Along with countless fellow social media managers and tech junkies around the globe, I was glued to my computer screen (more so than usual) this past Tuesday afternoon at 1pm EST, waiting with bated breath for Facebook’s latest big announcement.
Zuckerberg, in his typical jeans and t-shirt uniform, unveiled the social network’s newest feature: Graph Search. Basically, this is a way for users to easily search information that has been shared with them.
The Graph Search function will appear at the top of each page and users can enter queries such as “my friends who live in New York City” or “my friends who like ‘Homeland'” (guilty), and even, “my friends who live in New York City and like ‘Homeland.'” The results will then appear in a new page that the user can customize and save. And to be clear, “results” do not mean links. Zuckerberg made sure to point out that Graph Search is designed to actually return answers to the user–again, not links. Currently, Graph Search filters by people, photos, places, and interests (things people have officially “Liked” on Facebook).
While the above example might be helpful in planning a weekly “Homeland” viewing party among your friends, there are also implications of Graph Search for businesses. Since users can also make queries like “yoga studios in Washington D.C.” and “businesses my friends like in Nashville,” the question then becomes:
How can you make sure your business shows up in this new search?
In Tuesday’s blog post following the announcement, Facebook outlined steps for businesses to take in order to make sure their pages are optimized for Graph Search. But what does this really mean for businesses and the social media managers that run their pages?
If you’ve been maintaining an updated page that engages fans, then keep doing what you’re doing. There are obvious steps to take, such as completely and comprehensively filling out the “About” section for your business and updating your address–but these are things businesses with a solid social strategy in place will have completed already.
Other, less-obvious strategies are good marketing practices regardless, and will now make a difference in where your business appears in search results. Graph Search is, at base, all about word of digital mouth, so be sure to share a variety of different content (photos, videos, etc.) to engage your fans. You want your current fans to interact with your material and in turn, share it with their networks. Good content will share itself.
While the true effects of Graph Search on businesses have yet to be seen since it is still in beta, putting out good, creative, engaging content is nothing new, and has been the strategy behind many a successful campaign. Bottom line: Content is still king. Appearing in Graph Search should not be the ultimate goal for your business, but rather, a natural result of your overall strategic marketing efforts aimed at connecting with your fans and customers in meaningful ways.
What do you think of Facebook’s Graph Search and what it means for business pages? Let us know with your comments below!