One of the most important factors to consider when executing a successful direct marketing campaign is to identify your demographics, and, at an even deeper level, understand your customers on a personal level. Every successful marketer needs to know their audience: What types of things do they like? What interests them? What types of needs do they have? What are their recent behaviors and activity?
Facebook’s Graph Search, currently in beta, can offer insight into each of these unanswered questions, allowing marketers to paint a much clearer picture of who their audience is and what they want on a personal level.
A Snapshot of Graph Search
Graph Search is being seen by many as Facebook’s answer to personalized search results offered by Google and Bing, with one major twist: It takes a deep dive into users’ social behavior and social circles. In essence, the Facebook Graph accumulates information about every user, page, place, photo, post, etc., and correlates these pages with interactions such as friendships, likes, check-ins, tags, relationships, ownership, attributes, etc. As a user interacts with other users, brands, and pages, Facebook gathers this information and develops an aggregated profile of the user.
What makes Graph Search unique is its search functionality, which enables “natural language,” as opposed to keyword-based searches. Graph Search will look at what you type, and determine what it is you’re looking for (or at least try).
Why Is It Important to Direct Marketers?
The aggregation of social data can become very important to direct marketers looking to answer questions like “What other brands does this person like?” “What types of things do the person’s friends like and what do they have in common?” Valuable direct marketing customer data is often gathered through traditional and digital marketing channels, where marketers then place customers into segments, with an end goal to determine who the customer is as an individual.
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Graph Search is essentially a free word-of-mouth tool taken to the next level. With reviews from family and friends being trusted by more than three of four consumers, Graph Search presents an excellent opportunity for marketers to interact with individuals and expand throughout that user’s social circle (friends, family, friends of friends, etc.) This will generate a huge amount of fans and visibility for free, which is rare on Facebook.
Graph Search also allows marketers to insert queries such as “product managers who are not my friends,” as a recruiting or lead generation tactic. Graph Search gives marketers the ability to look at a snapshot of their customers’ interests and determine which of their friends like similar brands, pages, or services, ultimately assisting in prospecting and new customer acquisition.
For marketers, the first step in the process is to make sure a Facebook brand page has been established, including page name, category, web address, company location, and about section. Additional visibility to a page can also be achieved through purchasing Facebook ads. The next step for marketers is to become active on Facebook with their brand pages by sharing content such as photos, videos, and other posts that users can interact with and share. The greater interaction users have with a brand’s page, the more visibility it will gain.
Once marketers establish an initial fan base, they can then dive into search a bit more to discover patterns and use collected information to identify new prospects through their social interactions and the people connected to them. When these patterns have been identified, marketers can then adapt their direct marketing tactics by reaching prospects in new places and changing messaging.
Direct marketers have the ability to take a deep dive into the world of Facebook, as Graph Search enables users to see what brands and pages others are interacting with. This information can only be useful if a company or brand Facebook page has been established and regularly updated, offering share-friendly content for others to see. The customer data gathered through Facebook can not only lead to new customer relationships on Facebook itself, but also across all marketing channels to create a targeted experience.