Top 10 Social Media APIs for Developers

Here’s the scenario: you’ve been tasked with sending scheduled posts to various social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google My Business, or even newer ones like Telegram, Discord, TikTok, or Reddit from your platform on behalf of your users.

Developing the front-end functionality to share to these networks is easy, and there are a dozen packages/plugins for WordPress, React, or Javascript. However, if you need to share content from your server-side system that means you must have an approved app at each social network, integrate with the unique APIs, and maintain the system when the networks change their process or rules.

top 10 apis

Top 10 12 Social Media Network APIs

Originally we reviewed the top 10 social media APIs, but we have increased this number to 12.

Building Ayrshare’s Social API wasn’t easy and we found it took a lot of leg-work to find details on the various social media APIs, so we decided to share what we found. You can also check out our API docs to see what is possible with the various social networks.

In the following section are the top social networks, links to their APIs, guides, and process. The social APIs can be called directly as RESTful endpoints or search for a well-regarded wrapper/SDK for the API in the language of your choice. Most of the APIs use OAuth2 for authentication.

For each API we gave an implementation rating of Hard, Medium, or Easy.

Discord

Discord describes themselves as a “place to hang out”. You can create topic-based channels, do video chats, and more. Originally, Discord was a place for gamers to hang out, but over the past several years they have become a popular social media destination for all types of people. You’ll even see companies using Discord as their customer-facing chat or internal communication tool.

  • Discord API
  • Implementation Rating: MEDIUM – straightforward OAuth with a nice developer GUI, and wrapper packages.
  • Requires registration: Yes
  • Requires app approval: Yes

Insights

  • You must register an app to get your client id and secret key, but the process is quick and easy.
  • You then need to register a Bot. Please see the guide for scope permissions and authorization code. Required bots (see Telegram API below), typically make the integration flow a little more difficult, but it certainly is manageable.

Other guides or packages 


Instagram

Instagram is the go to place for images and videos, with well over 2 Billion monthly users, and it is our most popular social network. The Instagram Publishing Content API is relatively new, a bit unstable, and missing a few features. The process for Instagram approval is similar to Facebook, so please also see the Facebook API section below.

  • Instagram API
  • Implementation Rating: HARD – The Instagram/Facebook docs are sometimes confusing and examples hard to find, especially if you use a language other than PHP such as Python. However, what makes the implementation hard is the Facebook approval. You need to build out the entire integration in development, make sure you have the right requested permissions, and submit videos and explanations on why you need each permission. The process can be long and arduous, and if you need an additional permission, you need to start the process all over again.
  • Requires registration: Yes
  • Requires app approval: Yes. You must request the exact Instagram permissions your app requires and go through the Facebook approval process.

Insights

  • In 2021 Instagram opened their social API for content publishing, meaning you can now post images and videos, get analytics, and even setup webhooks. And recently, they introduced carousel posting of up to 10 images and videos.
  • Since the API is new, it is not as mature or capable as the Facebook API. For example, there are several limitations:
    • Instagram Creator accounts are not supported. This means you or your users, if you post on their behalf, must be a business account. Luckily, upgrading to an Instagram business account is free.
    • Accounts are limited to 25 API-published posts within a 24 hour period.
    • JPEG is the only image format supported.
    • Stories are not supported.
    • Shopping tags are not supported.
    • Branded content tags are not supported.
    • Filters are not supported.
    • Publishing to Instagram TV is not supported.
  • Instagram has regularly been updating the API, so some of these limitations might go away in future releases.
  • Uploading images and videos is a multi-step process via the API, where you need to create the content or container, check if the media has been processed, and then do your actual content posting with the creation ID from the previous step.
  • As with all social networks, you need to stay in compliance with the rules, such as not using banned hashtags.

Other guides or packages 


Facebook

Facebook is a must for any social integration with their unparalleled global reach. They have one of the oldest and fully featured social media APIs.

  • Facebook Graph API
  • Implementation Rating: HARD – API large and sometimes complex, documentation decent and examples are either cURL or PHP, and need to create a video or screencast to be approved.
  • Requires registration: Yes
  • Requires app approval: Yes

Insights

  • You need to register your app, and if for commercial purposes, register your business. This includes verifying your legal entity and address. A lot of the Facebook process and requirements are similar to releasing an app to the Apple store.
  • Scope permissions are extremely important and don’t be surprised if you get them wrong during the first few builds.
  • The API documentation is large and confusing at times, but if you spend the time learning it you’ll find the information you need.
  • We didn’t find any good packages that wrap the API calls, so we used direct RESTful calls.
  • You can get a permanent access token, called long lived tokens. However, it requires a few extra calls.
  • You can only post to Facebook Pages. Posting to a Personal Facebook feed was removed a few years ago.
  • The Facebook approval process for scope permissions is the most rigorous of any network. You need to write up testing steps, submit a video, and detail your reasoning for needing the permissions. We’ve been rejected a few times because our video missed a step in our instructions. Also, every new permission requires starting the processes over again.
  • Unfortunately, Stories and Reels can not be shared on Facebook yet.
  • You’ll need to chunk videos to post. This creates a cumbersome process.

Other guides or packages


LinkedIn

LinkedIn is where professionals hang out. If you users’ target audience are business, SaaS, or corporations, they’ll want to post to LinkedIn.

  • LinkedIn API
  • Implementation Rating: HARD – Documentation all over the place and mixing v1 and v2 examples. A long and confusing approval process if want to post to Pages.
  • Requires registration: Yes
  • Requires app approval: Yes

Insights

  • LinkedIn’s API documentation is sufficient, but don’t get confused with v1 and v2. If you search in Google you sometimes get v1 docs, which you don’t want.
  • Scopes are important for LinkedIn and have different approval workflows. We unfortunately never found a single document detailing the scope, but went through all the endpoints to see what they need.
  • Access tokens last 60 days, so you’ll need to refresh after that. This will take extra coding to manage the keys.
  • If you only need to post to a user’s own feed, just request permissions to SignI n with LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Signin
  • If you need to post to a company page, you’ll need to request access to the Marketing Developer API. You’ll need to fill out a form and wait for approval. Two important scopes to include to read and publish to corporate pages are: w_organization_social rw_organization_admin.
LinkedIn Marketing
  • We used the direct RESTful endpoints since we didn’t find any wrapper packages we liked.
  • Analytics data is only available for Company Pages and not personal LinkedIn accounts.

Other guides or packages 


Medium

A modern blog platform that was very popular. However, they have struggled with their business model and created a paywall for content, causing a lot of larger publishers to flee.

  • API
  • Implementation Rating: Unknown – We have not implemented Medium, but all indications point to it being easy.
  • Requires registration: Yes
  • Requires app approval: Yes, and must email Medium to request access: [email protected]

Insights

  • You must email the address above asking for permissions. Keep checking your Medium account -> settings -> developers for the ability to create a new app. Create your app and get your client id and secret key.
  • Getting your API key is pretty simple.
  • Medium seems to have removed new API access, but you can still try to email the above address to ask, nicely, for permissions.

Other guides or packages 


Pinterest

Known to be the “visual discovery engine for finding ideas like recipes, home and style inspiration, and more”. You create Pins that can be added to Boards.

  • Pinterest API
  • Implementation Rating: Easy – Pinterest has introduced V5 of their API, currently in Beta. It is continually being updated, so look for new features.
  • Requires registration: Yes
  • Requires app approval: Yes and new applications are being processed quickly.

Insights

  • Pinterest has a new API, version 5, and you must apply for access. You’ll start with”trial” access with 1000 calls a day and posts only visible to the creator. You can apply for standard access with posted Pins available to everyone.
  • The Pinterest API docs are well organized, and because the API is simple, it is quick to implement.
  • Some features, such as uploading a video, are poorly documented and need a lot of experimentation to get right.

Other guides or packages 


Reddit

What isn’t on Reddit? There is a “subreddit” for every topic from stock picks, to yoga, to video games where users discuss and moderators monitor the discussion.

  • Reddit API
  • Implementation Rating: EASY – while you need to call the APIs directly and the API documentation is auto-generated, and it is a mess. However, the endpoint calls are very simple and straightforward.
  • Requires registration: Yes
  • Requires app approval: Yes, only if for commercial use.

Insights

  • Reddit’s API docs are auto-generated and a mess. The information is there, but it will take you a while to get a handle on them. We suggest checking out the subreddit on development (see other guides section).
  • Reddit requires you register your app to get the API keys and to complete a Google form for approval if your app is commercial. Don’t forget to do this.
  • Subreddit’s have different rules, so don’t blindly post to them or you/your user will be banned. To test your implementation post to the /test subreddit.
  • The other networks allow you to get long-lived or permanent access tokens. Reddit’s access token only lasts 1 hours. You can refresh the token even after expiration and some of the wrappers help manage this.
  • There are some really great looking wrapper packages. Go to the /redditdev subreddit and see the drop down for packages. However, we still preferred to go directly with the API calls.

Other guides or packages 


Telegram

A messenger app that has expanded to allow group chats or channels which are Twitter-like feeds.

  • Telegram API
  • Implementation Rating: MEDIUM – A breeze once you know what you’re doing. The process, calls, and documentation are excellent, but the workflow is different/difficult compared with other social networks.
  • Requires registration: Yes
  • Requires app approval: Yes, and you’ll need to create a bot.

Insights

  • You must register your bot with BotFather via Telegram. All the setup is via Telegram, such as setting your image, description, and registering.
  • We found the documentation and API endpoints the easiest to use of any network. It was our quickest integration.
  • Unlike other networks that offer a front-end user authorization workflow, such as Facebook, Telegram requires the user to authorize your bot in their group or channel. A few extra steps for the user, but with proper instructions, very manageable.
  • Telegram offers a nice set of Webhooks that update you whenever a new chat comes in.

Other guides or packages 


TikTok

TikTok has risen to the top of the social networks. Users post short-form videos – like a small YouTube – with music or filters.

  • TikTok API
  • Implementation Rating: HARD – The API docs, while short, have mistakes or missing information. This makes TikTok implementation difficult.
  • Requires registration: Yes
  • Requires app approval: Yes

Insights

  • TikTok recently introduced a server-side integration for their social API. Uploading a video is straight-forward, but unlike other social networks, requires the user to open their TikTok mobile app and complete several steps to post the video.
  • Because the user needs to manually process the video, the status and even video ID are not returned immediately. You must register a webhook to receive the asynchronous status update of upload success or failed.
  • Analytics are also lack-luster and it is difficult to tie a post video to individual analytics.

Other guides or packages


Tumblr

Once a hot message board, Tumblr has run into issues with all the many changes in ownership. However, it is still widely popular with some users.

  • Tumblr API
  • Implementation Rating: Unknown – We have not completed the implementation, but all indications point to easy.
  • Requires registration: Yes
  • Requires app approval: Yes

Insights

  • You must register your app with Tumblr. The process is quick with immediate approval.

Other guides or packages 


Twitter

One of the first social networks, Twitter is another must have. With their social API, you can post Tweets with images and videos, create a Twitter Thread, and get some of the most detailed analytics on your users or even brands.

  • Twitter API
  • Implementation Rating: MEDIUM – if use a package such as twitter-lite, otherwise Hard. Documentation weak with poor examples.
  • Requires registration: Yes
  • Requires app approval: Yes

Insights

  • Check out our article on the top 7 tips and trick for Twitter API posting.
  • Twitter requires registering your app as a new project (using their new Developer interface). Approval takes a few days, and although we were supposed to get an approval email we never did.
  • The API’s examples could be a bit more detailed. Fortunately the Twitter API is not complex. We found some great Twitter API wrappers, so we suggest using one of those. See packages below.
  • You can get a permanent access token. This greatly simplifies your token management.
  • The new Twitter developer site no longer allows localhost in their approved callback URLs, so you’ll need to use ngrok or an equivalent tunnel to test locally.
  • Twitter’s new version 2.0 API has simplified many aspects of the API, but to use version 1 for post or status/updates.

Other guides or packages 


YouTube

If your users create videos, they will demand a YouTube integration. YouTube’s API allows the scheduling of videos, creating YouTube shorts, and some amazing analytics.

  • YouTube API
  • Implementation Rating: MEDIUM – YouTube has one of the most in-depth audits. Expect to create numerous screencasts, answer questions, and fill out forms.
  • Requires registration: Yes
  • Requires app approval: Yes

Insights

  • YouTube certainly makes you go through the steps to see how you’ll be using their API. We had to create videos, detailed explanations on how we will use the scopes, and make sure we aligned with their branding. However, a real person works with you and they are extremely professional.
  • You’ll not only need to get API and scope approval, but you’ll also want to request a quota increase since the default allotment is only enough to post a few videos. This is a separate process that requires its own screencasts and forms.

Other guides or packages 

Other API packages: https://developers.google.com/youtube/v3/guides/auth/server-side-web-apps


Looking to schedule posts and get analytics from your app?

If you don’t want to go through all the API approvals, integrations, and maintenance, try Ayrshare with its powerful set of APIs that enable you to send social media posts effortlessly.

You can start publishing to your favorite social media networks – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, TikTok, Pinterest, Telegram, YouTube – with just a few lines of code, or use our awesome developer desktop GUI to manage your users or see the request/response of every post.

Ayrshare Dashboard

Get started with Ayrshare.