Prepare Today for FB New Search Feature lg_0On January 15, Facebook made a much anticipated announcement that it had released a new feature of Facebook called Graph Search. CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said Graph Search is now the third pillar of Facebook, complementing its’ News Feed and Timeline features. So what is Graph Search and how might this tool help small businesses?

Graph Search is a new way of searching. Where typical search engines use keywords/phrases to deliver results, Graph Search uses networks and connections the user already has to deliver results. Graph Search allows people to use their friends as filters for information in search results. For example, a user can search Facebook for a great Mexican restaurant in Denver. Graph Search will return results complied from content friends have posted.

What does Graph Search mean for your business?

While it is a little early to tell, it appears that Graph Search has the potential to be a powerful source for word of mouth recommendations. It could mean that visibility for your brand, products or services by highly targeted consumers could improve.

You may be asking yourself how Facebook, which isn’t a search engine, will have the ability to return search results on your business. That is where their partnership with Bing comes into play. Bing is the search engine behind Graph search and in some cases its web results will appear on Graph Search. If you have a strong search engine marketing campaign, meaning you have bought your keywords and have sponsored listings, you will have a better chance of showing up within Graph Search results.

How can you help your business be ready for Graph Search?

Since Graph Search is essentially searchable word-of-mouth marketing, businesses should ask themselves what they need to do to show up in these results.

  • Optimize your Facebook pages – If your business doesn’t have a Facebook page today create one and update it frequently. In order for your business to show up in relevant search results, you should provide as much information as possible. This includes your name; address; email address and URL to name a few. Make sure to keep contact information current.
  • Encourage Interaction – Encouraging people to interact with your page. This can be done by allowing people to check-in at your location or asking them to like and comment on your blog. To be successful with this tactic, you must have compelling and timely content on your pages.
  • Uncover Consumer Insights – Graph Search has the potential to be an excellent consumer research tool. You can pose search questions/requests on Graph Search such as “show me what type of places 30 somethings frequent.” Gather these results so you can target your advertising campaigns based off of the results.

While Graph Search has a lot of potential, it doesn’t have the depth of local information compared to websites like Yelp! So for now, we have wait and see how its future unfolds.

What do you think of Facebook’s new Graph Search feature? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.