This week, Facebook announced their new search tool that will soon become available called Graph Search. If you don’t know much about Graph Search yet and what it could mean for marketers, we thought we’d take a few minutes to review and discuss the implications.
Facebook’s Graph Search will be an all new way for Facebook users to explore the popular social media site. The search results will be unique and relevant to each user, filtered by their page, their network and any publicly posted content on Facebook. Personalised privacy settings will remain the same, however, it’s probably a good time for users to review their settings and posted content to avoid embarrassment. Graph Search will enable Facebook users enter search phrases to:
- Find people. Search their friends based on profile information. For example, find friends from a particular workplace, special interest group or who live in a particular city.
- Find photos. Users can search for photos that they have been tagged in by typing in a phrase ‘Find photos of me’ or perhaps photos their friends have been tagged in ‘Find photos of my family’. Users can even search for photos they have previously liked and get an instant selection of their favourites.
- Find places, interests and businesses. By typing in phrases like ‘Restaurants my friends visit in Melbourne’ or ‘Business pages my friends like’, users will be able to quickly source information that comes with the added bonus of being vetted by their friends.
So what does all this mean for marketers? Well, first and foremost if your business doesn’t have a Facebook business page then it’s time to get with the program. There is no time like the present. Visit https://www.facebook.com/about/pages. If you already have a Facebook page, when was the last time you updated it? Or posted on it? Your Facebook business page is valuable real estate than needs regular TLC.
Secondly, the upcoming launch of Graph Search provides yet another reason for marketers to focus attention on customer engagement and creating positive brand experiences, not just online but offline. The importance of ‘earned media’ has certainly gained significant traction in recent years. In fact, in a 2012 Global Trust Survey, Nielsen found that 92% of consumers trust earned media (e.g word of mouth and recommendations from their friends and family) above all other advertising such as TV and radio, an increase of 18% since 2007.
As the world of social media continues to expand and evolve at such a rapid pace, businesses can’t afford to waste valuable time. Those that have a focus on ‘earned media’ and who develop ways to build stronger customer relationships, will have the competitive advantage. Perhaps a good starting point is to review some of the basic business hygiene factors like customer service, price, quality, availability etc. and then investigate ways to innovate, surprise and delight customers. By creating a reason for customers to keep coming back, they’ll soon spread the word bringing with them friends and family and sharing the social love for the business online (e.g liking a business’s Facebook page). Graph Search then becomes directly beneficial for businesses, as it helps to increase exposure with the added benefit of endorsements/recommendations from Facebook friends.
Facebook will be launching a limited beta version of Graph Search, which will be tested amongst a selection of applicants for feedback and further refinement before it is officially released. If you’re keen to trial it sooner rather than later, you can join the waiting list now http://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch#signup.
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