Graph Search: The Facebook Gamechanger

Facebook has recently come out with an update that will change the way a billion+ users interact with each other on the social site. Facebook Graph Search allows users to easily find information based on their friends’ interests, likes, and comments.
Content that users share is currently seen for less than four hours, but Graph Search changes that. Now, searches will yield a wealth of information more easily, and Facebook recommendations will be honed more closely to users’ actual interests. For example, if you are a vegan and search for vegan information your friends (or even businesses you follow) have shared or liked, you will start to see more vegan-friendly suggestions from Facebook at the top of your newest searches. Here is an example of how your Facebook profile will look after Graph Search is integrated, courtesy of 9 Clouds:

Screen shot 2013-03-06 at 12.25.18 PM

You will also be able to use this search function to find photos (by friends or near/in a certain place, for example) and music your friends like. Although admittedly a little creepy, Facebook will also allow you to search for singles based on your interests and location.
Whereas in the past your old photos were buried in albums and wouldn’t show up in any recent feeds, they are now easily searchable and will appear near the top of relevant results. Make sure that stalkers, employers, or anyone else you’d prefer not to see this content, cannot see it. Go to your privacy settings and choose who can see what information you share. And remember you can also go back and edit the privacy settings for particular posts and albums.
How is all of this relevant to businesses?
shake handsFor starters, all of this searchable content means it’s easier to find other professionals in your industry and interact with them to your mutual benefit. Going on a business trip? Find others in your area who might be interested in meeting up. This is also a great opportunity to find businesses who might be interested in partnering and sharing clients or business opportunities.
With Graph Search it will easier to market to the right demographic. Simply searching for people who like your page in particular areas will help you decide where you should focus your next campaign.  Plus, you can see what your fans are interested in and do some digging yourself. If most people like football, for example, you should find content about football to share on your own page. If you are a restaurant and want to know what foods are popular, search for that and come up with a host of content to share in the future, or possibly even some foods to make in your store, to catch fans’ attention.
InstagramApps will also be more important:  Pinterest, Spotify, and FourSquare, to name just a few, post content to users’ profiles on their behalf, and now this information is very searchable. If a friend of yours has a great taste in music and you want to check out what they like, you can search that information and come up with the most recent songs they’ve listened to on Spotify.
FB PhotosIn a similar vein, fan pictures will also be more crucial. Apps like Instagram publish fan submissions, and it’s always most comfortable to decide where to eat based on what your friends like. For businesses, this means encouraging fans to post images to apps like Instagram, which will then show up as part of your page content when people search your business.
. And finally, ‘likes’ now matter a lot more than they used to. In the past, people who liked your page wouldn’t necessarily see all (or any) of your updates, because of the way Facebook decides who sees what content and for how long. But now, searching for a particular topic will bring up the number of your friends who like that restaurant in addition to the total likes for the page. Friend recommendations are powerful, and this tool in the right business hands can tap into that market. . Although still in its infancy, we’re convinced Graph Search will be huge. It’s currently only available by request, but most likely the new design and opportunities will be available to all users before too long. So make a plan for how to use Graph Search, and get ready for even better marketing this spring!

About MARKIT Group

MARKIT Group is a full-service traditional and digital marketing and public relations firm with an emphasis on social media, reputation management and monitoring, as well as brand management. Headquartered in Bonita Springs, Fla., with offices in New York, Pittsburgh and Charleston, S.C.
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