I know, it’s not called Facebook+, but how could I resist?
Zuckerberg christened it Graph Search and chances are you don’t have access to it yet as it will be in beta and will be rolled out slowly over a period of months – kind of like Google+ was. (You can join the waiting list here.)
You’ve likely seen news, reports and analysis of Tuesday’s big announcement so I’m not going into details about it here.
I’ll give you my take, a heads up on how to prepare for Graph Search and a look at some possible negative repercussions.
Just as Google expanded its model from search into social by adding a “Plus” to its name, Facebook expands from social into search by creating its own search engine, Graph Search.
As Google+ isn’t a direct competitor to Facebook, Graph Search isn’t a direct competitor to Google.
Why should you care?
If you’re in business, you can’t ignore Google or Facebook.
If you already have a Facebook Page, there’s some work you will have to do to prepare for Graph Search. (This means more time invested in managing your Page.)
- Grow your fan base with quality “likes”. Facebook’s stock may have dropped a bit, but the value of a “like” took a huge spike.
- Assess your Page management and cover the basics like making sure your local business info is complete and include relevant keywords.
- Be sure to have Facebook links on all of your internet real estate. Did you know that only 19.5% of small businesses have a link to their Facebook page on their website?
My fellow SteamFeed author, Keri Jaehnig includes this helpful checklist in her post: How To Safely Prepare For Facebook’s Graph Search:
- About – Is this key word rich?
- Likes – Is your brand connected strategically?
- Timeline – Are your milestones & events noted correctly?
- Photos – Do they all have descriptions & appropriate tags?
- Apps – Too many? Not enough? How are your settings?
- Facebook Ads – Brush up on how to write ad copy!
“If you love Facebook, you’re going to love Graph Search. If you hate Facebook, you’re going to hate Graph Search.” – Mike Elgin
People who love Facebook and spend a lot of time there, will have even more reason to do so. (Average user spends 8 hrs a month on Facebook. Canadians spend even more)
With Graph Search, you can check inside Facebook to see what your friends think of a restaurant then check on Google to see what the experts have to say.
Personally, I trust most critics over my friends whose tastes lean towards poutine and cheesecake. I don’t see Graph Search causing a lot of Google Plussers to move over to Facebook but it might motivate some Facebookers to move over to Google+ due to privacy concerns.
“There may be a wave of unfriending and deletion of interests, fewer checkins, removal of personal details and pages getting unliked. In fact, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing. Just because I like a page to see their updates does not mean I am recommending them to my friends. -Michael Currey -Facebook
What could be some negative repercussions of Graph Social?
1. “Like” gamification – Mark Traphagen wrote in his blog post:Facebook Graph Search, Search Quality, and the Meaning of Like:
“Not only are recommendations based on Facebook Likes of dubious value, Graph Search may be about to cause them to get even worse, in an inflationary spiral.”
We could see a rush to buy or obtain “likes”. Although Facebook maintains that the quality of the likes are more important that the number, that won’t stop many Facebook Page owners from gaming the system as much as they can to weigh the results in their favour.
2. Expect a crop of SGO (Social Graph Optimization) experts to sprout up. Facebook Page management has just gotten more challenging. People won’t be so free with their likes. Nurture existing customers – they’re the ones who will spread word of mouth.
3. Savvy users will lock down their privacy settings and be be more conservative about “liking” brands. The side of effect of this is that the value of a “like” will increase as people will be reticent to have it thought of as a recommendation.
4. People will tweak their profiles either by making them non searchable or making sure they can be found if they want to:
- Find a job
- Find a date
- Avoid getting fired
- Find clients
Reputation management will become more important.
5. Your private becomes public knowledge. People who don’t pay attention to their privacy settings and post “public” mostly will find that everything they have share on Facebook becomes discoverable and used by people they don’t know.
“Public is the new social norm.” – Mark Zuckerberg.
Tool Tip: PrivacyFix is a browser app that points you to privacy concerns on Facebook, Google and other sites and alerts you to changes and issues.
Do you think that Graph Search will improve your Facebook experience? Please leave a comment below!