An Introduction to Facebook Graph Search

Having a Facebook Business Page just became more important than ever

Yesterday (January 15th 2013), Facebook announced a major new development.  Following speculation as to whether it would be the much-discussed “Facebook Phone”,  we learned that it was in fact a significant upgrade to Facebook’s search function.   In the past this feature has been less than perfect, to put it mildly! This article gives a brief introduction to Facebook Graph Search and explains the implications for individuals and businesses.
Facebook Graph Search
The new product is called Graph Search (take a look at the videos on the link).  “Graph” in this context refers to what Facebook calls the “Social Graph”  – the relationship a user has with friends, relatives, preferred music, pages they’ve liked and so on.

This is what Facebook says:

With graph search you can look up anything shared with you on Facebook, and others can find stuff you’ve shared with them. Each person sees unique results.

 How it works

Firstly, it will improve the experience for personal users.  Say you wanted to locate photos a friend had shared several years ago –  you could type “photos of me taken in London before 2010” and you’d be shown photos that fitted those criteria. The order in which the photos are shown will reflect their importance as attributed by Facebook, so a photo with lots of likes and comments will be shown first. You can even include workplaces in the search – and also Business Pages.  So you could search “Friends who like Starbucks”, for instance.  Imagine how long it would have taken to do this previously.  Although this new search is primarily Facebook-based, it will also pull in results from Bing (further down the page and highlighted in a different colour).

The basic search categories will be:

[unordered_list style=”tick”]
  • My friends
  • Photos of my friends
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Games my friends play
  • Music my friends like
  • Photos I have liked
[/unordered_list]

 Why is Graph Search important for Businesses?

Basically because it will offer more opportunities for businesses to be highly visible on Facebook.  Say you have a local coffee shop,  and you’ve already set up a Facebook page.  But you could still do with more customers even though your current clientele refer their friends to you.  With the new Graph Search,  if someone types in “coffee shop in ……(your town)”, they will be shown all mentions of your coffee shop (with posts, checkins and photos) and a link to your Page.   It won’t just be mentions from their friends, but friends of friends too. Can you see how this has the potential to increase your trade?  No matter how small your business, you can still compete with the big brands on a level playing field.

Even if you’re not a “bricks and mortar” business,  Graph Search still offers the potential for wider exposure. Any time any of your fans like, share or comment on your updates, this activity goes into their social graph.  Instead of your updates disappearing off the radar after about 3 hours,  the information will be preserved for ever – and will be searchable.  Pretty powerful stuff!

Is Graph Search available yet?

Apparently the beta version has been launched to a select few users –  there’s no concrete information as to when the full product will be rolled out.  You can sign up for the beta here, (scroll to bottom of page)  but it does say “US English”users so I’m not sure if my application will actually be considered!

What do you think about Graph Search?  Will it make a difference to how you use Facebook?  Let me know in the comments.

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Need help setting up a Facebook Page for your business?  I’d love to hear from you – get in touch now on 01777 249075 or email me info@purrfectlysocial.co.uk 

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Thanks to Mashable for their early coverage of the launch of Graph Search.

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