Several months have passed since Facebook introduced Graph Search, making a major footprint into the Google-dominated search world. Now, consumers can find what they need based on what their friends enjoy and recommend, and easily form connections with people who have mutual interests.
Not surprisingly, Graph Search was on the minds of search and marketing experts at the SES Conference in New York City at the end of March. Glenn Gabe, Digital Marketing Consultant at G-Squared, and Clayburn Griffin, Organic Search Director at GroupM, shared insights on how Facebook’s new search tool will impact brand and consumer interactions as well as page ranking. Both speakers made it clear that among the many search-ranking factors, the quality of Facebook Fans—people who value the brand’s updates and actively engage with its content—will greatly impact a page’s ranking. To succeed, organizations need to fully integrate themselves into the Facebook community by publishing consumer-centric content that motivates engagement.
Graph Search: The marriage of reach and relevance
In a world where consumers are bombarded with more than 3,000 brand impressions per day, it’s more important than ever for search engines to deliver content specific to the individual on the other side of the screen. Capturing and prioritizing an endless amount of information is a key goal for both Facebook and Google. Arun Sundararajan of Wired notes that while both companies are making clear strides in the information economy, neither has claimed full ownership over both reach and relevance. Graph Search is Facebook’s attempt to move upstream, leveraging consumer-specific data to deliver high quality results.
Graph Search allows users to discover, at scale, the interests and recommendations of their primary network through search queries initiated in natural language. For example, instead of trusting Google’s restaurant recommendations or soliciting friends’ preferences on the fly through a Facebook status update, users can enter “San Francisco Restaurants my Friends Like” into the Graph Search tool bar. It’s safe to say that the restaurant more engaged with its community will claim the top search result and win over new customers.
As Camella Mendez wrote on Content Marketing Institute, the introduction of Graph Search has the potential to level the playing field between Facebook and Google, challenging marketers to put more blood, sweat and tears into branded Facebook efforts. However, as long as content remains at the core of organizations’ Facebook strategy, marketers will be well positioned for success.
Quality content breeds engagement: For marketers, the same rules still apply
In addition to the minor housekeeping to-dos, such as ensuring that all page information is up-to-date and encouraging check-ins, marketers must fuel brand pages with compelling content that audiences will enjoy and share. Franchises can also advise fans to leverage Facebook’s mobile Local Search feature (formally known as Nearby) to find specific locations while on the go. By tapping into consumer passions not directly associated with products and services, like Ben & Jerry’s birthday shout out to Willy Nelson (pictured on the right), brands will increase the People Talking About This score (PTAT) — which is an important sign that customers find the page valuable. Consistently posting quality content that fans interact with will strengthen the page’s value to the community, increase search ranking and ultimately bring in new, valuable customers.
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Adam Vavrek is a sales operations analyst at Skyword.