A Social Media Marketer’s Beginner Guide to API
As engagement season is coming to a close, your Insta feed is probably flooded with wedding hashtags. You’ve probably seen a prime example of how API works from your friend’s “I said yes to the dress at [insert bridal shop]!” post. With so many designers and dresses out there, how did she pick one? It went something like this:
The bride walked into the store and met a consultant. The consultant compiled for her a plethora of dresses from different designers based on her wants and needs. Once the bride and her mother started crying happy tears, the consultant jotted down the bride’s measurements and sent them to the designer to order the gown. Now, the designer’s team is working hard to create the bride’s dream dress. When finished, the designer will send the dress back to the shop and the consultant will hand over the gown to the bride. The bride and designer never meet, and they never have to because the consultant takes care of all the back-and-forth.
What does #DowntheAislewithKyle have to do with learning API and digital marketing? Everything.
Think of API as the bridal consultant— the go-between for companies like Instagram and Sprout Social, Facebook, and Hootsuite. When you are accessing data (like posting to Twitter) from a third party source (like the social media manager Sprout Social), you are relying on API.
API stands for Application Performance Interface. Application is the long way of saying app, performance means doing what you want the app to do, and interface is a fancy way of saying what you see when you do it (how the app interacts with you). Now that that’s out of the way, let’s discuss why all this matters to digital marketers in the first place.
Social media is a huge part of digital marketing, and it relies heavily on API. Automation, or the scheduling of posts so you don’t have to do it yourself every day, is one way organizations and agencies produce consistent postings to bolster their social media presence. One benefit of automation is that it protects the passwords of the individual social media accounts, making social media scheduling more secure, especially in a big agency. One drawback is that not every social media’s API is generous with what it allows third parties to do.
Going back to our bride (and assuming, for a moment, wedding gown alterations don’t exist), she may fall in love with a gown but wants to order it strapless instead of with the straps the sample came with. The designer may not like that, so he does not authorize the change. The bridal consultant then can’t do what the bride wants (order the gown without sleeves).
Until recently, Instagram’s API would not allow for third party services like Sprout Social and Hootsuite to schedule posts. This was very inconvenient for social media coordinators, but thanks to the switch from Instagram API to Instagram Graph API, digital marketers can now breathe a sigh of relief (don’t worry—Graph API is another type of API but it functions as a go-between like regular API).
That’s why, as digital marketers, we need to keep abreast of the world of API. It is constantly changing with updates that directly impact our workday.
Automation and working with various APIs is time consuming but integral to your social media marketing strategy. At Kraus Marketing, we know ins and outs of API and automation, and we’re equipped to help to a diverse range of companies. Contact us today to learn how we can help you strengthen your social media presence.