There’s much talk going on at the moment regarding the new Facebook feature “Graph Search”. It is currently still in private beta with a waiting list for individuals and businesses.
What is it?
The company’s founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, recently said in a press conference announcing the feature that “It is a completely new way for people to get information on Facebook”. Graph Search allows users to find people in their circles of friends and acquaintances, local businesses, and movies and TV shows. Initially, the feature will let users search four categories (people, places, photos, interests) and gradually will expand to cover all content on Facebook.
What’s the potential for businesses?
Facebook is at the moment motivating businesses that are already on Facebook about the benefits of Graph Search, and also incentivising the ones that are not to create a business page. Graph Search will make it easier for people to discover and learn more about businesses, especially on a local perspective.
If the results are relevant enough to make this feature a success (which we believe they will) users will become more active on Facebook, rather than just being passive seeing the results on the News Feed. They’ll get used to searching inside Facebook. A user will be able to search for a “pizza restaurant that my friends like” and they will get results taking into consideration his location, showing pizza restaurants nearby.
The company also plans to offer Graph Search on mobiles, which would be a version of the “nearby” feature that recommends restaurants and landmarks close to a mobile user’s location. With the increase of social media users connecting through mobile devices, this clearly shows a tremendous potential for businesses.
Facebook has not yet announced any advertising products that Graph Search will develop in the future, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on since the benefits for businesses can be even greater, possibly creating some sort of rivalry with Google.
Optimise your Facebook business page
What you can do now is optimise your Facebook Business page so when the new feature is in place you can quickly see the benefits:
- Make sure you have all your business details on the “About” section
- Add your location
- Share photos and videos on your page
- Invest on delivering content that makes your fans interact: the most popular pages are the ones that will show first on the search results
What other implications for businesses do you believe Graph Search will have in the future? Do you think it will compete with Google? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.