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What Facebook Graph Search means for marketers

Facebook earlier today announced a new tool called Graph Search, which greatly expands the power of search on the social network.

Graph Search is essentially a search engine dedicated entirely to Facebook’s Social Graph. In the works for several years, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Graph Search will be a powerful new way for users to search for people, places, and things within their personal network.
Want to know which of your friends live in San Francisco? Simply search “friends who live in San Francisco.” Looking for music recommendations? Search “music my friends like.” See more examples of how one might use the new feature on the page Introducing Graph Search.

Facebook Graph Search for sales and marketing

For brands and marketers hoping to make an impact on social media, today’s announcement is especially significant. As Graph Search rolls out in the coming weeks and months, more and more of your customers will increasingly rely on Facebook for their purchasing decisions.
As an example, somebody looking for a dining recommendation could search “restaurants in London my friends have been to.” In this case, it would be crucial for your business to  have a presence on Facebook with complete location information filled out. Similarly, you can imagine users searching for “insurance agents my friends trust.” Your business page should be the first result!
Here are a few tips to optimize your Facebook Page for Graph Search:
1. Update your business page
It has always been important to keep your business page up-to-date, but with Graph Search it will be even more crucial. Under your Page settings, select the right category and sub-categories for your business, pick a vanity URL, make your address is correct, and update other information for your business. Indexing piles and piles of business pages across the site, Facebook will be using this key information to accurately surface your page in Graph Search results.
2. Connect with your customers
Boosting the number of likes on your business page is good for more than bragging rights–with Graph Search, likes are your entry point into search results. Specifically, the more connections you have, the more likely your page is to show up in a search. Nothing is more valuable than a recommendation from a friend, and now what may have been passive connections on Facebook have become searchable recommendations. Make sure to connect with your most loyal customers so that their friends and family have a good chance of finding you.
3. Keep sharing great content
As always, consistently posting photos, links, and other valuable content to your business page will remain a cornerstone to your Facebook sales and marketing strategy. Before, it was mostly important for keeping up your EdgeRank, the algorithm that determines how and when your posts show up in customers’ News Feeds. Going forward, we expect EdgeRank will also play a role in ranking you in search results via Graph Search.
Facebook says Graph Search “is available now in a very limited beta program for English (US) audiences,” but we expect it will slowly roll out to more users over the coming months. In the meantime, stay tuned to the Hearsay Social blog for more information on Graph Search and other Facebook tools.

Ronny Kerr

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