While Bing is taking Google on directly, Facebook has its own plans to further erode Google’s strangle hold on search marketing. Graph Search only searches for content within Facebook, but with its 1 billion users, Facebook has a very wide and deep pool of data to access. This new feature will deliver results from everything a Facebook user has done on the site – from activities and photos to (pay attention, businesses) Page connections. What this means for businesses is that searching Facebook for products and services will deliver the businesses “liked” or even mentioned by one’s friends – and this could amount to a personal referral.
Businesses, who wish to take advantage of this powerful new search tool, may need to review and adjust how they are managing their businesses on Facebook.
Following are five steps business can take to improve their Facebook presence:
Increase the Page’s Friend Count.
Obviously, the more friends a Page has, the better the chances of being found on a search by one of their friends. (A corollary to this is to get friends who have a lot of friends themselves.) Having a dedicated and aggressive strategy, both on-line and off-line, to get people to “like” the page is the first step towards Facebook “SEO.”
While this may not seem intuitive to most business owners (especially our plumbing and HVAC friends) Facebook admits to a prejudice for photos, often giving them more “weight” in searches. The trick is to find relevant, interesting or amusing photos that will grab the attention of viewers – and then to tag them correctly (another SEO tactic) with business name, city, address, where the photo was taken, etc.
Leverage Profile and About Sections.
Because Graph Search, like searches in Google and Bing, can only return results based on the information it is given, the information in the Profile and About sections of Facebook should contain the right key words and phrases. This will assure that the business shows up in the Graph Search. The information should also be written so human viewers understand what the business does and how they do it. (Again, exactly like using the right key words for Google and Bing.)
Invite People to “Check In.”
For businesses with a physical location, Graph Search will increase the value of inviting patrons to use the “Check-in” feature. Check-ins allow friends to see all of their friends who have visited the location. Graph Search will include that information in search results, allowing an ever greater audience to see which establishments friends or friends of friends visit.
There have always been many reasons to post to Facebook on a daily basis. For one thing, an active page shows up on friend’s feeds more often and increases a Page’s reach. Since the Graph Search feature will look at everything posted on Facebook, the more relevant information available, the higher the chance of appearing at the top of the search results. (By the way, since Google and Bing also return results from Facebook, consistently posting the right things on Facebook will also help with SEO for Internet searches.)
While it is still in the beta testing phase, Graph Search promises to be an important piece of the marketing puzzle for businesses, who have seen the efficacy of their traditional marketing efforts erode.
Finally, a sixth step, for businesses serious about using Facebook in their marketing efforts, may be to hire a Social Media Marketer, who understands not only the Facebook platform, but also the marketing techniques that work on that platform.
For more information on Graph Search and how to use it see Facebook’s Graph Search Page. To start using Graph Search now you can become a Beta Tester.