After much anticipation and wacky speculations from social media enthusiasts everywhere, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced Facebook graph search, a better internal search function, yesterday at the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters.
“There are a few pillars of the Facebook ecosystem,” said Zuckerberg in a graph search introductory video. “One is news feed…Another pillar has been timeline…Graph search is going to be another pillar.”
Graph search gives Facebook users the ability to search within their unique social graphs for shared information, specifically people, photos, places and interests, in plain English. For example, users can type, “People who live in my city,” and graph search will provide them a list of people they know or may know who live in their city, listing their friends first followed by the people with the most mutual contacts.
If you’re thinking graph search sounds awfully familiar, it’s because it is. According to a HubSpot blog, Google’s goal when it created Google+ was to deliver “better, more relevant, more personalized results for a user’s search query based on who they were connected with on their Google+ network.” The post continues, “The problem is, there wasn’t, and still isn’t, widespread 1) adoption, and 2) usage of Google+.”
Graph search is available now in a limited beta program for English (US) audiences only. You can join the waiting list to start using graph search by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the screen.
What Does Graph Search Mean for Business Marketers?
You better believe that when I was asked to join the Kuno team, it sure wasn’t due to my foresight talent. Alas, that didn’t stop the brilliant Dan Stasiewski from asking me to predict how graph search would affect business marketers. “Oh shoot,” I thought. “I left my crystal ball in my other purse…”
Without the ability to monkey around with graph search, it’s difficult to say exactly how business marketers will be affected, so keep a sharp eye for mentions of experts or even personal connections testing it out. In the meantime, let’s speculate:
- Likes may actually be important again - It seems I read at least one blog per week criticizing social media marketers for basing Facebook measurement solely on likes and engagement. While I absolutely agree marketers should be measuring Facebook ROI with analytics tools like Insights in addition to counting likes, the graph search announcement has me wondering if likes will grow in importance again. After all, the more likes your business page has, the more often it’ll show up when friends of your followers search for photos or interests related to your page.
- Graph search means more targeted unique visits - There was a time when I “googled” everything, but when black hat SEO marketing became popular, it made me (and many others like me) skeptical Google returned the best results for my search, thinking instead it gave me the results best at integrating keywords throughout their websites. Around the same time, the old standby of just asking friends “Hey, what’s the best place for so-and-so?” grew increasingly easy with social networks. Now instead of posting recommendation-probing statuses all friends can see, Facebook users will be able to discreetly search for friends’ recommendations via graph search. This means your business page may see fewer unique visits, but those visits will be much more marketing qualified.
- Content is even more important - Allowing long-tail searches like “Friends who work at my company and like to ski” affords business marketers the ability to be extremely targeted with their content. Let’s use Kuno Creative as an example: Using the current Facebook search, I can type “Kuno Creative” into the search query and find our Facebook page in a snap. But if I type “Inbound marketing agencies in Cleveland,” Facebook not only doesn’t retrieve our Facebook page, it directs me off of the social network. So what would’ve happened had I never heard of Kuno Creative before? I probably wouldn’t have found it on Facebook. Long-tail searches will bring new visitors to your business page, and engaging educational or entertaining content will help keep them there.
How do you think Facebook’s search graph will affect business marketers? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Photo Credit: a.powers-fudyma
Lisa Gulasy is a young public relations professional highly interested in social media brand management, copywriting and grammar. Lisa works as an Associate Consultant at Kuno Creative where she creates content and assists senior consultants. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.