Having survived both the ‘dog fooding’ (where it’s tested internally by Facebook employees) and beta phases, yesterday saw Facebook Graph Search finally roll out to the mainstream US audience.
But what on earth is Facebook Graph?
Good question. Unlike web search – which takes open questions and provides a myriad of broadly relevant information back via links, – Facebook Graph Search takes a specific query and returns a specific answer directly on the page itself.
While Facebook Graph Search is not, therefore, a direct competitor to Google, it could provide a legitimate alternative for certain kinds of search queries, particularly those where the recommendations of friends are of significant value.
For example, if you want to find restaurants nearby that your friends like or a gym liked by women over 50 in your town, then short of conducting a poll yourself Facebook Graph Search is the one way to get hold of that information.
It’s one of a long list of changes the social giant is implementing this year and again, like Home and Reader, Facebook Graph Search seems to be primarily about engagement.
Will it drag users away from Google? No. Will it help keep people already on Facebook, on Facebook? Quite possibly. And with their 1 billion strong audience ready to try whatever’s thrown at them, a bit more time could mean a lot more revenue.
What is Facebook Graph used for?
At its core Facebook Graph is a search engine. This means you can run searches using natural language to find certain types of users. By users I mean, by the way, current or former customers – and, of course rivals.
In terms of criteria, you can search using:
And of course, a lot more. Truth be told, Facebook Graph is often used to get intel on the competition. That way businesses can search for rivals to see how they measure up.
The learning curve (pun most definitely intended) that comes as part and parcel with Facebook Graph helps organisations and firms to improve their strategies through learning.
Four marketing benefits of using Facebook Graph Search
#1 Stronger brand presence
People can use Facebook Search to search for things their friends like or for businesses nearby. This means your brand will be seen not just by more users – but more relevant ones.
#2 Better follower insight
Have you ever wondered what your Facebook followers’ interests are or what demographic they fall into? Now you can get these much-needed insights and market to those with similar interests.
#3 Research your rivals
You can use Facebook Search to learn what fans of your competitors like. Just think – a whole new audience for you to target as part of your brand-new marketing strategy.
#4 Networking opportunities
Find your ideal target audience – be that new customers or partners – and connect with them. Whether you want to build up a bank of useful leads for remarketing, find influencers, or build relationships with local businesses, nothing’s off the table when you use Facebook Graph Search.
Needless to say, if you want to step up your digital marketing strategy, I’d love to help. Why not book a free call with a member of our team – we promise not to talk too much about graphs and bar charts.