If you’re on Facebook you might have already noticed the newest revolution of the networking site, if not, it’s coming for your profile soon. It’s called graph searching, and it can be full of potential for your business - if you know how to use it to your advantage.
Facebook announced the new feature back in January, and it’s just now making its way to most users’ profiles. Graph searching is a form of searching that uses complex technology to find people in your networks based on the characteristics you are looking for. Founder Mark Zuckerberg said at the launch of Graph Search (as quoted in a recent TechCrunch article) that it is “designed to take a precise query and give you an answer, rather than links that might provide the answer.”
So, just what kind of answers can you get? For example, you can search for your Facebook friends that also like your favorite movie, store, or product. In those results you will not only get a list of those friends, but also other movies, stores or products those friends tended to like, giving you more insight into your friends as well as other interest recommendations. That means your business’s Facebook page could be included and recommended to your followers’ friends based on related interest searches.
A strength of Graph Search is its ability to find companies your friends like. Users can search for things like ‘bookstore liked by my friends’ and get several results instantly. It’s an easy way to get personalized recommendations without having to do much leg work. This can be a real benefit to small business that rely more on word of mouth and personal recommendations.
As you’ve likely realized, your business is more likely to show up in searches if you have more followers, so keeping your page dynamic and drawing in followers will only help optimize your Graph Searching presence.
And, in order to really optimize the benefits of Graph Searching, and for your page to be included in relevant searches, your Facebook page needs to include content that can be analyzed through the search program. Just like you’ve gone through an SEO process with your website, you’ll need to do the same with your Facebook page. That means filling out the relevant fields - select your business category, include tags and a detailed description in the information section. Your location needs to have your full address so it can be included in local searches. If you have great Yelp! reviews, those can (and should) be connected to your page. And be sure to pick a dynamic profile picture, it will be one of the largest parts of the Graph Search results.
While some personal users are increasing their privacy levels after the introduction of this technology, your business page needs to make sure everything is as visible as possible. And make sure that your business page is going to give an accurate and interesting picture of your company to people who are finding you for the first time.
In order to increase the number of people who find your page, you’ll want to encourage your current fanbase to become more active with your company online. Encourage your customers to like your business, “check-in” to your business on Facebook when they visit your physical location or use your services, tag you in posts and interact with you online. Consider running a contest or giveaway to encourage this behavior. The more interactions you have with your users, the more information is available for the Graph Search technology to comb through and find you.
Graph Search can also be directly used by businesses. It also allows searchers to filter by places - which can be a helpful tool in attempting to narrow down or target potential customers for a local business. You can also use it as a recruiting tool and search for people in your networks with skills or interests relevant to positions you are looking to fill.
The next time you login to Facebook try some new graph searches, and see what comes up for things you are interested in, whether that’s local coffee shops your friends like or books that your friends in Naperville are reading. Once you have a handle on how the search works and what kind of results it provides, start thinking critically about how you can use this technology to your business’s advantage and get editing!
If you need assistance with your company's Facebook page, please contact us at BuddinghAssociates.com
David S. Buddingh is founder and partner in Buddingh & Associates, Inc., an award-winning strategic marketing consulting firm in Naperville, IL. Contact him at (630) 961-4504 or visit www.BuddinghAssociates.com.