Have you heard about Facebook graph search? No? Here’s the buzz…
“Facebook graph search could replace Google one day”
“Facebook’s attempt to produce more relevant results for everything.”
And from Facebook themselves…
“Find more of what you’re looking for on Facebook and discover fun connections between people, places and things.”
Essentially, Facebook graph search is a search engine for all things Facebook; your own timeline, your friend’s timelines and their friend’s public information. It is designed to be used with natural language search phrases, giving you results on everything from articles, restaurants or work places that your network has had interaction with.
The reason it’s so powerful is because Facebook searches information that Google can’t. Known as the ‘dark web’ this information is protected by our privacy settings, things like our likes, our photos or our status updates; those things we only want our friends to see.
So how can you use it?
As an Individual Person:
- Find Stuff on Facebook Easily: Remember that article you reposted a few months ago? The one with the funny cat pictures and inspiring story? Previously, you would have had to search through your timeline ‘around the date’ you remember posting it, hoping it still shows up. Now, simply type in keywords you remember the article containing and Facebook Graph will instantly return results to you, starting with those most relevant to you. Like things you posted on your timeline.
- Connect with famous people in your wider network: Similar to LinkedIn, Facebook Graph Search allows users to look for people they may be connected to by 2nd or 3rd degrees. For example, you could type ‘(Famous person’s) friends who are my friends.’ Or ‘Who do I know who knows (famous person)?” Additional information about their relationship is also available, such as how long they’ve been friends and shared interests or groups.
- Getting recommendations from your friends: If you’re the type of person who posts updates like “Who knows a good restaurant in New York city?” you will love this feature. Type ‘restaurants in Sydney my friends in Sydney have been to’ and up will pop a list of places any of your Sydney-based friends have checked into, sorted, of course, by those of your closest friends.
As a Business:
Facebook graph search is possibly the most powerful change to Facebook for businesses since it introduced advertising. The reason is that currently Facebook works online much like word of mouth does. Someone lets everyone know they like a place at the moment they visit it but after that the recommendation is otherwise forgotten about.
With Facebook Graph Search, your business can now be recognised by a search engine without your initial fan doing anything at all. Savvy business owners will see the potential almost immediately. The positive thing about this sort of search (closed networks via people a searcher trusts) is that it is difficult to fake. Businesses who have actual engagement with their audience are the ones who will show at the top whereas those with minimum engagement, even if they have plenty of Likes, will rank towards the bottom.
So, how can you take advantage of the new Facebook Graph Search feature for your business?
- Get active on Facebook. Not having a Facebook page is like not having a webpage for this search engine. Just having a page though won’t be enough. To rank highly you will need engaged fans and this means more than just getting them to like your page. Sharing content that they interact with will secure you a top position.
- Use It For Market Research. Try searching for ‘restaurants 20-30 year olds in Brisbane like” or ‘books read by people who like chocolate’. Results will vary depending on the amount of data people have linked to their Facebook page (i.e: whether they like chocolate and whether they read a particular book). It’s a great way to connect with people known in your industry, for instance, you could Google ‘real estate agents who are not my friends in Melbourne’ to discover other people operating in the same patch as you.
- Promote Your Multiple Locations. A key feature of Facebook Graph Search is it’s location-based search function. If your business has multiple locations, ensure each one of them has an individual identity/address listed so that it will show in search results. You can also use this feature to scout out what competitors are doing in your area by narrowing down search results to a particular location.
Facebook Graph Search is a powerful feature and, as with most new things, will require some getting used to even by Facebook users themselves. As it is only in English at the moment and only available in a beta format, update is not wide yet. However, if you just in early, you may be able to gain traction and become number one in your niche as the use of the service increases dramatically over the years to come.