9 Spectacular Social APIs

Like it or not, the Web is an increasingly social place, and in order to successfully market a brand and reach out to consumers, utilizing the various social media resources at your disposal is quickly becoming an essential part of running a website.

Fortunately, developers have access to a number of social media application programming interfaces (APIs) that can help them integrate the services of major social media services into their websites or applications. This is particularly beneficial for content providers, marketers or even ecommerce companies that may have share-worthy content or products. 

So, if you're looking to improve your website's digital social life, maybe it's time to consider one (or more) of these nine spectacular social APIs.

Facebook Graph API
As the biggest name in social media, it only seems right that you should try to incorporate as much Facebook data into your social endeavors as possible. The Graph API is the primary way that data is retrieved or posted to the social network. This API makes it easy to connect with users on your website or application and offer them a more personalized experience, as well as the ability to Like and share pages on your site or app. It can also provide site registration features and a Facebook-based commenting system.

Twitter Embedded Tweets
Using this particular API, you can take any tweet from your Twitter account and, as the name states, embed it directly into the content of your website, or a page on your website. Moreover, the tweets will display with expanded media (e.g. photos, videos, articles summaries, etc.) and real-time retweet and favorite counts. Plus, when the tweets are embedded, they will become interactive on the Web page, allowing visitors to follow the author, reply, retweet or favorite them without ever leaving the page.

Bitly Social Data APIs
One of the most popular ways to share content on social networks (especially Twitter) is by using a link-shortening service, such as Bitly, which is wildly popular with a number of Web users. In fact, millions of people shorten, share and click on Bitly links every day, and that can be a lot of information to keep track of. That's why the company released the Bitly Social Data APIs, which provide direct access to the best available content that has been shared by users across various social networks.

YouTube Data API
With this API, developers can build a program that performs many of the operations available on YouTube.com, including the ability to search for videos, retrieve standard feeds, view related content, authenticate users to upload videos, modify playlists and much more to allow sites or apps to create deep integrations with YouTube and its content.

Yelp API
The API from the local search and online review service lets users add functionality to their app or website that will help users find up to the 40 best results for geographic searches, sort the results by the best query, rating or distance match, limit the results to only businesses offering Yelp Deals, and identify whether or not a business has been claimed on Yelp already. This allows developers to give users a full Yelp experience without have to visit Yelp.com.

Flickr API
Images and social media seem to go hand-in-hand these days, and with more than 5 billion hosted photos, Flickr is one of the leading image services on the Web today. All of those pictures, and the Flickr community around them, create a lot of rich data, which is now accessible to developers through the Flickr API. Developers can use the API to organize, store and display their digital images, and even integrate them with other social apps. Plus, the API allows them to converse, share and curate their content with others.

Google+ API
Thought it may not have the name brand recognition of Facebook or Twitter, Google+ is still an incredibly useful social network in some circles (get it?). If you're looking to tap into those clusters of users, you can integrate the Google+ API into your app or website, which allows users to connect with one another for "maximum engagement" and use Google+ features directly from your site or app.

Ning API
Ning is a small platform upon which users can build their own niche social networks, and many brands have turned to Ning to create social networks specifically for their companies. For those who have used Ning to establish their own curated networks, they can utilize the Ning API to take advantage of all of the data that it creates.

foursquare API
The popular check-in based social media service foursquare was a major factor in the rise of geo-location-based marketing. As such, it has compiled a hearty amount of data from its mobile applications. This API gives developers access to all of that information so that they can display public check-ins on their websites, allow users to check in from their apps or websites, aggregate data from similar locations to identify their target audiences and much more.