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5 things your TV show Facebook app needs

5 things your TV show Facebook app needs

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 at 9:30 am

Cody Barbierri

We have been seeing a lot of activity recently from entertainment companies looking to create unique and engaging consumer experiences on major social channels, like Facebook. Most notably, TV shows have been getting a lot of attention. The fans are already passionate and by confronting them on their digital turf, it can result in a flood of fresh attention and activity.

Outside of mobile apps (save that for a different post), we have been talking with a lot of companies about Facebook. Now, only a couple months ago, the way one would engage Facebook fans was very much different. Remember tabs? Simple iFrames? Well, no more and we are now faced with a more structured and strict format – the Facebook application.

The biggest difference with the Facebook application is the need to grant authorization by a user to use the app itself. Before, a user could come to your tab and be engaged in whatever activity you had presented. Now, since the tab is gone, users can come to a “canvas,” which hosts the Facebook application (still using an iFrame to pull it in), but has to authorize before any real action can occur. Subtle changes really, but when you’re dealing with consumers who have 7 second attention spans any added steps can be a deterrent and lead to high abandon rates.

To make the process of using a Facebook application as seamless as possible for users, we’ve provided you with 5 things to think about when creating and developing your app:

  1. User Experience comes first – Just like a website, you want the user to be able to get around without any issues. I’ve seen Facebook apps that make be scratch my head. They are so complex, whether with message hierarchy, interfaces and more, that I honestly just give up. Now, I think of myself as a pretty savvy guy when it comes to these things, so if I can’t figure out, forget about the average Joe or Jane.
  2. Don’t forget the design – Sometimes brands will focus so much on the app features and functions, they forget who they are designing for and where. Facebook is a very structured environment when it comes to how its users get around. So, remember that you have restrictions within the app itself, but also the canvas (if you plan on displaying it on your page). Keep the design simple, eye-catching and focus on driving the user to the call to action you’ve put in place.
  3. You can never QA enough – With so many different browsers and devices, quality assurance these days can feel like a full time job (oh wait, it is for some people). Once you think you have your app done, take another couple days to have as many people as you can bang around with it using browsers like Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. In addition, check out what those browsers look like on multiple screens and devices. Everything from an iPad, tablet and mini computer would be a good idea. Let’s face it, one bad experience for a consumer can result in social backlash, which is never good.
  4. Utilize key features – Facebook has set up some pretty great social features for any application. While this is more of a developers play, the features are good to know about when determining the apps functions. The two most important social features would be the ability to A) share the activities within the app seamlessly with the user’s networks and B) easily invite friends to join and try the app. Not earth shattering, but if you can think about these when developing the app, it can do wonders for how well it does with consumers.
  5. Support with advertising – Now, I’m not a huge fan of Facebook advertising. The reason being that I think they haven’t “figured” it out yet and thus the results are lacking. However, if you have a brand new shiny Facebook app launching and you want to drive a little extra attention, then I would suggest setting up some ads to support it. It can be a good way to get those first thousand or so users, who might not be the biggest fans, but can help socialize and gain some momentum for the others.

If you have anything else entertainment brands should think about when producing a TV show Facebook app, leave them in the comments below.