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Facebook Graph Search: How You and Your Business Can Benefit From It

Written by on April 10, 2013

The competition between Facebook and Google is continuously escalating, especially in the past few years. A few short years back, Facebook was considered to be a poor tool by marketers because of its focus solely on people and the minimal search features it had. But now the Facebook is going head on with Google, fighting for not only advertisers but engineers as well. Continuous changes are being rolled out by Mark Zuckerberg in his attempt to topple over the internet’s search engine giant Google. Last year the social media powerhouse introduced the new feature, Timeline that immediately set out a fury of concerns about people’s privacy as this feature made it easier for visitors to scroll through people’s Facebook posts over the years. However, the new Facebook Graph is likely to be a much attractive tool for businesses.

Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg has now introduced a new vision of search which is based upon the company’s massive database of private social information, rather than using the typical procedure of collecting links through the open web, which in the end still underpins the service of Google.

"We are giving people the power and the tools to take any cut of the graph that they want and make any query they want"
“We are giving people the power and the tools to take any cut of the graph that they want and make any query they want”

“We are giving people the power and the tools to take any cut of the graph that they want and make any query they want”, said Mark Zuckerberg. It was revealed in a global consumer survey conducted in 2012 by Greenlight, that if Facebook had its own search engine it would have the potential to capture a quarter of the search market.

What does the Graph Search allow you to do?

It helps people find YOU

The new Graph Search technology introduced by Facebook, now allows users to conduct targeted and customized searches on people, places, photos, interests, and everything else that lies within the ‘social graph’ of Facebook. It is essentially allowing users to now have the power to take advantage of its own database of affinities and social connections. This tool will prove more beneficial to businesses than individual users. Now businesses have the potential to easily conduct research on the interests, likes, and trends, of their customers and followers through putting in any query they need information on. This personalized search result is something that you cannot get through Google, and this certainly does win Facebook an edge over Google, especially for its business users.

This is an example of a search result on the query ‘photos Frankfurt friends’
This is an example of a search result on the query ‘photos Frankfurt friends’

Great tool for gaining insight on your customers and audience

The Graph Search tool allows you to search up all kinds of information on your fans, customers, or audiences. Through this tool you can now check out what other activities your fans are participating in, what other websites, blogs, and Facebook pages, they follow, how old they are, what their gender is, which industries they are employed in, where they live, where they are from, where they studied from, and so much more. This tool gives you in depth statistical analysis on the activities of your fans thus allowing you to conduct market research in a whole new way. The best part is it’s FREE.

This information is highly valuable in terms of all the great things you can do with it. For example you can use this information by prompting your past and current customers to give you an online review in exchange for a gift card. You can also forward special promotions and discount to particular customers to encourage them to visit again. There are simply limitless ways you can use this priceless information to your benefit.

Beneficial for conducting competitor analysis

You can not only use the Graph Search tool for gaining insight into your own customers and fans but can also do the same on your competitors. Getting some comprehensive information on your competitors can go a long way. Find out which people are going to other similar businesses like yours for their service and products. Find out what exactly it is about your competitors that these people like. What activities is your competitor engaging in, in order to bring in more customers? What selection of products and services are they offering and what better deals do they have that are attracting your fans to them. Carefully looking into your competitors can really help you in improving your own services and products, improving your marketing strategies, and attracting more fans.

Changing the Way Businesses Optimize Themselves on the Web

With the introduction of Facebook’s new Graph Search tool, businesses now have to rethink their online marketing strategies to now ensure they are not only optimized for Google but are more discoverable on Facebook’s Graph Search too. If you want to get your businesses Facebook page immediately optimized for this great new tool, below are some great tips to help you get rolling:

Make changes in your company profile

Now it’s time that you review your company profile on Facebook. Add all those things that you want your company to be discovered for. If you want to be seen as an entrepreneur in Florida, then make sure that your profile highlights that you are an entrepreneur, your current hometown is Florida, and you are say, working in the ‘Tourism’ industry. This way whenever someone is searching for all new businesses or entrepreneurs in Florida to connect with, your company’s Facebook page will surely turn up in the results. Who knows, this might turn out to be a great way to find new investors looking for opportunities to participate in.

Update your location

This is especially important for all local businesses. If you are a local retail store, restaurant, service provider, etc., you need to make sure that you set up your Facebook page as a local page. When initially setting up your company’s Facebook page, if you did not set it up as a local page, you can still switch categories by going to the ‘Edit’ page and selecting the ‘Update Info’ option.

This is an example of a search result based on all friends living in New York
This is an example of a search result based on all friends living in New York

Increase your fan base

The interesting thing about Facebook Graph search is that now you can easily search up books, restaurants, stores, and other stuff that your friends like. If you are a business, then this means that it is not only more important now to have a Facebook page but it has now become even more important for you to have more and more fans. And this doesn’t mean you should just try and get random people to ‘like’ your page, but now it’s increasingly important that you work towards getting genuine ‘likes’ from fans in your local area, fans with similar interests, etc.

The best way to get started on this is to use ‘Facebook Advertising’ and spreading the word through your official website, business cards, and all other offline marketing materials.

Choosing the right friends

The main thing about Facebook Graph Search is that it allows people to search up other connections by using common denominators. If for example, an entrepreneur is searching for other entrepreneurs to connect with, he/she will most probably start with those who are already friends and then go on to friends of friends. Therefore, if you want to be discovered in this kind of search, you will have to start by emphasizing on making friends on Facebook. Connecting with people with similar interests as your business is now more important for you. The best way to get started on this is by first connecting with people on other platforms and getting to know them a bit before you add them on Facebook. This could be through Twitter, LinkedIn, or their blogs. Facebook Groups is another great way to connect with people in similar ventures with similar interests.

If you are not already using Graph Search, you will probably want to get it now. That’s quite easy, simply click here and join the waiting list. While Facebook might still not be able to topple over the search engine giant Google, it certainly does have the potential to change the way people search for information on the internet, and thus as a result, reduce the usage of Google.

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