Back in May, Facebook launched a platform that allowed developers to tap into the Facebook hub itself. The Facebook Platform is a set of resources and tools that enables rapid development of applications for Facebook users. It’s proven wildly popular, and companies are leveraging it to gain thousands if not millions of new visitors to their websites. If you are interested in leveraging the 12th most popular website on the Internet (according to Alexa), here is how you can develop a good Facebook App:
Target your audience
Although many think Facebook is filled with teenagers, it is actually open to people of all ages. It may not seem that way, but Facebook has millions of members, and even though older people make up a small percentage of the user base, they still make up a big number. Before you build an application for Facebook, you need to determine which demographic you want to go after and create something that appeals to them.
The best way to get an application popular on Facebook is not to spend thousands of dollars marketing it but rather to create something that is viral. If you can create something that others want to send to their Facebook friends, then you’ll have an application that will be used by millions of people. One good example of this is an application called Zombies, where your goal is to bite as many as your friends and turn them into a Zombie.
For someone to use your Facebook application they need to get something out of it. This could be as simple as entertainment or it could be as unique as learning something new. When building an application, don’t just think about how it will benefit you, but instead think about what value you can provide to the user.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
A fatal flaw that I have noticed with some Facebook applications is that they are too complicated. If it takes too much effort to fully utilize an application then don’t expect too many people to use it. One of the main reasons why applications such as iLike are so popular is because the concept—leting you add music to your profile and find your favorite concerts—is simple.
Keep an objective in mind
You can build a great Facebook application that is used by millions of people, but if it doesn’t help you with your business, what’s the point? You can leverage Facebook for branding purposes like Zombies did for RockYou, or you can leverage Facebook as Shelfari used Facebook to increase book sales. Whatever your main objective is, keep that in mind when building an application or else you’ll come out with an application that doesn’t help with your bottom line.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.