How Will Facebook’s Graph Search Affect Business?

Facebook's Graph Search for businessAt a January 15th press conference Mark Zuckerberg introduced Facebook’s newest feature – Facebook Graph Search. This social-driven search engine allows users to discover people and pages through their social networks.

It is a different approach than organic search engines like Google. Graph Search plays on Facebook’s best features – its immence user base and its ‘like’ and ‘share’ features. Each user will have unique, personalised search results based on their Facebook friends’ posts, likes, and shares.

Boosting Site Engagement

There are no immediate plans to monetize Graph Search, but there certainly is potential for that in the future, in the form of promoted search results and targeted advertising. Even though Facebook does not plan to make money directly off of Graph Search yet, the feature could potentially increase site engagement considerably, which would mean more ad revenue for Facebook.

Despite the fact that there is not yet going to be advertising through Graph Search, this feature could have a big impact on businesses, and could help increase visibility of their posts and pages. It will take some work on business’s behalf though, and earning those ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ is going to be more important than ever to rank in search results.

Implications for Business Pages

Graph Search will allow users to find places and pages that their freinds have liked or shared. For example, you could enter a search query like “What is a pizza place in Portland that my friends like?” and you will receive personalised results based on places your friends like or follow. While recommendations and ratings from users on sites like Yelp can be really helpful, a recommendation from a friend in your network could be even more meaningful.

I could see this having the biggest effect on local businesses, but it’s certainly not limited to that. Graph Search could be a great tool for people to discover just about anything through their friends’ common interests.

Businesses are going to have to earn likes and shares on their business pages. The more engagement you can garner with your page, the more likely it is that people will discover it through the search. The nice thing about Graph Search is that it will help users find much more relevant results, so if a business can find a strong circle of influencers it can gain a lot more visibility to a well targeted audience. Again – probably the best targeting will be local audiences for brick and mortar businesses, but I could also see people searching about common interests, which could help gain exposure for other sites and media in a niche category.

Preparing for Public Release

Graph Search is still in beta, but when it reaches the public it could have a big impact on the site. This means that now is a good time to make sure your business page is updated with correct information and to start earning those likes and shares. If you work on increasing your visibility now, Graph Search could help a lot of new users find you when it finally gets released.

How will you prepare of Graph Search when it goes public?

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Ross Wilson is a writer, musician, and technology guru. He has worked in many facets of technology and IT since 2005. He also plays in, records, and runs social media for several bands and projects around Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his cat, Lewis.

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