Social must be a value add and not just be a tick in the box. With Facebook’s latest Social Graph SDK and similar enablers from Google and Twitter social can be a true value add to a service. Some great examples of this are
- Nike+ Running – See how you stack up against your friends
- Opentable – Lets users share the menu, invite friends and more
- Starbucks – My friends’ drinks
Here are 5 key tips for you to succeed with social in mobile apps:
1.Understand mobile sharing behavior
Identify the natural social and sharing behavior of the content on a mobile device (showing it to a friend, talking about it on Facebook, taking a photo of something fun or beautiful etc). Identify the key use cases for sharing and go through the user journey in detail before you start developing.
Implement social and sharing as an embedded part of the service and NOT as tag-on “Share via Facebook” or “What your friends on Facebook are doing”. Go back the understanding of user behavior and use this as a blueprint. As an example instead of sharing a link to a movie from a cinema service, the user can ask their friends to vote for which movie they want to go and see.
3.Transparency & Privacy
Be transparent about how the content will be shared, what an invitation looks like for a friend, data privacy, etc. No one wants to be seen as spamming their friends. Also, if you require registration or social sign-in for your service then be clear what the benefits are for the user and offer options.
Most users are content consumers and not creators. Less than 10% are usually creators of user generated content. Ensure that consumers can also engage with minimum effort. Examples of this is voting, polls, likes and ratings.
As long as you have content of value, e.g. latest results from NHL, results from a poll, a relevant news update, etc you can have an ongoing conversation with the user. Make sure you have a great content roadmap from the start with frequent updates and a high relevancy.
These are just some basic tips to help you get started. To step it up another notch we recommend doing a complete use case analysis on the sharing scenarios, interaction with friends and the value add of social for your application.