Taking another look at Facebook Graph Search

April 25, 2013 Jennifer Online Presence

When Facebook announced mid-January the new Facebook Graph Search, I immediately signed up and began exploring the beta version. The graph search tool is a new Facebook feature that is expected to compete with search engines like Google by providing more meaningful search connections via your friends. You can now search your friends/fans by similar interest, pictures, locations, and likes.

With Facebook Graph Search you can find similarities you share with your Facebook friends/fans by searching for things like “people who like to skydive,” “people who like Vans” or  “photos my friends took in NYC.”  You get a list, starting with people you know and it progress to 2nd degree relationships (friends of friends) and so on.

The graph search allows users to search using multiple search criteria. For example, “my friends who like Walt Disney World” gives me a list of 18 friends (one search term) that like Disney World (second search term). CNET points out the potential of graph search for more engagement based results.  They also point out that it can be a little difficult to learn.  “The average person won’t immediately know how to find exactly what he or she is looking for, nor will a newbie understand the myriad things they can search for or find through Graph Search. There is steep learning curve here.”

After spending some time with the graph search, I found it was a bit disappointing.  It wasn’t the all-inclusive “ask me anything” that was originally touted by Facebook.  Disheartened, I stopped using the graph search. I wondered, “How is this useful for small businesses?”

A few weeks later, I tried it again.  I found that searching by “likes” is a good way to categorize your fans and friends into different groups where you can target specific marketing messages to them. The graph search is also a good feature to research your competition.  If you’re in the auto business, you can look up “car dealerships” and check out the local car dealers’ Facebook pages and see what social media tactics they have tried, what works, what doesn’t, and how they are doing.

Want to know more?  Check out Inc.’s 3 Things to Know About Facebook’s Graph Search or call your local ASBTDC to find out more uses of the graph search for your business.


About Jennifer Neubauer

Jennifer served as the marketing and training assistant at the ASBTDC Lead Center through May 2013.

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