If Facebook’s redesigned Timeline and News Feed has done anything for brands, it’s that it made apps much more noticeable. In March, the social network began allowing members to showcase stories from their favorite apps in dedicated collections on their Timelines and About pages. Now, Facebook is making it easier for developers to create custom stories and collections for their apps.
As a developer, it’s now possible to set up commonly used, or built-in, actions — such as watching a video or listening to music — without needing to configure it. Instead, you can select the action you want to include and the SDK your app uses, and Facebook will generate a code for each action type that you can paste in.
The social network has also simplified the tools it offers to help you create custom actions and object types. Now you can preview all of the stories your app can publish to News Feed. The new interface is much more user-friendly and should do a better job of guiding you through the process. It’s worth noting that all actions, including built-in ones, will need to be reviewed and approved by Facebook before going live.
To help you take better advantage of Timeline collections, you can now determine how they appear on an individual’s profile. Depending on the type of content your app shares, you’ll watch to select an appropriate layout — you can choose between lists, gallery, and map. The list template is good for collections that don’t have a strong visual element, unlike gallery, which is great for content that’s almost entirely visual. If you’re using gallery, your images must be at least 200×200 pixels. The map template is good for content where the items are location-based.
Keep in mind that not every app needs a collection. You should only create one when it provides enough additional value outside of global collections, and when actions in your app are supported by unique browseable content. For example, an action that indicates that a person has watched a movie is a good choice, as that movie is something you can link to.
And finally, Facebook has introduced an approval process for developers, ensuring that your app meets its quality guidelines. You can check the Review Status from within your dashboard, and other developers on your app will be alerted when submissions are made, approved, or returned for changes.
Although relatively small, backend changes, these should make it easier for you to integrate Open Graph with your app. As a result, your fans will be able to create more awareness for your brand and app through rich, engaging stories and collections.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.