Application Programming Interface is referred to as API. It is one of the most powerful features of a social media network. API allows us to take advantage of its vast data capability and include functionality and content to a website. The most devoted users of API’s service are Flickr, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites. API is essential because a professional developer or social media marketing company can completely rely on social APIs to increase the reach of any application. We shall have a close look at what API actually is and how beneficial it is for social media networking in the article below.
An Overview of Application Programming Interface (API)
API is a crucial concept used in software technology which operates with the agreement of both outputs and inputs. It shows how various applications interact and obtain information from one another. There are two types of APIs, namely public API and private API.
Types of APIs
Public APIs are issued by companies like Shopify and Slack, hoping that the developers will use them to create their platforms. You can achieve specific outputs with the set of inputs these companies share. If you are looking for a public API, you need not submit your app to gain approval, as it is possible to access them without hassle. Private APIs are used within a company. When a company has various software products, a private API helps the software communicate effectively with the other. The APIs components are liable to change with the company’s choice, but the change in the public API will cause any outcry.
Relation Between API & Social Media Marketing
All the major social media networks will have APIs. You can build on the APIs to improve the experience, but you cannot sell them as your own software by duplicating the company’s core service.
Using API has benefits and limitations and if you are using a social media management platform like Sprout Social, you will be allowed to like and comment on the posts on behalf of your account. The benefit of building software on social media API is that you will be able to view various accounts at the same time. However, APIs also limit what you can perform. A classic example of this is that you cannot let Instagram post on your behalf when you are sleeping unless you use a tool like Sprout Social.
A Brief Summary on Social Networks & Their APIs
Social media networks have APIs on their own. A developer can use them to build a new apps of software for scheduling social media posts. You cannot copy and resell the APIs, but you can always improve and integrate them into an app and improve the user experience.
Examples of tools which use APIs for social media are hashtag research tools like Kicksta and HashtagIQ that track the hashtag across various networks. Whereas advanced tools like Sprout Social and Hootsuite use the social listening API to track social mentions and ad performances. Let us discuss a few popular social networks and learn how APIs help them.
Facebook & Instagram
The API of Facebook and Instagram are available for business accounts, manage the content and also does:
- Logging in
- Posting with videos and images
- Replying to comments
- Finding hashtags
- Accessing post metrics, analytics and insights
In Twitter, the API gives access to direct messages, tweets, lists, spaces, users, etc. A developer will be able to integrate the API and allow users to post on Twitter from your app. Although this API is free, it has a few limitations. The major limitation is that the third-party developers and apps have to go through a strict approval process.
The API of Ayrshare permits businesses to publish content to various social profiles like Instagram, Facebook pages and groups, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Reddit, GoogleMyBusiness, Telegram and TikTok.
Advantages & Risks of Using a Social Media API for Developers
Social media APIs allow developers to select the most useful API and add new features to the website. This is greatly beneficial to a developer as the social media API saves considerable time by working fast. APIs reduce the fragmentation across the system of interconnected platforms and apps.
API Use Cases for Social Media Marketers
The three major use cases are elaborated on here.
1. Use Case 1 is the extensive Social Media Marketing Streamlining
It is quite challenging to manage a brand account on various platforms. When you are working for an organization, you will have to enable the tools to engage with the platforms and perform with various brands. One can publish content, interact with users, and monitor accounts all in a single dashboard. You will be able to streamline your every day tasks and schedule the posts in advance. The API functionality allows you to take part in various social media marketing operations in a single app in an organised manner. Most importantly, it helps you focus on task accomplishment and effective analysis, while successfully streamlining overall team functions.
2. Use Case 2 is the Growth Analytics and Performance
If you were working with social media before the advent of APIs, you would have tracked the account’s growth, recorded metrics, stored, organised and calculated them manually. APIs can automatically perform all these mentioned tasks in a jiffy. You will be able to examine the metrics, access them and have all the information organized. The unique feature of API is that your reports are sent directly to your mail id. This provides great convenience and aids further automation. It lets you view:
- The hours showing highest audience activity
- The top performing content.
- The overall performance and analyse of whether they meet goals as per the KPIs.
3. Use Case 3 is the Broader Insight Gathering and Competitor Analysis
APIs allow applications to gather information about competitors. If you provide the details about your competitors, APIs will offer the current and past information on their activities and performances. Beyond this, the power of an API is that it provides a better image of the social media for an industry or brand. This function will continuously monitor how a user feels about the brand’s service and product. APIs also evaluate the audience sentiment towards different topics related to the brand and enables social networks to contribute this information with third-party tools, making it easily delivered to you.
Risks Involved in Using Social Media APIs
Tapping into a social media API is not a cakewalk. It has numerous risks, and utilising an API simply means that there is a little risk involved. Keep reading to know the facts on what you should consider before making social media a significant part of your website.
- A few APIs are free of cost. But if you need privacy, you will have to pay for it. Although the information can discover user preferences and serve relevant ads, other companies may access it. A major risk is that it is also possible to sell it to anyone ready to purchase.
- Maintaining a website’s performance is a challenging task and if integrated, the site with APIs of third-party, there are a lot of chances for the website to perform slowly.
- Huge social media firms make significant changes to their own APIs. If you do not adjust the code or use an updated plugin, you might risk losing the functionality.
Most marketers find it hard to understand as the APIs are technical. With a bit of knowledge of how the social media APIs work, you will be able to empower marketers and social media users to plan better content. Connect with DS Webdesign, the best social media marketing company in Chennai, offering a wide spectrum of services with a team of highly skilled web designers. We will be able to help you with any type of social media marketing and drive more traffic to your website.
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