Aug 2016

Facebook Graph Search

Facebook is my favourite social network. Not just because it’s fun and useful, but also because it never fails to amaze me. This time, I am excited about two new features that Facebook is rolling out gradually: Graph Search and the new News Feed. So, let’s dig a little deeper into these features to understand how your business can possibly leverage on them.

Graph Search – Goodbye Irrelevant Search Results

Graph Search is a new search feature that promises to give an improved search experience to users. It is capable of providing answers to users’ natural language queries by mining through Facebook’s huge database. This new semantic search engine customizes the queries for every Facebook user based on their profile, activity and friends. So for example, you can now search for phrases like “friends living in Singapore, who like Harry Potter” and you will get a list of all your Singapore-based friends who like Harry Potter. How cool is that? A simple answer for your complex query in no time.

What Does Graph Search Mean For Businesses?

As with any change on Facebook, businesses will have to adapt to Graph Search and find ways to leverage it.

Adapting to Graph Search – Continue to Invest in Your Page

Graph Search currently gives only organic results for queries, which depend a lot on factors such as the completeness of information about the page, relevance to the user’s search, popularity of the page etc. So, it is very important for businesses to “invest” in their Facebook page, update it regularly with interesting content and engage their fans using innovative methods. Higher the popularity and updated-ness of your page, the higher will it rank in the search results. This is very similar to the concept of search engine optimization for search engines like Google. Some simple tips to make your page optimized for Graph Search:

  • Increase your “likes” and “check-ins” as these are some of the verbs used in search phrases
  • Fill in your “About” section with relevant details
  • Take advantage of the timeline feature to show the different milestones your company has crossed
  • Post rich content on a regular basis such as interesting/creative/fun images, videos etc.
  • Be prompt in responding to your fans
  • Focus on increasing you PTA (People Talking About)

Leveraging Graph Search

At the moment, it will take a lot of time and manual effort for businesses to leverage Graph Search and gain deep insights in a meaningful format. In order to exploit the potential of the new search to its fullest, you would require applications that work with it and the data that it provides. However, we will start seeing cool apps being developed in no time to help businesses take full advantage of Graph Search. Having said that, there are ways businesses can start using Graph Search right now. It is a good time for brands to experiment with the different possibilities that the search provides and identify which searches give the most meaningful results.

Here are ways to do that:

a) Understand Your Customers: Businesses should try and find links between their brand and the likes/interests of their customers. For example, try to discover other pages liked by the people who like your page. So if you find that X% of people who like your page also like travelling, you can use this information when planning your future content or even social media campaigns.

b) Launch Better Offline/Online Marketing Campaigns: Graph Search can give you a lot of information about your fans. For example, it can actually give you a list of people who work or live in a particular area and also tell you if they have interacted with your brand in the past. A simple search query like “people who live in ‘location’ and like ‘brand name’” will give you a good list of potential customers to target your campaign to. For example, Starbucks has a lot of outlets in Singapore. By understanding the profile of people who work/live around these outlets, it can decide what kind of promotions would be suitable for a given outlet. The information that Graph Search provides can definitely help businesses make informed decisions, provided they perform the right kind of searches that will give them meaningful answers.

c) Conduct a Competitor Analysis: Graph Search can be used to find out more about your competitors. This is especially useful for SMEs or new businesses who are still unaware of their competitors or would like more insight into them. You can experiment with different kinds of searches with various competitor names and find common fans between competitor pages and your page. If your business is a “place”, then you can also compare things like “check-ins”.

Now that I’ve covered Graph Search, I am now going to tell you a little more about the new News Feed.

New News Feed – Goodbye Clutter

The current News Feed consists of posts from friends, brands, post about friends’ activity etc. In short, it is quite cluttered. Google+ realized this a long time ago and came up with the concept of multiple News Feeds where you can see posts from people in specific circles. Facebook has now adopted a similar approach (which gives Google+ one less feature to brag about!)

In the new News Feed, you will now be able to see posts from specific categories. For example, you can see the posts related to your friends in a separate feed and you can switch to another feed if you want to see updates from Facebook groups. Another improvement in the new News Feed is that stories will appear much bigger than they appear now. This means that we will see bigger pictures and each post will take up more space on the feed. (again, similar to Google+).

So, what should businesses do to adapt to the new News Feed?

  • Stay updated about the new dimensions of posts so that you can make right-sized creatives  
  • Create more visual content. Even your ads should be visually appealing and less wordy
  • Use high quality images that look appealing on a larger space
  • Put in a lot more thought into your content strategy. Because of the separate News Feeds, the updates from your company might appear very close to updates from other businesses the user “likes”. In this case, your content needs to stand out 
  • Engage your customers more because every time a fan engages with your page, a “story” is created which appears on their friends’ News Feeds 

Now that you know how to utilize these Facebook features for your brand, you might want to leverage exciting new features on other social networks too. Our social media marketing services will help.

For further queries, drop us a line at [email protected] or call us at (+65) 6653 8060. 

Khyathi Nirmal Kumar

Khyathi is the Lead for the Technology & Education verticals at Happy Marketer.