COURTESY OF FACEBOOK
What happens when you merge search with word-of-mouth? Facebook is hoping that idea is going to change the way that you use the Internet. It’s the basic idea behind Graph Search, their newest innovation. First introduced in January, Graph Search is now being rolled out to the general public. It leverages all of the content created on Facebook by users to give you a highly personal search engine. It indexes pages, apps, places, interests, status updates, notes, captions on photos, and check-ins.
For a better explanation of what Graph Search does, here’s what Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had to say:
Graph Search and web search are very different. Web search is designed to take a set of keywords (for example: “hip hop”) and provide the best possible results that match those keywords. With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: “my friends in New York who like Jay-Z“) to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that’s been shared on Facebook. We believe they have very different uses.
How does it work?
First, you have to “activate” Graph Search. To do so, go here, scroll down until you see the large button that says “Try Graph Search.” When you log back into Facebook, the feature will now be available to you.
When you want to search, enter terms into the search bar at the top of the page. Graph Search’s usefulness is limited to specific types of searches, but when it comes to those searches, it can’t be beat.
Let’s say you want to know what your friends think about black and white photography. You can search for “Posts about Black and White Photography From My Friends” and it will return all the posts that your friends have ever written that mentions black and white photography.
Or you could alternately search for “Friends That ‘Like’ Black And White Photography,” and see which friends have listed it as an interest. Even further, you could search for “Posts about Black and White Photography,” and return all the (public) posts that mention the subject. Like I said, it’s specific in it’s utility, but it’s utility is endless.
Here's what it looks like:
How To Use It For Your Business
Facebook has turned into a marketing tool for most photographers. It’s a way to generate leads, connect directly with your clients and fans, and talk to like-minded individuals. Graph Search is only going to optimize that experience for your business, so long as you know how to use it. While Graph Search is still very new (and we’re still figuring out how best to use it), here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Identify Your Target Audience And Find Out Where They Gather
There’s a couple of things you could search for here. You could search for your fans via “People Who Are Not My Friend Who Like MY PAGE” and then investigate what groups your fans are a part of. Or you could search for “People Who Are Not My Friend Who Like X INTEREST RELATED TO PHOTOGRAPHY,” and then see what groups they are a part of. Either way, it gives you an insight into either what your fans like or what your target fans like.
Then you can join those groups, participate and gain fans on a grassroots level. Obviously, if all you do is spam people, you are likely going to turn people off, not on. However, if you participate in a helpful and useful way, more likely than not, you are going to interest people in your presence and influence them to investigate you further.
2. Do Your Own Market Research And Tailor Your Content
Let’s say you don’t know who your target audience is. You’ve been posting on Facebook for a while and you’ve amassed a lot of “likes” but your still not sure who you are appealing to exactly. That’s where you would use Graph Search.
First you can search for fans’ interests by searching “Favorite Interests of people who like MY PAGE” or you could search for pages your fans like by searching “Pages liked by people who like MY PAGE.” If you notice that everyone that likes your wedding photography page also likes cooking and exotic French food, you can add new content that appeals to them, like recipes, food pictures and restaurant reviews.
People are always wondering how to create new, appealing content for their Facebook page. This is how you find out what is going to work.
3. Beat Your Competitor’s At Their Own Game
This has to be one of the most powerful ways to use Graph Search. If you do the same market research on your competitors’ fans or business leaders in your area, you can find out what is making them so successful.
You can search for “Favorite Interests who like COMPETITOR’S PAGE” or search through competitors’ Facebook posts that received an exceptional amount of likes. Once you figure out what is making them so successful, you can replicate their strategy in a way that speaks to your photography business.
If you aren’t even sure who your competitors are, Graph Search can help you find it out. You can search for a type of business in a particular location or locations. You can even limit that search to businesses visited by people who have also liked your page.
4. Go into Detail
The level of detail that you can get with Graph Search can be scary sometimes. It can also be useful. Not only can you search for “Fans who like MY PAGE,” but you can add on other terms. Let’s say you are looking for some new potential clients to target for your wedding business. You could search for “All Women In MY STATE, over the age of 26, who are engaged.” Boom, now you have X number of leads to follow up on.
While it might come across as creepy to contact them directly in Facebook, you could send a mailer or advertise in groups or areas where they might see the post. Or if you find that you have mutual friends, which Facebook will tell you, you can contact them for an introduction.
How To Make Sure Your Business Is Ready For Graph Search
If this sounds intriguing to you, it pays to optimize your business page for Graph Search. It will make it easier for it to show up when other people search for terms related to your business (which is the other huge way that it can help your business).
To do so, make sure that your business profile and “About” section is completely filled out and professional. Make sure you add photos to your page and be sure to add locations and tag your business and other people.
In addition, turn off the privacy settings on your page so that everything is public.