Facebook Graph Search: Search Gets SocialThere has been quite a bit of buzz over Facebook’s new social search engine, Graph Search, since it was announced on January 15th. Although the program is still in beta, there has already been criticism over privacy violations and speculation that it’s is all about ad targeting and revenue generation. Despite the mixed early reviews, one thing is clear: that Graph Search will allow for increased brand exposure to audiences beyond just the news feed, users’ timelines and their own brand pages.
Graph Search Drop-down MenuHow It Works The beta version provides personalized search results for people, places, photos and interests based on an individual’s unique social graph. In plain English, this means results will be ranked by the content and pages a user has interacted with, a user’s friends, and the content those friends have interacted with. Friends that Facebook judges are “closer” will automatically rank higher, and content will also be ranked by a user’s past behaviors. Once a user completes an initial search, Facebook gives the option to “Refine” or “Extend” the search and offers suggestions. That’s where things get interesting. For example, let’s say a user was to search for “Photos Taken of My friends in Atlanta, GA.” That user could then extend the search to “Places These Photos Were Taken,” which would return local places. What Does Graph Search Mean for Brands? Engagement will continue to win over page “likes,” because pages that have quality content that is commented on, shared, etc. will rank higher in Graph Search than other pages. That said, total “likes” do play a role in the algorithm, which is good news for brands that have invested in building their community. Additionally, rich content such as photos and videos will perform best in Graph Search, so marketers should make sure they are incorporating engaging visual content in their posts. Graph Search will also be important for local businesses as users can search places their friends have visited, liked and taken photos of (among other things). For this reason, brick and mortar stores should encourage customers to check-in and submit user generated content. Get Ready for the Rollout In the coming weeks, marketers should focus on increasing fan engagement in order to boost their search ratings. Here are some simple steps brands should take to be well prepared for the mass rollout of Graph Search:
- Upload a memorable profile picture (minimum 620x620 pixel resolution)
- Make sure the name, category, vanity URL, and information in the "About" section are up-to-date and shared on Facebook
- If your company has a physical location, update the address to make sure the page can appear as a result when searching for a specific location
- Merge any duplicate locations that exist for your brand
- Strengthen your Page’s connections: it's not just the number of fans but also the strength of those connections that are important