While other social media sites motivate customers to link with other customers, Facebook has been a shut website. Finding others who discuss your passions has been difficult, with Facebook’s search restricted to people, places, and things. Type the word “restaurant” into the search box, and you will get a list of pages on the website related to restaurants. All this is going to change with the launch of Graph Search.
The potential for Facebook’s new Graph Search feature is huge. Brands, and digital marketers can and should be doing a number of things right now to benefit from it as it reaches critical mass. A simple rule of thumb is that the more content that gets shared, liked, or commented on through Facebook, the greater the chances of discovery of that content through Graph Search.
So what does it mean to businesses selling a product or service? It’s important for a couple of reasons:
1. Purchase decisions. People who search for things on the web tend to be in a purchasing mindset so there’s never been a more important time to ensure your business is on Facebook.
2. Advertising. Graph Search will likely offer an opportunity to advertise next to search results, much like you can with Google or the other search engines. This could be a huge revenue opportunity for Facebook, but doesn’t look to be an immediate focus. “This could potentially be a business over time, but right now we’re focused on building a good user experience,” Zuckerberg said.
It’s worth noting that Facebook is also taking the issue of privacy seriously with the new function. In a press release, the company explained “we’ve built Graph Search from the start with privacy in mind, and it respects the privacy and audience of each piece of content on Facebook. It makes finding new things much easier, but you can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook.”
These are three things companies and marketers can do right now, which goes along with the best practices-
1) Shares, likes, and comments appear to be significant drivers of Graph Search results. Therefore, enable and promote social signals (shares, comments, and likes) within your content.
2) Images are the single most popular type of content to be shared on Facebook. For certain companies and marketers, it is important to enable and encourage image sharing. It stands to reason that images are something people will search for a lot through Graph Search.
3) Deploy Open Graph tags within content. These will ensure consistent “merchandising” of brand content that gets discovered through Graph Search.