In a major announcement Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg showcased the latest tool for Facebook users, Graph Search, which allows users to search through their social network to find search results based on specific search queries.
Between Facebook’s recent EdgeRank changes , which penalize companies for above-average negative feedback, and the new Graph Search feature, there are new opportunities for brands to become more engaged with their fan base. In addition, the gap between search and social will close with the introduction of Facebook’s new feature.
We’ve compiled this list of considerations for your brand based on recent Facebook changes:
- Quality (engagement) is more important than quantity (likes): Both EdgeRank and the Graph Search algorithms favor brands that have a high percentage of their fans talking about their brand. For EdgeRank, more engagement translates into higher affinity between your brand and your fans. This also means anyone using Facebook for referrals will see your brand higher in search results if it’s receiving more engagement.Find ways to engage your brand’s Facebook fans through questions, encourage sharing and, most of all, remember that quality content drives the EdgeRank algorithm.
- Invest in brand advocates: If it weren’t already, the “Share” button is the most important action your fans can take. The more fans that share and recommend your product and posts, the greater the benefits in both EdgeRank and Graph Search.Find your most vocal fans and reward them for being vocal. Facebook contests and giveaways are a simple way to encourage word of mouth. Fans who share a brand’s statuses or brag to their friends about the new product they received for being loyal are going to make a brand’s page more viral, which positively impacts EdgeRank and their Graph Search ranking.
- More profile information is better: Get ready for a new term to learn: Graph Search Optimization, or GSO.While traditional search engine optimization strategies won’t work on Graph Search, some of its best practices still apply. For instance, just like a website, you’ll want your Facebook page to have a fully complete “About” section. The more information in your page’s description, the likelier your brand will appear in a high volume of queries.
- Location, location, location: Not only is it important to have more information on your page, but it needs to be optimized for local search. The Graph Search algorithm includes geotargeting, which means it’s important to include specific location information for anywhere you want customers to find you, even if it means listing multiple locations.
- Advertise on Facebook using specific targeting: Ad Age predicts Graph Search will give Facebook intent data, which means that brands can target users based on their searches. Previously, advertising was only available based on information users provided on their profile. (e.g. Daniel is a fan of the New York Giants) Soon, Facebook ads will target based on customer queries, banking on the assumption that searches are intent to purchase.
These recent changes will help ensure that Facebook is a two-way street for brand and consumer communication. Site users will have easier access to information they want to know about and filter through less spam. If brands follow best practices for Graph Search Optimization, they will find that they have a more engaged Facebook following and have more success in using social media as a marketing tool.
And knowing Facebook, these best practices are sure to change, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can sign up for the Facebook Graph Search beta.