The common thread in Facebook marketing advice right now is that marketers need to prepare for the coming Facebook Graph Search. This means fully optimizing your Facebook page, sharing photos and videos that encourage “likes,” sharing and engagement–pretty much what Facebook marketers should be doing all along. The focus is on putting yourself in the best possible position to be found in Facebooks search results.
The idea is that Facebook graph search places such a huge emphasis on finding information “liked” by connections that the more likes you have, the better chance you have in showing up in someone’s search results. It’s sort of like playing Kevin Bacon’s two steps of separation. The more people that like your page, the better chance you have of showing up in a search like, “Restaurants in Chicago, Illinois liked by friends of my friends.”
As I demonstrated last week, although still in beta my early testing with Facebook Graph Search was anything but successful. Along Facebook’s somewhat surprising and completely inappropriate suggestions as to my lunch-time needs (go back and read it if you haven’t) the prevailing strategy of increased page engagement didn’t pan out.
I personally believe that Facebook Graph search is about to have a huge impact on Facebook marketing but not for the reasons commonly suggested. I actually believe that once Facebook graph search rolls out in full force, it has the potential to turn Facebook marketing on it’s head.
How you ask? Sorry, you’ll have to wait. I’ve been working on demonstrating the coming shift in Facebook marketing and pitching it around to some other websites but haven’t had any takers yet. Chances are I’ll post it here next week.
The infographic below by Advantage Capital Funds outlines the basic strategy for being found in Facebook Graph Search.
A couple of key points I notice in the infographic that open further disucssion (Please add to my thoughs in the comments below):
1) Personal Searches
This is where Facebook is the strongest but I have yet to be convinced of the value from a user perspective. In an attempt to convince myself, I tried the infographic’s suggested searches:
Alright. I live on the East Coast so maybe not the best example. Let’s try Chicago. This brought up eight restaurants. The top choice might make for some interesting awkwardness for the unsuspecting but who knows, maybe the food is good.
Personal Search No. 2 “Setting up a date”
I’m sorry but this is just creepy Although happily married, for the sake of experimentation I searched, “Who are single women in (my home town) who like theatre”
In order to protect the innocent, I’m not going to show you the results but not only did Facebook provide a list of local single women who like theatre every one of them had a photo of their smiling face right next to information such as where they work (ie. waitress at ___), where they go to school (_____ high school…more than concerning) and although I didn’t push it, the opportunity to dig in deeper to their likes and interests.
Not so sure how a search like this fits into a business use but the results open big ‘ole can of concerns.
I’m not going to get into the details of my results for “Music my friends like” but apparently one of my old high school classmates is in a band and a lot of my friends don’t like the same music I do.
I’m not going to go into too much detail regarding business searches but I think this is where the power in Facebook Graph search may lie (more on this in my coming post). I did try searching “People who have graduated from college and like SEO” but it didn’t work. Apparently, there isn’t a Facebook page titled “SEO” for people to like (quick, grab it).
I believe that Mobile will make or break Facebook search. If the recommendations of friends are so important it is mobile where they will be needed most. The search for a restaurant your friends “like” becomes a completely different thing when you are in an unknown city and need a good place to eat.
Three problems standing in the way:
1) Will mobile devices integrate Facebook Graph Search on the same level they have integrated Google search?
For example, I can speak into my cell phone and say “Find a good restaurant nearby” and get a list of restaurants near me sorted by Google reviewer ratings. If I’m in the mood for Mexican or Italian food, I can refine the search even further.
Facebook’s partnership with Bing may make this possible on Window’s powered devices but I believe this is a long way coming.
2) Have Facebook search results been distorted by easy “likes.”
In other words, what does it really mean when I see a restaurant a friend has “liked” in the search results. Did he eat there once and “like” the page in order to get a free drink? Has he never been there but saw something of interest in their Facebook page and “liked” it? Is it his all time favorite restaurant?
At this point at least, I don’t know. All I know is that at some point in his history on Facebook, he clicked the “like” button on their page.
3) Will Facebook Graph Search do better with local based search results.
Facebook Graph Search does not yet appear to be available on mobile devices (at least not mine) so I haven’t been able to test this in the wild. However, my laptop based attempts were pretty much a failure. (Results here.) The problem with Facebook Graph Search for mobile/local as I see it is that instead of basing results on geographic location first, they appear to be based on Facebook Page engagement first and as my earlier results demonstrated even that appears to be suspect.
“Facebook Has Little or No Competition”
Although the infographic below states that Facebook has little or no competition. In terms of social networks, yes. In terms of search however, they have big, big competition. Google processes something like 2 million searches per second. That’s a lot of searching. Even if Facebook does have billions more users than Google, can they pull them away from Google search to Facebook instead?
So Will Facebook Search Make You Money?
Although I see huge potential in Facebook search, it’s not necessarily in the methods I’m seeing in the infographic below and elsewhere when it comes to advice in Facebook Search Marketing. It’s going to make someone money but I’m not convinced this is how it will happen.
So you tell me, is Facebook Graph Search going to be the game changer so many say it will and will the old ways of Facebook Marketing still apply to search? Let me know in the comments below.
Infographic by Advantage Capital Funds