Facebook has introduced a potentially game-changing feature called Graph Search. Essentially, Graph Search is “Google” for your social network on Facebook. While it is currently in limited beta, it will eventually appear on top of every Facebook page. When it is fully launched, it will be an interactive feature that Facebook will evolve gradually based on user feedback. Although it is likely to be in limited use for the foreseeable future, it is still worth businesses keeping on their radar.
Graph search will allow people to filter information of their friends in four basic categories including people, places, photos and interests. Users will be able to search by name, category or phrase. As you can imagine, this has the potential to provide businesses with a powerful new set of resources. It also means that businesses will need to place a priority on creating a consistent flow of engaging content on their pages in order to fully benefit from Graph Search.
For example, as users begin to use Graph Search and as it’s search capabilities become increasingly robust, users will begin to rely on it while making decisions about where to eat, shop and find entertainment based on their social grid. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it. If a user is visiting a new city and is looking for somewhere to eat, a simple Graph Search will provide him or her with restaurants that friends have liked. Instead of relying on recommendations of strangers on Yelp or similar sites, users can get trustworthy recommendations from friends.
As a page, place, group, app or game, your business has the potential to show up in search results based on what you have shared and the connections you have made. Your content also has the potential to show up in search results. However, the extent to which your brand and content appears in search results on Graph Search will be dependent upon your social footprint. This makes it critical that you connect with fans and engage them consistently. Consistent engagement will translate to Facebook viewing your page as relevant, thus boosting your Graph Search results.
In order to be prepare for Graph Search’s widespread use, you should work closely with your website designer to make sure your branding is consistent. You should also make sure all of your information is current including your address, phone number, email contacts and hours of operation. This sounds obvious, but can be easy to overlook. Work towards engaging your fan existing fan base. Facebook places a high emphasis on engagement. Engagement actually is going to be more important than fan base in terms of evaluating your page’s relevance. Along with encouraging engagement, you need to work on creating strong connections with your fans. Finally, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to adapt as Graph Search evolves over the next few years. The potential for this new feature is huge for businesses that prepare accordingly.