As we’ve seen with the rollout of Timeline, Facebook is a constantly-evolving social platform that continues to change how brands can interact with users. When planning your social media initiatives, it’s smart to understand the full potential of this resource – which includes robust functionality and engagement via Facebook Open Graph.
What is Facebook Open Graph?
Open Graph is Facebook’s extension of a social graph, bringing people together by allowing them to share their activities and connecting users via common interests. In the beginning, Open Graph simply shared basic activities, such as when a friend liked a brand page or became friends with another user.
Now, however, this functionality has expanded to allow brands to create their own actions and objects for users to share. For example, if you have recipes, you can allow your users to cook (a custom action) a recipe (a custom object) and then share that to their own Timeline, their news feed and the ticker of their friends.
The beauty of this protocol is that it can be integrated in a brand’s Facebook page, but also within a brand’s website. This helps create a seamless, highly sharable experience for the user, which can then extend a brand’s reach online exponentially. For the purposes of this blog, though, I’ll focus on how to use Open Graph within Facebook. We’ll talk about using Open Graph to build a social website in a later post.
How do I use Open Graph for my brand?
If you’re looking to use Open Graph, I assume you already have a brand page with a cover photo, profile picture, photo album, a key milestone or two and a few likes.
From there, the next step is to develop a Facebook Open Graph application to target and engage your audience. The easiest way to do this is to create a Facebook application that uses the Open Graph API, also known as a canvas page or canvas game.
For Spectracide, we created a canvas game that allows users to view side-by-side photos and click on the differences between them for a chance to win prizes from the brand, from coupons to $20,000.
The canvas page (or game) has a fluid width for flexible design, and allows easy engagement via Facebook. With an Open Graph application, brands can post notifications, create bookmarks, update to users’ news feeds and post to users’ timelines (in the activity section). All of this engagement can be customized to your brand with messaging and images.
Why should my brand consider using Open Graph?
As a brand or business, you want to get as much information about the user to enhance your marketing data and allow you to further fine-tune how you communicate and engage with your demographic. To get this data, Facebook allows brands to access user information through your game or application, so you can customize the experience.
When your users engage with your brand on either a Facebook fan page or a custom built canvas game, it augments the overall experience with one of social connectivity. If you can get your audience to share that activity, your reach expands exponentially. When users played the Spectracide photo comparison game, they could post scores to their Timeline and news feeds, which then allowed the brand exposure to each user’s friends as well.
For more information on developing with Open Graph, Facebook’s developer blog is a helpful asset. This site is quite informational as well. If you’d rather leave it to the pros, contact us and we’ll help you formulate a plan and develop a game or application that delivers the results your brand needs.
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