Using Facebook Graph Search For Business

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How can business owners optimize Facebook Graph Search?

It’s the Facebook feature we’ve all been waiting for!  The ability to find things on Facebook — A bank of one billion+ users that log in from their home, office, and mobile phones.

While Facebook Graph Search offers a wealth of opportunity for business, it all begins with the user.  As of February 16, 2013, the social graph search feature is still being rolled out for personal profiles.  We do not know if this feature will eventually be made available for brand Pages.  So, in the mean time, we can optimize our personal experiences in using Facebook Graph Search for business.

Introducing Facebook Graph Search

For those that have not been introduced, or that want to learn about it from the spark of it’s release, watch this quick video:

We’re only about a month past the release of Graph Search.  There are surely many phases of improvements yet to come.

As an individual – A business owner and Facebook Page Admin – Everything on Facebook starts with your personal profile.  What people will search for and find about you depends on how you elect to arrange your personal settings.  What you will find about others depends on how they arrange theirs.

For those concerned about that factor, I’ve created a guide for you: How To Safely Prepare For Facebook’s Graph Search.  It includes how to get on the waiting list if you are not already there.

Before You Jump In…

First, if you own a business and DO NOT have a Facebook Page – Now is the time to create one!  Follow these steps to optimize it.

While the system is still maturing, use this time to gain ground and create an interactive page with a growing number of fans.  The number of likes on a page indicates it’s popularity to Facebook, and in turn it gets more priority in a search.  Consider where you sit compared to your competition.

Facebook also considers the number of likes on a page “social proof.”  So, it gives the Page and the words attached to it graduated weight in judging what it thinks people are searching for based on number of likes to pages in it’s category.

Using key words in posts for FEO (like SEO, but for Facebook) has been under utilized until now.  Those that make posts and status updates on their pages with key words will be rewarded in the Facebook Graph Search “engine.”  Consider it like aligning text on your website for on-page optimization.

Regarding photos and images: You should be putting a keyword rich description on all images — especially those that represent your brand.  Also tag each image with your brand name, so it appears in Facebook search results.

Graph Search will make it easier for people to find your business and learn more about it.  In fact, Facebook wants to help people discover your business.

Using Facebook Graph Search

All you have to do is put your cursor in the search bar, and Facebook will give you a list of potential searches.  Here is what will appear automatically:

Facebook Graph Search

Facebook will allow you to create your own specific search.  Some examples:

  • “Type of food” – Typing in ‘Chinese food’ gives you a list of options for Chinese food local to you.  For business lunches, perhaps?
  • “Friends Who Like” – Add a niche word to your industry, and you can see who potential fans or collaborators are.
  • “Popular Topic” – Typing in ‘coffee’ – You’ll see options for people with this name, groups, pages, and an Interest Page.  Head to the interest page, and you will see information about coffee, friends that like coffee and related pages, friends’ photos of coffee, and the related pages.

It takes a few clicks, but if you drill down into conversations, you can find out where you should be interacting to make useful connections for your business.

Note: You will notice that choices that come up before choosing your search appear semantically.  Facebook is actually trying to understand more about what people are searching for.  Right now, search is only positive.  It does not honor “not” or “don’t” in searches.  So, at present, Facebook will not tell me who my friends are that are NOT a fan of my page (yours either).  ;)

Example searches to try:

  • Friends of yourself that are fans of a competitor’s Fan Page.
  • Fans of your page that like a specific interest.
  • Fans of your page that work at a specific company.

For a look at some highly interesting Facebook Graph Searches with visuals and helpful tips, see this post.

Facebook Features For Businesses To Consider

Optimizing Threaded Comments

Not all Facebook Pages have threaded comments.  As of the time of this post, this feature is only available on selected pages for testing.  I am fortunate enough to have this on my page.

As an Admin, I’ve noticed that conversation is increased and easier to manage.  As noted above, increased interaction on pages is the goal.  As well as optimized posts — updates with key words may become key.  Here’s an example of threaded comments:

IGM Threaded Comments Example

If we were to speculate on where Facebook Graph Search is going, and Facebook is encouraging Facebook page owners to invest in their page, the test of threaded comments might also indicate that conversations may be well-searchable in the future.

A smart Facebook Page Admin may conclude that both posting and commenting with key words of their niche is smart – Interacting on-page, interacting on Facebook as your brand, and as yourself, the ambassador of your brand.

How Promoting Friends’ Posts Can Work For Pages

When I first heard of this Facebook feature, I thought it was out of line and even dangerous.  But in researching this post, it became obvious this can be leveraged by Page Admins to forward their business message in an untraditional way.

Lets say you make a post on your page that is favorable of your brand, your brand message, and would be helpful to others.  Here’s an example of such a post from my Facebook Page:

IGM Engagement Rate Explanation w Shares

This would be the optimal post to attract new fans and hopeful super-fans for my brand.  You’ll notice that the post was shared.  If one of those shares is from a friend of mine, and I saw this in my news feed, according to the specifications of the new Promote Friends’ Posts feature, I could promote my friend’s shared post.

Why would I want to do that?

1) This does not violate any privacy settings.

2) Hopefully I’ve developed enough of a relationship with this person that I know they are a trustworthy source and I would like to attract others like them.

3) This post will show up in their Facebook news feed – To people my page may not already be connected with.

Hopefully this post would be noticed by people that would be ideal fans for my page and the information within would attract them.  This would also keep my brand top of mind with people already connected to my page that saw that promoted post.  I picture this feature like giving a post some “extra turbos” across the Facebook landscape.

Assuming a Facebook Page Admin is optimizing their Page and Page activity for Facebook Graph Search, this would enable more people to search and find the brand being promoted.

Is this something I encourage frequent use of?  No.  We need to use our people skills, best judgement, and social media etiquette not to abuse our Facebook friendships.

Note: I did a search for “Fans of (my page) that shared (posts & photos) of (my brand),” but it appears Facebook is not supporting the “share” search option at this time.

Your Takeaways

Facebook Graph Search is especially helpful for gaining understanding of your fan base, getting a leg up on your competition, and learning where you can make alliances to better position yourself and your business on Facebook.

  • Fill in your Facebook Page with accurate information rich in industry key words.  Be sure your address is correct so you can be found for your local area.
  • Build your page now.  Work toward achieving a large number of likes with the goal of engaged fans that produce interaction on your page.
  • Make status updates and comments with key words and niche words.

Just jump in and search — Don’t be afraid to get your searching fingers dirty!  The worst that can happen is you don’t find anything.  You can simply go on to the next idea for search.

Your Turn

Are you using Facebook’s Graph Search?

What have you found helpful?

What’s on your Graph Search wish list?

Please share your questions and thoughts in the comments box below…  :)

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Keri Jaehnig
Keri Jaehnig is the Founder and CMO at Idea Girl Media, an international Social Media Marketing Agency. Keri helps business brands, non-profits and public figures achieve social media success and positive online reputation. Keri's work has been featured at Forbes and Social Media Today, Search Engine People, and she has been quoted by Business Insider. She also writes for her own blog at ideagirlmedia.com. In 2013 Keri received a Small Business Influencer Honorable Mention Award, and a commendation for Outstanding Attainment in Social Media from the State of Ohio Senate. Non-fat lattes, travel & quick wit make her smile, and Keri is always enthused to meet new people!
Keri Jaehnig

@kerijaehnig

Social Media Director & Founder @ideagirlmedia helping brands, public figures & non-profits achieve social media marketing success! #coffee #likeableblogs #Ohio
Take Some Time and Do a Social Media Cleanse http://t.co/A3iJ9UR1Sy via @CustomFitOnline - 6 mins ago
Keri Jaehnig
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