If you’re like me, you get all kinds of useful information from posing questions in your Facebook News Feed. Till now, getting information on Facebook has been limited. I try to be focused and relevant (so my friends can ignore and move on if it doesn’t pertain to them) – “Local friends, who can recommend a dentist?” “Fellow foodies – what’s going on with food trucks on TruxMap?” I was therefore excited when, a few months ago, Facebook announced Graph Search. Graph Search is Facebook’s social graph that maps each connection between every user, and provides a new way of gathering information. It basically takes all the details of every profile in our networks and makes them available for search. According to Mark Zuckerberg, Graph Search contains a billion people and over a trillion connections.
Putting the New Technology to Use
A few days ago Graph Search was rolled out to everybody in the U.S. I’ve tried it for two searches so far. I’m taking my family to St. Louis for the first time to see a Cardinals baseball game and wanted to check if any of my friends had connections at the park for good seats. I searched “friends from St. Louis who are Cardinals fans” and got no search results. So I expanded my search to Friends of my Friends and got 23 results. It turns out I had met two of them before. I reached out to one of them, and ended up with great seats to the game, a hotel recommendation and tips on visiting the city museum. The next search I did was for my husband, who is going to India. I searched “Friends who have been to India” and got five results. Graph Search makes it easy to drill down and refine your search. Next I clicked on Places they’ve visited in India, and then Photos from these people in India. When we were done going through all the information we had a personal snapshot of things to do and see in India through the eyes of friends we know and trust.
As this is a new feature, it is somewhat limited. For now you can search photos, people, places and interests. But I expect its capabilities will continue to grow quickly, and more and more data will be available.
Applying the New Technology to Your Business
So far I’ve discussed Graph Search from a personal standpoint. But what are the implications from a business and marketing standpoint? It is even more important now for you to grow your company’s presence on Facebook. Your content, likes, shares, referrals, links – are all pieces of data that you want to be found when people are searching. The appeal of Graph Search is that it provides personal information from trusted sources. In my opinion people are going to embrace it. Look at restaurants for example. Did you know that 89% of consumers research a restaurant online before eating there? Consumers are already trusting sources they DON’T know – think of the potential now that these consumers can get recommendations straight from their friends. Don’t be left behind – continue to build engagement and relevant content on Facebook. And have fun playing around with Graph Search for your personal searching!