Facebook Graph Search: Implications For Businesses and Brands

Earlier this week Facebook announced Graph Search, a tool that will allow users to search the social media site for people, interests, places and photos. Unique to Graph Search, every user’s search results will be based on the connections and interactions of their first and second-degree connections – friends, and friends of friends. This will not only keep search results relevant, but results will also carry much greater weight, versus other social recommendation and review sites such as Yelp, because of the close social connection each user will have with their personalized results.

By the sounds of things, the features being debuted via beta currently are just the start of things, and that this will become a much more powerful tool that is capable of searching a broader range of things on Facebook in future iterations.

There are a couple of great posts that go into more detail on the features and function of Graph Search on the AllFacebook blog here, and on Social Media Today by Tia Fisher here.

This is all very interesting, but what will this mean for businesses and brands on the world’s largest social network?

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Engagement Will Remain Key

Graph Search results will be based on the interests, experiences and content that your social graph has engaged with or shared on Facebook. Based on the bit of preliminary information we’ve been provided, it seems that businesses who are able to successfully engage their consumers by way of likes, comments and shares are going to be showing up in more search results than businesses filled with lurkers.

Fan Acquisition and Retention Will Mean Appearing in More Search Results

If you want to be discovered via Facebook Graph Search, you’re going to need to find ways to attract, engage and retain your fans. The number of potential search results your business appears in is going to be directly correlated to the size of your community. This isn’t rocket science, but it will obviously pay off to grow your Facebook community and work to retain your fans.

Shared Positive Experiences Will Serve as Trusted Endorsements

From what I understand, Graph Search results are going to be limited to your first and second-degree connections. These are people you know, people you trust, and friends of the people you know and trust. If the people appearing in consumers’ search results have shared positive experiences they’ve had with a business, this will serve as a highly valuable and trusted endorsement. Because of this, endorsements on Facebook are going to carry greater weight than other social networks such as Yelp, which show unfiltered reviews from everyone, including complete strangers.

Graph Search is coming. Even though it is in beta and will likely launch with limited search functionality, it has significant implications for your business. Prepare for its launch and likely future iterations by continuing to grow, engage and provide value to your fan base. The reward of doing a good job in these areas will be greater amplification and influence to a broader number of users. This has the makings of being a powerful search and discovery tool, that if harnessed properly, could yield amazing results for your Facebook community and business.

What are your initial thoughts on Graph Search?

How do you think the introduction of Graph Search will affect your social strategy?

It would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial

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