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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.

Anatomy of the New Facebook Pages Brand Timeline

Note: All Facebook Pages will automatically transition to the brand timeline format at the end of the month. The following is a chapter from our how-to guide for the Facebook Page Brand Timeline Redesign, a free resource featuring everything you need to know about the new social marketing tools.

The number one thing to know with the new Facebook Pages is that this is the page users will see when they visit your brand on Facebook. No more fan-gating and no more auto-redirecting users to custom-created tabs. This is it. So it’s important to understand each individual component and the part each plays in the whole picture.

  1. The cover photo is easily the most visually striking element of Facebook’s new brand pages, and you can bet that it’s the first thing any user will notice when they visit your page. Images uploaded as covers must be a minimum of 720 pixels wide.
  2. Layered above the cover photo, the profile picture is the second most important visual element of the timeline. Many brands will find this to be the perfect place for their logo, especially since this is the image which users will see alongside your posts in the News Feed. Your page name will appear in plain text to the right of this photo.
  3. Directly underneath the profile photo is the about section, where you can share basic information about your business, like founding year, contact information, location, and any other general info.
  4. To the right of the about section are the app buttons, which replace tabs from the old Facebook Pages. Only four of these buttons are displayed automatically, and the first of these is reserved for Photos. The other three, and any others made visible by clicking a small arrow on the right, can be customized by the business page administrator.
  5. The Facepile displays all the people who have liked your brand’s page. If a visiting user has friends who have already liked the page, then those users will be displayed in the Facepile first.
  6. Timeline
    a. Post: The blank box on the top left side of the timeline is an ordinary input box for you or your fans to post a status update, a photo, or any other content to share on the timeline.
    b. Just like on the Facebook Wall of old, the actual timeline displays the newest posts at the top and older posts as you scroll down. One nifty innovation of the timeline is that it displays fewer posts the further back in time you go, so that it’s easy to learn about a business’s whole history in one quick overview. Add compelling content from your early years for those users savvy enough to explore your past!
    c. Pinning holds a status update, photo, or other piece of content of your choosing to the top of the timeline for exactly seven days.
    d. Highlighting extends the width of posts across the timeline, making them more clearly visible as users scroll down the page.

Now that you’ve read this chapter, read the full how-to guide for the Facebook Page Brand Timeline Redesign. Learn about the new rules for cover photos, how you should transition from the wall to the timeline, and other digestible tips for creating the best possible business page on Facebook.