Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s new social search engine, Graph Search, on January 15, 2013. Graph Search is a way to sort through Facebook to find information about people, photos, activities, interests and recommendations.
For example, you can search “people who like soccer” and it will show your friends that like soccer. It is most likely not going to challenge Google, but it will incorporate Bing search results in the searches.
So what does this mean for marketers? How can your brand capitalize on this piece of technology? Here are a few ways to utilize the Facebook Graph Search.
Marketers will be able to find out more information about their fans such as music they like, books they read, celebrities they admire, food they like and places they like to go. You will also be able to research information about the fans of your competitors.
Businesses that rely heavily on location, such as restaurants and retail stores, will be able to target local fans more easily. Check-ins will also factor more heavily into ranking results. This means that these businesses will want to encourage customers to check-in on Facebook in order to rank higher.
It is not verified yet, but Graph Search may incorporate Sponsored Ads, similar to Google, to try to monetize the search engine. This could be a great way for business advertising to show up at the top of the rankings.
Currently, when you post on Facebook, you hope your fans see the post in their newsfeed and that people share it. With Graph Search, your potential reach can be much higher, especially if many of your fans have public profiles. A friend of a friend can search for “restaurants that people like in Richmond” and your restaurant could show up! Businesses will be able to reach users further outside of their direct network.
With these new opportunities for businesses to grow their reach on Facebook, it will be even more important that your Facebook page has regular activity and is up to date. Now is the best time to do so while the Graph Search is still in beta mode. Here are a few tips to make sure you are ready for the change:
Be sure to have a timeline photo – Part of having a complete profile is making sure you have a timeline photo. This can be a way to show off your company personality or say who you are and what you do.
Update the “About” section – This section is critical to your business because it is a key source of search information. You should have your company name, industry, website URL and any details you would want prospects to know.
Post daily – The more Facebook activity that you have, the better you will show up in the Graph Search rankings. Also, showing more activity will provide more value for your fans and will hopefully help build your fan base as well.
Encourage check-ins – Find ways to reward fans for checking in to your business when they visit. It will help boost your rankings, plus it shows up in the fans’ places they’ve visited.
With the announcement of Facebook Graph Search came some speculation about privacy concerns. Some Facebook users are concerned that the public will be able to find out too much personal information about them. Facebook is working to meet all the privacy concerns head on, but claims that Graph search will only use publicly available information. As with any Facebook update (like the Instagram acquisition) or changes to the terms of service and privacy policies, it is important for users to check their privacy settings and make sure they are set at a level that they are comfortable with.
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Facebook Graph Search might be a great opportunity for businesses to increase traffic to their page and be more relevant in searches. If you are prepared when the Graph Search becomes available to the public, then it can only help your Facebook reach!