A Few Pointers On Facebook Open Graph Applications

Facebook's Open Graph offers new opportunities for viral marketing -- here are a few pointers on how to do that.

Facebook’s newest opportunity for viral marketing: Once users grant an Open Graph app or website persistent publishing permission, their activity is published to the tickers of friends and the user’s own timeline.

In Open Graph, developers choose a verb and a noun that are used in the published activity stories.

Along with publishing individual activity stories, Open Graph apps can publish reports, or summaries of a user’s activity.

Developers can choose between different report layouts and define what activity will be aggregated and how it will be sorted.

Marketers can use Open Graph apps to gain more users for their apps by publishing user activity stories and compelling reports that the friends of their users will want to click through.

The key to marketing through Open Graph apps is getting users to complete actions you can publish to the ticker and timeline, rather than explicitly completing a share dialog.

People visiting your Facebook page or website are probably already taking actions that you could publish.

Your goal now should be to figure out what these actions are and structure them into activity stories.

What do people do when they visit your Facebook page? A popular action is to write on your wall with messages of thanks, questions about your product, or customer service inquiries.

Each of these actions can become activity stories when you great a tab using Open Graph functionality.

Your app could provide different entry fields for the different common types of wall posts, and ask users for permission to publish an activity story whenever they enter text in one of these fields.

For example, if a user entered “How much does your product cost?” you could publish an activity story that says “Josh asked a question with Brand X’s Feedback App.”

Fundamentally, the introduction of Open Graph apps mean marketers need to get their users to give them persistent publishing permission and complete actions that can be automatically shared, rather than explicitly asking them to share individual actions.

Experiment to see which actions produce the most interesting activity stories and reports, and redesign your apps and sites to encourage these types of actions.

To read more, check out the Facebook Marketing Bible.