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Facebook to App Developers: Don't Make Social an Afterthought

Facebook to App Developers: Don't Make Social an Afterthought
Image credit: Shutterstock

Whether you’re building a travel app or the next Candy Crush, your app’s social strategy is likely what will make or break you when it comes to sales. At the center of all things social when it comes to apps is Facebook Platform.

Facebook powers more than 850 million app log-ins per month, and is enhancing growth for a number of app companies. For instance, Runkeeper users who log-in to Facebook are 70 percent more likely to track their runs with the app than those who don’t, and Facebook-connected SongPop users spend 35 percent more time in the app on average than their non-connected counterparts.

Developers know that implementing a social strategy is important, but one of the biggest mistakes they make is not thinking through that strategy before implementing it.

“A lot of times when people build a website or an app, they don’t really think about it, and then at the last second they think ‘Let’s just slap on Facebook’ and they add social,” says Deborah Liu, director of product management and platform monetization at Facebook.

“People kind of feel like they need to add it there someplace. It’s a check box, and you see that afterthought thinking in the design. As a result, users are kind of confused on what they’re supposed to do.”

Related: Business Still Not on Facebook? Get Up to Speed With These 4 Steps.

Liu says that when developers don’t think through where they’re putting buttons and implementing social functions, users can in turn be put off with the entire experience. A moment of hesitation within an app takes a user out of the moment, and could potentially make him or her abandon a purchase or share, simply because they aren’t quite sure what will happen.

When you’re building a new app, Liu suggests thinking about the big picture and determining what benefit you’re hoping to give your users or yourself by adding a social component.

“Really think through what kind of app you’re trying to build, and what kind of user experience,” she says. “A lot of people really need to figure out where Facebook belongs in their app.”

Things like where you put a share or a log-in button are important, and can ultimately determine how or if your users interact with it.

“Really think about how to give users such a delightful experience that paying is actually something that they’re excited about, and they’re excited about the value they’re getting,” says Liu.

Users who enjoy your app and mobile experience are much more likely to purchase things through it, ultimately giving your company more money to fuel your growth and your company’s future.

Related: Facebook Is More Addictive and Widely Used Than Ever

Emily Price is a tech reporter based in San Francisco, Calif. She specializes in mobile technology, social media, apps, and startups. Her work has appeared in a number of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, PC World, Macworld, CNN and Mashable.

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