Over the past several months, Facebook has been releasing more and more information about Graph Search, a new product that FB says has been in the works for several years. This leaves us with two big questions.
1. Does Facebook’s new search format have what it takes to compete with traditional search engines like Google and Bing?
2. How can we leverage Graph Search to engage customers and build brand awareness?
To answer the first question, the sheer number of people who use Facebook on a regular basis means that they are serious competition for the usual search engines. If the interface they develop provides users with top notch, relevant information – while also using social data to make connections among friends and followers – the company just might find itself leading the search revolution.
Make no mistake – Graph Search is not keyword-based. Instead, it’s designed to use natural language queries like, “television shows my friends like” or “people who like jogging in Manhattan” to seek out and return appropriate content. This allows for results that are personal, including friends’ photos, videos, or likes, but it also creates results that can foster social connections among users with similar tastes or hobbies. When it launches in full, Graph Search will be a true social search engine.
As for the second question – the most important one for those of us in the internet marketing industry – only time will tell the best ways to leverage this new product to raise brand awareness and engage consumers. However, there are some basic ways that companies can get a head start now.
The term “Graph Search Optimization” or “GSO” has begun taking hold, referring to the process by which companies can prepare their site to rank well on Facebook’s newest service.
First, know that FB uses likes and comments to signify which content is high quality. That’s going to carry over into Graph Search, so making sure to post engaging photos, videos, and discussions will be critical in GSO.
Just as with the changing face of traditional search, local counts! Users will be searching for companies based on where they are, so it’s very important to have a Facebook page representing each physical location your company has. When someone searches for “shoe stores in my hometown,” you want to make sure yours comes up first.
Start using promotions to increase awareness and engagement. Offer your customers discounts for checking in at your place of business, run contests that encourage them to comment on or share your posts, and encourage satisfied clients to post positive reviews on your timeline.
Finally, make your social profile attractive with custom graphics, logos, and plenty of information about your company. When people start finding you via Graph Search, you’ll be ready to make a terrific first impression!
Feeling overwhelmed by Facebook? Read about our social update and engagement plans, or request a meeting to discuss how we can help you leverage social media to build your brand!