Facebook Graph Search is coming. The latest and greatest new feature from everyone’s favorite (or “favorite”?) social media platform is Facebook’s jump into the search space. While not a tool to search the entire web, Graph Search is a useful tool for users to search through their Social Graph to find the results that are the most relevant to them. Facebook is betting that this more targeted search will make users more likely to engage with more content and people on Facebook. Google and other search engines have tried to make their results more relevant and targeted, but Facebook’s access to each user’s shared social connections means that they can go a step farther and make each search result an implicit recommendation from a “friend”, therefore increasing engagement with those results.
Assuming that Graph Search is the game-changer that Facebook hopes it is, many opportunities and changes await for brands on Facebook as well. Here’s a rundown of some steps that brands can take to optimize their Facebook presence for Graph Search.
Location-Specific Graph Search Results
The biggest change for many brands is going to be the increased prominence of local Pages. Brands with multiple local locations will want to claim any local Pages that they do not know under Facebook’s Parent-Child relationship, and update all local Pages with accurate contact and location information. While in the past it was useful for such large brands house all content on a master Page, with Graph Search it is important to publish relevant content to local Pages as well. There are tools that let brands publish content to all Pages at once, which, combined with targeted content published to each specific local Page, will keep local Pages relevant to users and highly ranked in Graph Search.
Acquire Relevant “Likes”
The more connections you have the more likely it is that your Page will be discovered. This means that gaining as many fans as possible is more important than ever. Applications and Facebook Ads to drive Fan Growth may now help drive engagement through more than just News Feed interactions. Of course, you want relevant Likes that sustain, so acquiring relevant fans who find value in your brand and providing consistent, relevant content to those Fans will keep your Page high in the Graph Search rankings.
Encourage Photo Sharing and Check-Ins
Where in the past photo tags and check-ins would have a one-time benefit to the Page from a broadcast into the News Feed, these types of engagements will now have a long-term benefit from Search. Encouraging users to tag a Page and check-in to a location will now prove to have additional benefits. In addition, Photos are their own category in Graph Search, making photos with your brand Page tagged in them an important part of your Graph Search strategy. In addition, photos from a brand’s photo albums will appear with equal weight to those posted in status updates, which will provide incentive for brands to be more strategic about what photos they put in their photo albums.
Additional Advertising Opportunities
While Facebook has not announced advertising opportunities within Graph Search yet, it is hopeful that they would not build a feature this big without the ability to include advertising at some point. Expect “Paid Results”, much like we currently see Sponsored Stories in the News Feed. This opportunity extends to the brands, as they will have the ability to insert themselves into searches that users make into their own social Graph, meaning that ads will need to be even more targeted and personalized.
When Graph Search is rolled out to all users we will know more about the unique challenges and changes that this feature presents to brands. For now, all we know is that those who adopt and adapt early will be able to reap the rewards.