How Facebook Graph Search Emphasizes The Need For Community

ABC Nightline called it “a search tool like no other.” But how is Graph Search, Facebook’s newly arrived challenge to Google search, really different — and how is it relevant to the always changing world of search?

Recently, at one of the biggest press events in the company’s history, Facebook unveiled Graph Search, a new functionality that lets users search through Facebook content in a whole new way — through connections. Using the existing “Like” functionality as its primary connector, Graph Search allows Facebook users the ability to search through people, photos, places and interests with greater control than ever before.

Graph Search

Instead of entering “plumbers in Plainfield, Indiana,” a typical localized Google search, Facebook users can now search for “plumbers that my friends like in Plainfield,” which returns results with a recommendation already attached. In short, Facebook has developed a search that takes the constant stream of data, recommendations and word-of-mouth approval already created within the Internet, and puts it at the fingertips of a user who wants to find a solution they can trust.

“That’s almost like a holy grail in some cases for anybody who’s ever tried to find somebody that they trust, and they really want recommendations from other people that they know,” said Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Land, in an ABC Nightline interview.

Recommended for YouWebcast: The Art of Community Development: Turning Brand Awareness Into Sales

“What Facebook has done is digitize people and digitized all of connections,” Sullivan said, “not just with each other, but with people, places and things.” Why would Facebook want to create such a search tool? Because it knows that people make decisions based on word-of-mouth, and in the case of Facebook “Likes,” there are few greater personal recommendations collected in one place at one time.

According to Nielsen, 92 percent of consumers worldwide “trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.” Furthermore, 70 percent of global consumers trust online customer reviews as a trusted source of brand messaging and information.

Photos of my friendsWhat does this new search tool mean for us as content marketers, SEO experts and social media practitioners?

In so many words: nothing that we didn’t already know. This isn’t another nail in the coffin of SEO — it’s another feather in the cap of smart marketers who know that relevancy is the most important element of any online marketing effort you undertake; whether it’s organic search, pay per click ads, social media blitzes or eBook guides and how-tos. Facebook has shone a super-bright light on what Nielsen, and all good marketers, already knew: word of mouth recommendations from the people we know and trust influence our brand decisions more than any other factor.

Now the hard part: it’s time to do the work and run the race. There’s no better time for creating community with your blog, inviting members to talk openly and honestly about your product or service. There’s no better time than now for tackling the research that leads to uncovering a new “top 10″ eBook guide, to pick up the phone, and let your industry know you have something new and interesting to contribute. There’s no better time than now to invite your customers to talk about you, and to give them the content to discuss – in Facebook, Google, Twitter and every other place they are engaging your brand.

Check out Slingshot SEO’s ebook on Valuing Digital Marketing Channels, and start generating content that aligns with your brand message and meets your customers in the digital realms of conversation where they’re waiting to talk about you.

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