Earlier this month, Facebook revealed a new way to search. Facebook Graph Search is a product designed to allow users to leverage their network of friends to find photos, dates, businesses, restaurants, music, and much more, all based on the data generated from Facebook friends.
While Facebook Graph Search is currently in beta, it is important to consider how this new product might affect your business and the search industry as a whole.
How does Facebook Graph Search Work?
Facebook aggregates all the information contributed by your network - likes, check-ins, tags, photos, etc. and indexes them to expose search functionality. The search bar is replaced with a new search box, and suggested categories for searching (including My friends, Photos of my friends, Restaurants nearby, Games my friends play, Music my friends like and Photos I have liked) appear. Users then enter their search query into the box to produce the results that Facebook determines are most relevant.
While some details are certainly in flux due to the beta nature of the product, Facebook has already confirmed that likes and check-ins on Facebook provide signals to increase your brand's rank and visibility. Therefore, it is important that before this product is adopted across Facebook that you set your business up for success now. So, let’s walk through some initial tips on how to optimize your brand page for Facebook Graph Search.
Optimizing your Business Facebook Page
Here are some basic tips for optimizing your business page for Facebook Graph Search:
1. First, if your business does not have a branded Facebook Page, create one. Your business can be listed in this search product even if you haven’t created a Page. So, rather than allow your business to show up without meaningful context, be proactive and create a page.
2. Customize the vanity URL of your Facebook Page to match your business name. Consider including keywords that users might include in their search (such as facebook.com/searchscholars).
3. Update your “About” section with keywords that your target audience uses to search for you. Specify the name, category and information about your business to be as relevant for users as possible and provide context.
4. If your business has a physical location or a local place Page, make sure your address is up-to-date so that individuals searching for a place nearby can find you.
5. Finally, build a relevant fan base for your Page and drive engagement with them on a regular basis. Encourage customers, friends, family and business partners to “like” your page.
This last point is an important one. Since Facebook has already revealed that your ranking is determined by the number of quality likes and relevant check-ins your Page receives, focus on building and driving these types of numbers.
Tips to Drive Check-ins
6. Discounts: Consider rewarding customers for checking into your business by providing a discount or free service.
7. Contests: Host an accomplishable contest (“Be the 100th customer to check-in to our restaurant and receive a free meal”).
8. Physical signage: Leverage signage in your place of business or place your Facebook Page information in your promotional materials. This can be a great way to expose users and encourage activity on your Facebook Page.
Tips to Drive Likes
9. Interests: Appeal to users’ personal interests to drive likes.
10. Humor: Consider using humor and entertaining content in your posts to personally relate to customers.
11. Cute photos: Don’t forget to post the occasional cute photo on your wall - shares are a great way to gather viral traffic.
12. Leverage your own network: Posting frequently to get people to like your page is considered “spamming,” but ask when you set up the page and every once in awhile to your network.
In summary, while its too early to know how successful Facebook Graph Search will be, implementing the above recommendations will help you stay ahead of the curve.
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