We often see apps offering users the option of signing in using their social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. There are many apps which have extended this functionality to allow cross-posting on these social networking sites directly from within the apps. And then, there are some apps like Tinder, which also tie in the features of the social media sites into their app by showing mutual interests. This integration of social media sites into standalone apps makes you go “what gives?”.
Well, while you were unaware, a new paradigm had been unfolding. Integration is the buzz word of today. Apps, on their own, can be boring piece of software. Only when they are integrated with social media are they able to unleash their true power. This trend of social media integration in apps has just picked up, and there is no denying that it has been a game-changer . The following are some concrete and compelling reasons why all apps should possess such integration:

1. Improved Functionality

A simple social media integration within an app can enhance the app’s functionality. The two prominent examples of this are the mobile apps Instagram and Tinder. They have redefined the way social media networks can be utilised. Instagram and Tinder have social media platforms integrated seamlessly in their setup. Instagram has accomplished this by allowing users to not only login through their Facebook account but also giving them the freedom of sharing their Instagram-filtered images on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and Flickr.

Instagram app Facebook login

Facebook login in Instagram

Instagram social media sharing capability
Social media sharing feature in Instagram
Tinder, on the other hand, has gone further. When users login through their Facebook on Tinder, the dating app manages to pull data from Facebook and shows mutual interests as well as mutual friends for the matches.
Shared interests in Tinder through Facebook integration
‘Shared interests’ functionality made possible by Facebook integration
All these functionalities markedly improve the competency of the app while also enhancing the overall user experience.
Apart from this, social media integration can also enable other features in an app such as adding products to a wish list, marking likes and favourites, and recommending products to other users. Subsequently, the users can find the popular items on the home screen of the app, and on social networking sites they can see the recommendations made by someone they are following. This, eventually adds credibility to the products which becomes a strong enough incentive for users to purchase the favorited items.

2. In-app Social Sharing

By integrating social media platforms in an app, it is possible to enable in-app social sharing. This involves seamlessly integrating the social feeds directly into an app. For example, an business app can have its Facebook page feeds, Twitter account feeds or for that matter its LinkedIn page placed inside the app which would enable the users to know about an event that it has organised, get updates on the event and also interact with other participants without leaving the app. Doing this, first and foremost, provides convenience to attendees. Secondly, it makes the app the home base for communication by including social media content pertaining to the business, in turn, also avoiding the loss of traffic to native social networking apps. Thus, it promotes the adoption of the app.

3. Ease of Access

Since most people have a Facebook or a Twitter account these days, an app which allows users to login through Facebook provides easy access to their app. Otherwise, depending on the number of forms and fields, a user has to sign up, then activate the account only after which he or she can use the app. A social login for an app essentially cuts down the steps to only 2 (just 1 if you are already logged in to the social networking site): signing into to Facebook and confirming access to your Facebook details. This ease of access through Facebook integration is particular useful in the case of e-commerce app where users often balk at the thought of creating an account for purchasing items present in their cart. A social login enables new customers to sign up to a retail site and start shopping immediately without creating a new account.

4. Increased Downloads

If social media sites are better intertwined with an app, it is highly likely that people will stumble upon the app’s download link while browsing their social media feed. This will definitely drive them to download the app, in turn leading to user onboarding and eventually higher member conversions. People who sign up also get to see the purchases made by their friends and other people. This kind of validation can prove to be the necessary push for people to purchase products from the app.
It is a known fact that people are looking for quick fix in these fast times. So, if the potential customers shop online then the lengthy process of sign up involving verification can be a big deterrent. As a result, they are bound to look for the similar product elsewhere even it is priced slightly higher to save them themselves time and hassles. A social media login can speed up the process of login through the social sites, giving an impetus to the overall sales.

5. Higher Usage

Since signing up and logging in for the app is made simpler and faster, more people are likely to use the app. Thus, the app is unlikely to endure an inactive existence on their smartphones after it has been installed.
Most of the social media sites have feeds which are constantly updated. So, people get to see what others do continuously, which, in turn, also influences their actions and behaviour. Since users keep up to date with the activities of their friends, the app stands to get more visits, resulting in higher usage.

6. Enhanced Exposure and Visibility

Based on the latest data, there are around 2.03 billion active social media users in the world, of which there are 1320 million Facebook users alone. And after the grand success of Facebook, several other social media platforms like Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram have made it big in the social media sphere. People are influenced by what others do and what they see on these website. Such a huge influence shapes the perception of the public.
There is no denying that social media is everywhere these days. It can be said that it has taken over the web and made it its own, such is the commanding presence of social media. With such an overwhelming percentage of online traffic attributed to social media sites, it would be a crime to ignore them when it comes to such a rapidly-evolving domain as mobile apps. An integration of an app with social media sites allows users to share their app activities on them. This dramatically boosts the visibility of the app by catering to a large user base. Moreover, since social media sites are high-action places with significantly greater amount of clicks, they bring a higher return on the total number of visitors.
How it works? Well, it’s simple: if I download an app, and share my achievements from the app on Facebook, my family, friends and acquaintances will know about it. This new audience would have never known about the app, had I not share it with them (unless of course, if you are running a mass marketing campaign, which can cost a lot of money). Essentially, you manage to make your app reach the segments that would have otherwise been left unaccounted for through the help of app developers.

7. Improved Chances of App’s Virality and Popularity

If social media media sites are epicentre of online activity, they are no less a hotbed of virality. Social media sites encourage collaboration, interaction and dialogue  between hundreds and thousands of users. So, more often than not, if one user picks up something, it likely catches on with others. Consequently, an app is more likely to achieve popularity and/or virality through a medium like social media.
These social platforms are the best for announcing the launch of new products, exciting new deals or offers. A viral campaign on any social platform can be a huge boost for an app. Not only that, they can fetch exceptional returns as compared to a mass marketing campaign. Achieving this level of virality is only possible through social media sites because they are the breeding ground for trends and they give more focus to photos and videos which are the two main sources of virality.

8. New Revenue/Sales Medium

A tight integration between social media and app helps not just with getting more eyeballs, it is also provides a way to add some more sales and revenue channels to your existing channel. If the app is paid, all updates regarding the app on a site like Facebook ultimately lead to downloads, making it a sales channel. If an app is about e-commerce then the publicity of the items on social media sites through social sharing results in revenues from the sales of the items.

9. Obtain Important Analytics Data

Social media integration in an app can also lead to you to some interesting and useful data regarding the behaviour patterns of users. The sharing patterns of users on social media sites can provide information regarding the likes, dislikes, frequency of their activities, as well as their peak activity time. This analytics data can in turn help a business mould its strategies to yield better results.

10. Improved Forecast  and Suggestions

The users social login data and their sharing patterns can provide a comprehensive social graph of the users, which can further be used for conducting market research, gathering customer details, identifying target groups and optimising promotional campaigns. Algorithms that track a customer’s purchases on an e-commerce app and integrate that data with their social data like friends, location, activities, interests etc, can more accurately predict what the user is likely to buy in the future, and make recommendations accordingly. This makes it possible for e-commerce apps to recommend products bought by their acquaintances or by users that are nearby and items which might interest them, creating a powerful social incentive to buy.

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