your website and business. That being said, I will first offer some ideas in regards to how you can use these platforms to drive traffic to your website (or cross promote your different social media accounts).
 
When working with clients, many still ask why they should have Facebook and Twitter links/icons on their website. These are valid questions and there are many answers but I usually keep it simple. Not only does having the icons/links on your site show that you are “in the loop” in regards to what is going on with technology/marketing/socializing, but it also helps legitimize your business and show that you are open to communicating with clients in whatever medium THEY prefer.
 
Outside of your site, you can use social media to help drive traffic and interest to your site. Use Facebook to connect with other people/businesses and create “groups” that relate to your particular business/industry. Then use Twitter as the “micro-blogging” device that it is: post industry news, new product release information, specials, promotions and/or other relevant (and of course valuable) information. These items are the teasers that you then use to link back to your website or other social media platforms (Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, etc.).
 
From a search engine standpoint, the more coverage you have outside of your site (and links back to your site) the better results you will have. Also, things like blogs force you to keep content current which also plays a part in improving your search engine rankings. Why would someone continually visit your site if the information never changes?
 
If you don’t have time to keep up with a dedicated blog, why not integrate a twitter feed widget API right into the homepage of your website? It’s simple to do and there is a limit to the amount of content you can “tweet” (140 characters) so therefore it isn’t a huge commitment to keep the content fresh. Here is how to do it:
 
  1. Login to Twitter
  2. On the left side under the twitter copyright, you’ll see a link for “Resources”, click this
  3. Select “Widgets” from the 3 options listed
  4. Select whether it will be used for your website or Facebook (I selected “My Website” for the purposes of this article)
  5. There are four different kinds to choose from but for most websites, I would recommend the “Profile Widget” as it feeds in your most recent Twitter updates.
  6. Go through each section and set your preferences, appearance, and dimensions then click the “Finish & Grab Code” button
  7. Copy this code (Ctrl C) then paste it (Ctrl V) into your website content/code (please contact our support team if you are not comfortable doing this last part or just email us the code and we can help you integrate it into your site!)
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