Rachael Genson is an Account Executive at INK in Austin, Texas. Tweet her at @rmgenson.
Facebook recently rolled out its new Graph Search feature to all English speaking users; and while its functionality for the average user is apparent after almost eight months of being in beta, all of us community managers are wondering what benefit Graph Search will bring to our business’ social communities.
For those who aren’t familiar with Facebook’s latest project, Graph Search is a way to mine the troves of information available in your social networks to find little pockets of gold most relevant to you.
For example, I can search for “Social Media Club members in Austin, TX” and Graph Search provides a list of anyone who makes mention of that in their profile.
Essentially, it provides you the ability to search using real language — an ability that up to this point has seemingly been reserved for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
For business, Graph Search creates huge return on investment and brand potential, and here’s why:
Better search results; less time – In the past, community managers were forced to search for potential brand enthusiasts using a single keyword, or scouring competitor pages for relevant targets. The process was tedious, and didn’t often result in a comprehensive list of potential fans. With Graph Search, searches can be infinitely more targeted so that the right people can be discovered in a shorter amount of time, allowing you to spend more time on the thing that truly matters -– engaging with that community you worked so hard to build.
Potential for less advertising – In my experience, brands create ads as a way to drive new consumers to their page. Though cheaper than traditional advertising, purchasing ad space on Facebook can become costly and doesn’t guarantee that the ad will be clicked. Facebook’s Graph Search essentially gives brands a way to reach out to their desired audiences directly and personally, without emptying the ad budget.
More topical conversation – Though not available currently, Facebook hopes to make it so Graph Search is able to search across posts and comments (in its current iteration, it can search through profile information only). By doing so, Facebook is making it possible for brands to see what is currently trending with their relevant consumers, and essentially, insert their company into that conversation. It’s a feature reminiscent of Twitter’s Trending Topics – a tool that has proved incredibly useful for brands.
It’s important to remember that Graph Search is still in its infancy, so there are bound to be a few hiccups along the way. But like any tool of value, if given enough time, it can prove a useful resource for your company, your social community, and your bottom line.