July 08, 2013

Facebook Graph Search: A New Move in Social Media Marketing

It’s been said over and over that social media is key for businesses today, and hopefully you don’t need to hear it again. But have you let your Facebook page fall by the wayside as you update Twitter, Pinterest, or other outlets? If that’s the case, take note: Facebook has recently unveiled its newest weapon that could serve you well in the marketing power game.

If you are a marketer, by now you have probably heard of Graph Search, Facebook’s updated, enhanced search feature. Today, the social networking giant announced that it will being rolling out Graph Search over the next week to all registered users who have selected English as their language. The new feature represents Facebook’s latest move to best search engine giant Google and to take great strides in its foray into search engine marketing. 

At its core, Facebook is in the business of social profiling, or aggregating users’ personal information to tailor advertisements, promotions and incentives at that Facebook individual. Graph Search personalizes that information based on users’ friends and their activity. Searches can be filtered based on information in four categories: people (“my friends who are friends with John Doe”), places (“Italian restaurants my friends like”), photos (“photos of my friends before 2010”), and interests (“my friends who like Beyonce”). Searches are also streamlined by both expressed interest (such as numerous likes on a status) and key words, so that results are more specific. And since every user’s Facebook’s friends are different then the next, everyone’s search results will be that much more personal.

The social giant claims that Graph Search will foster significant connections between people. “What Facebook has done is…digitized all of our connections not just with each other, but also with people, places and things,” said Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief at Search Engine Land.

With this sort of connectivity now available through Graph Search, it’s more important than ever for businesses to develop a strong Facebook presence. Graph Search is dependent on user activity, meaning that the more people mention, search for, or interact with a business page, the more pertinent it will seem as a Graph Search result. Since every search is personalized to the user’s friends, reaching as wide a Facebook audience as possible is even more crucial. Doing so will also increase a business’s trust factor – Facebook hopes that users will consider their Graph Search results to be more trustworthy than those of a standard search engine because the information is filtered through their friends, so every result becomes relevant.

While personal users may be wary of Graph Search because of possible privacy implications (although Facebook is quick to remind that all current privacy settings will be upheld), businesses need to take note that the latest feature is not a cause for concern, but rather marketing gold.  Facebook is once again showing it has all its chips in the social media marketing game, and it’s time for businesses to start playing along.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

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