What Facebook's New Graph Search Means to Marketers
In an attempt to rival Twitter as the place to go for "trending" news, Facebook announced an update to Graph Search last Monday that will allow users to search for conversation topics within status updates, comments and posts. While typical Facebook users may not see a way Facebook can replace Twitter as the place to go for news and interactive discussions, marketers may find the tool to be beneficial in identifying and targeting their audience.
With the recent release of Facebook Graph Search, many brands are wondering exactly how it can help them in their marketing strategies. Facebook Graph Search continues to be rolled out gradually, and those marketers who have already received the update can now use the new tool to perform focused searches that will return better, more accurate search results that can be of real use to their business. Previously, marketers only had access to pages, apps and groups that included search terms. With this new update, marketers can now search for terms in posts, updates, check-ins and comments from friends.
Facebook page owners can use Graph Search to accomplish the following:
- Build a personal network. Facebook's Graph Search can help find colleagues to connect with by showing potential friends who like similar pages, allowing marketers to find colleagues they know but haven't yet connected with via Facebook.
- Build a page audience. Facebook previously didn't allow marketers to specifically search for a friend who liked their page; instead, they would have to scroll through their page likes to find the specific friend they were looking for. Facebook Graph Search offers an easier, quicker way to identify them by simply typing in a search query. Marketers can then compare the results of this query with their friend's list to target friends who haven't yet liked their Page. Marketers can also now easily network through Facebook groups based on shared interests. For example, they can search for groups of people who have an interest related to their business Page and then join a relevant group to interact with.
- Learn about fans to provide more value. Marketers can now easily find out about the interests of fans who like their page to better target them. Facebook Graph Search also allows marketers to identify other pages their fans like in order to learn about new types of content that marketers could share to keep fans engaged on their own Facebook Page.
While Facebook search queries will identify traits of fans and Pages, there are a few disadvantages to the tool, with the biggest drawback being that Facebook profile privacy settings can limit some results. Marketers also can't sort the results of a search query, and Facebook Graph Search doesn't work on mobile quite yet.
Social media marketing will continue to rely on the imaginations of the digital marketers at the controls. There are countless ways for marketers to use Facebook Graph Search, and with Facebook likely to roll out new features in the coming months, those who are alert and creative enough will rise above their competition.
Ken Wisnefski is the founder and CEO of WebiMax, a social media and internet marketing company.