The importance of Facebook Graph Search for Brands
I am very excited about the future direction of Facebook and on January 15th they provided an indication of their future direction with the announcement of the very cool Facebook ‘Graph Search’.
Facebook Graph Search is being positioned as the key third pillar of their platform alongside ‘News Feed’ and ‘Timeline’. As a Facebook user ‘Timeline’ is where you post your content and ‘News Feed’ is how that content gets distributed. Essentially Graph Search enables you to use the rich socially syndicated data that Facebook has pertaining to your ‘friends’ behaviour on Facebook, and how they interact with brands. Facebook is adding a new type of search behaviour that over the next couple of years will see us change how we search. Graph Search delivers unique personalised results relating to brands from people you trust. So for example, if you search for ‘restaurant in Rathmines Dublin’ your search results will be based on your Facebook connections graph recommendations and/or interactions your connections have had with this brand at a local level.
Bringing Search back to a Local Level
Facebook’s Graph Search brings a number of considerations for marketers. Firstly, if you are a brand with many locations you need to think locally now. You may have put a huge effort into building a slick brand page but you need to think about how your brand is represented at a local level. It comes back to people and where they do business.
If your search query is local in intent, your Facebook Brand page is essentially not relevant. Why you may ask? Lets say you are new to an area and you search for a good gym to train in, you are not going to see search results that point to a corporate brand page of a gym chain a friend of yours has liked. You are now going to see results of physical gym locations containing phone numbers, directions etc. that rely on your connections at a local level through local pages.
Steps We Should Take to Ensure Graph Optimisation
To ensure your brand is ready for this dramatic shift in your Facebook marketing strategy, complete the following steps to ensure your brand is optimised to rank well:
- Get your local places listings house in order: ensure you have the correct contact details, opening hours, geographical location, longitude and latitude.
- Delete duplicate and unauthorised places pages.
- Start marketing locally to encourage customers to Like, Check-In, submit reviews and tag photos to local listings.
- Ensure local listings are claimed under the ‘Parent-Child’ relationship.
- Create local specific shareable content on local pages.
Facebook’s Graph Search is a new concept and as such it will provoke and require a change in consumer thinking and behaviour. As my grandfather used to say, “it is always the first up in the morning who is the best dressed” therefore, the earlier brands begin to adopt a Graph Search mind-set, the quicker they can be relevant to their customers and as early adopters, gain a short term competitive advantage over their competitors.