Facebook’s New Graph Search – What Does it Mean for Brands?
Facebook recently announced that it is launching a search engine for the social network called “graph search.” Mark Zuckerberg described graph search as the third pillar of the Facebook experience, along with the News Feed and the Timeline.
What exactly is this new search product? Is it going to be a Google competitor? No, says Zuckerberg. This is not about web search. It’s about tapping in to the vast body of knowledge Facebook has about about what we like and what we do. It’s about discovering things recommended and liked by your friends. It is a search based on your social graph.
Graph search focuses on people, photos, places and interests. Zuckerberg demonstrated how graph search will deliver answers to questions like, “Who are my friends that live in San Francisco?” And it goes much further than friends. You could ask questions about restaurants, activities or shows in San Francisco If you were to search ‘What are the best restaurants in San Francisco’ you would get recommendations for restaurants based on how many of your friends have been to a restaurant and liked it. You could ask for photos of places or products. You could ask questions like “which is the best digital camera: and see what your friends use and recommend.
Facebook’s graph search is still in closed beta, so we don’t know yet exactly what it will look like or what it can do. But the idea that you will be able to find things based on the likes and recommendation of your friends and fans poses some interesting possibilities. EdgeRank will no longer just be what determines which content gets seen in your fans’ feeds. Edgerank will play a major role in graph search, so you need to pay attention to the affinity (likes), weight ( shares, comments) and the recency and relevance of your content.
If you don’t have a well-defined Facebook content strategy, now is the time to do this.
Brands will have to learn to optimize their Facebook page content for graph search and figure out how to increase the number of people who like their posts, comment positively on their content and share it with others.
Brand Awareness and Exposure
Facebook has stated that your content is probably seen by only 16% of your fans. Once graph search is launched there will be more opportunities to be discovered on Facebook, if your page is well-optimized and you have the right content strategy in place. And remember that if you want the content you now have in custom tabs to show up in Graph Search, you’ll have to figure out ways to put it into the timeline content too.
When a Facebook user does a graph search they see results with people, places, photos, and other content that has been shared on Facebook.
“We can answer a set of questions that no one else can really answer. All those other services are indexing primarily public information, and stuff in Facebook isn’t out there in the world — it’s stuff that people share. There’s no real way to cut through the contents of what people are sharing, to fulfill big human needs about discovery, to find people you wouldn’t otherwise be connected with. And we thought we should do something about that. We’re the only service in the world that can do that.”
- Mark Zuckerberg
How can this benefit a Brand?
All the information people have shared on Facebook becomes a powerful searchable database. And, if we’re smart, we can post information in the categories Graph Search focuses on – people, photos, places and interests. If it gets liked and shared and become part of that database, your brand content more discoverable to the vast Facebook community.
Users who want to sign up for the test can join the waiting list on Facebook’s website.