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By: Susan Wenograd, VP of Digital Strategy, Interactivity Marketing 

Over the past six months or so, a surprisingly quiet roll-out has been occurring for Facebook’s search-based offering, which they’ve dubbed “Graph Search.” The initial reaction from people seemed to be that they were somehow trying to take on Google, with all this conjecture about the “why” of it. Here’s why—Facebook has more data about you and your social life than anything else on the planet (even Google, really). They’ve been slowly collecting it and sitting on it for years, so doesn’t it make sense to, you know, DO something about that?

How do you leverage these millions of little details about people into something usable? Do people care about what the legions of Grumpy Cat fans do or don’t like? We don’t really know yet, but that’s what Graph Search is trying to find out.

So, How Do I Use It?

Many businesses floundered with what to do once their “must have” business page was created. So I have a bunch of fans for my pizza joint. Great. Now what?

With Graph Search, people don’t just search for a pizza place…they search for a pizza place that their friends like. Or a pizza place that all employees of Google liked. Or a pizza place that their friends have checked into. Or a pizza place that Candy Crush Saga fans have visited (yes, seriously. Photographic evidence below).

When you put anything in the search box, it will prompt you to search based on social aspects:

 

fb1

 

It’s a meshing of a search engine and a social recommendation engine. It’s using all of the Facebook likes, check-ins, ratings, and finding correlations between them.

Oh, So I Have To Do Stuff with My Business Page?

Yes! Just like with Google, there are factors that rank the results you see when you use Graph Search. Those factors aren’t published, but based on experimentation, it’s generally agreed that the following things are factors:

  • Your Business Information—
  • Your Reviews—A few months ago, before I had access to Graph Search, I started noticing it was prompting me to give starred reviews. Then I realized it was for places I had checked into. I didn’t know why, but I do now—those averages are displayed with the search results. These are proprietary ratings to Facebook, they don’t aggregate them from Yelp or anything like that.

 

fb2

 

Facebook Local Search—Grab ‘em When They’re Close!

As we’ve seen with the explosion of Google Business and Google Maps, people like to search and find things in proximity to them when they’re out and about. Facebook is going there with Graph Search, too. There’s this wee feature on your Facebook app that you may not have even noticed. Formerly called “Nearby,” it was changed to “Facebook Local” (though on my phone it says “Nearby Places.” Maybe they’re still working on an identity crisis).

It works like Graph Search, but with the added feature of mapping things based on where you are. So your pizza joint? Yup, if someone wants to find pizza their friends have liked, and they’re only a block from you, you want to show up, right?

Ok, This Is A Lot, What Do I Do?

Don’t feel overwhelmed, and keep it simple:

  1. Encourage Facebook check-ins.
  2. Encourage reviews.
  3. Encourage and solicit conversations on your Timeline.

You make your fans, and they’ll make you rank.

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