What Facebook Graph Search Means For Your Business
If you've been following the social buzz lately, you’ll have already heard of Facebook’s new search engine called Graph Search. The new engine was announced to the public on January 25, 2013 and will start being implemented in its beta phase in the next few months. Integrated with the Microsoft search engine Bing, Graph Search aims to provide Facebook users with the ability to quickly find friends with similar interests. For instance, a quick Graph Search would tell you who, amongst your friends, is already a fan of INM on Facebook.
What this means for your company
If your company isn't already on Facebook, Graph Search should be a wake-up call. With the new search engine, people will be able to immediately view recommended suppliers, brands and establishments. With one search you can find a dentist that a friend goes to, or a local restaurant your friend has visited in San Diego and liked so much he joined their Facebook page. Building your presence on Facebook will therefore be more important than ever. What used to be a nice way to connect and stay in touch with people you’ve already reached will become a word-of-mouth goldmine. Graph Search will immediately prove that you have gained the seal of approval from a person’s friends and create positive word-of-mouth about your company with minor effort.
This is especially important if your business provides services that aren’t easily evaluated before consumption, for example a dental clinic. Those services are hard to evaluate before having to spend money, and people are therefore more reluctant to try them without any recommendations from their peers. Word-of-mouth is therefore especially important for services. With Graph Search, a person looking for a dentist will see which dentists have been “liked” by their friends in that area. People who visit your business and have liked their experience enough to “like you” on Facebook will now become evangelists, even if they don’t actively recommend you to others.
What to do
Your first move should be to create your organization’s Facebook page and start promoting it on your website and other social channels you have. You should also promote your Facebook page in your physical locations so that people who visit your business have the reflex to go visit your page and “like” you. You can also create promotional materials such as discounts and special offers that are only available to your Facebook followers to create an incentive for following you and for generating positive word-of-mouth.
What not to do
A cheap way to get people to quickly like a Facebook page is to launch a contest with a nice prize and to promote the contest by asking people to first “like” your page. Unfortunately, what you end up with are un-engaged followers who might not even remember that they liked your page. This could eventually backfire and generate negative word-of-mouth if people find out your page wasn't authentically liked.
Be vigilant and remember that, in exchange for their “likes”, you should provide some direct value to your followers, like interesting and relevant content or special offers/rewards related to your business or target audience.
If Graph Search is done right, Facebook has the potential to become a peer-endorsed version of the Yellow Pages that includes friends’ recommendations. Just like having your name in the directory is a must-have if you want people to find you, having a Facebook page will become indispensable for leveraging this great source of word-of-mouth.
For more information about Facebook Graph Search, visithttps://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch