It is almost impossible to keep connectivity and social aspect out of any web app. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to add Facebook or Twitter share buttons to all apps or websites, but either in communication, marketing or as a part of the functionality it is imperative to enable connectivity for users of your app.
There are many ways to integrate social connectivity to your app. For Facebook, you need to make a decision if you want to create a Facebook Fan page and manage all the communication under the Facebook eco-system, or would you like to integrate your web pages as part of Facebook and create social graph objects of your website which is searchable on Facebook.
Integrating your website has many advantages obviously because you can generate organic traffic by referrals, and likes on the Facebook, however it is still not as stable as having a Facebook fan page and manage all the communication on a separate page.
Creating a fan page is very simple does not require any technical expertise, just visit create a fan page and follow the instructions to get up and running quickly. Here is one example of a Fan Page that I helped my wife to manage. The key to get fans are always engage with people – and even before then have a brilliant product or service, something people would love to talk about.
Another way of engaging people is to do it on your website itself, without sending people to a Facebook page. Many companies started doing this and it is what we decided to do on this wedding photography website. You can add comments, activities, likes, even Facebook user authentication on your website with snippets of codes.
In either case, first you need to set your goal and make sure that you are clear what you want your users to do. With connectivity you can accomplish many things, including word of mouth (share, like, etc), getting valuable feedback (starting two way conversation), let your other visitors see who is interested with this website or app, connect people who have a similar passion (either be photography, or art or a product), or sometimes just to promote your services and products. But sometimes, it is neither of the above, like in the case of Mint.com; personal finances are one of the most confidential business as you would agree, but mint.com uses connectivity in two brilliant ways, first by providing aggregate user statistics, such as how much people would spend in Publix in Miami so I can compare my spending, or a better example would be the comparison of auto insurance. That’s also part of the connectivity but the information is very beneficial to the user (it is in human nature to compare yourself with all others and justify the amount you spend) plus the anonymity keeps the relationship confident and trusted. The second way mint uses the connectivity is the Facebook posts. Once you like mint on Facebook, you start getting posts consistently, and I have to admit they are doing a great job engaging their thousands of fans by asking questions, using GAP theory – a powerful technique described in Made to Stick and promoting two way communication while also educating their fans about their new features in the meantime.