Earlier this year, Facebook launched the Beta version of a revolutionary search function called Graph Search. Driven by user activity and engagement, Graph Search allows more specialized searches of Facebook information, with results that are personalized for each user based on their friends, behavior, and location.
With 2.7 billion ‘likes’ and more than 250 million photos updated daily, Facebook is striving to make its search tool more effective for its users. Here’s what Graph Search means for your business page:
Graph Search analyzes personal data to locate other people on Facebook who fit the user’s search description, based on their Facebook activity. That means users can filter by popularity as well as relevance, allowing them to find anything from organizations that their friends like and support, to former classmates who might live near a vacation spot, to friends of friends who work in a certain industry.
For businesses, this makes fan engagement on Facebook more important than ever. The more interaction and activity on a business page, the higher that business will rank in users’ search results – and what’s more, users won’t have to leave Facebook to gather information about the business.
Graph Search becomes a valuable tool when Facebook pages are well-optimized for search. Follow a few simple steps to reap the benefits on your business page:
Plan your content. Users engage on Facebook for a wide variety of reasons: to make connections, look up friends, explore new hobbies and interests, locate events, and much more. Different types of posts will resonate with different users, and with Graph Search, users can get even more particular about the information they want to see. A little pre-planning can keep your content personalized and meaningful to your fans.
- Research your target audience beforehand to determine what kinds of messages they’ll best respond to. In fact, the more detailed the customer persona you develop, the more relevant and engaging your content will be.
- Post different forms of content to engage your audience in new and creative ways. Ask questions, promote new products, share opinions, offer tips, or link to outside sources – the possibilities are endless. Just be sure that all of your updates have a useful purpose for your fans.
- Get visual. Facebook users respond better to images and videos than to straight text updates, so share pictures of your products, employees, or any other engaging subjects – and of course, be sure your profile boasts lots of striking imagery. Remember, though, that only photos uploaded to brand albums or tagged with your brand will show up in search results.
- Post new content regularly and frequently! Try to update your page at least twice a day. Schedule your updates with an editorial calendar, mapping out the topic for each post and when it will be posted.
Focus on engagement. Search results will show Facebook users just how popular your business really is – how many of their friends are talking about you and reviewing your products. Make the most of that publicity: turn your fans into brand evangelists! Encourage them to “Like” your page, stop by your store, share your photos, and generally spread the good word about your business. The more your fans are talking about you – and the more active you are interacting with them – the better chance your business has of ranking well in search results.
Polish your profile. Graph Search moves away from conventional keyword inquiries toward natural language processing, meaning that users can type search terms the way they would normally speak them. Since any results that include your business are generated from the information you provide, it’s important to paint a clear, consistent profile picture.
- Keep your profile data up-to-date, especially your contact info and any URLs. That may go without saying, but it does little good for fans to find you on Facebook if they can’t get in touch with you or follow your links.
- Make sure your information is as complete and accurate as possible. Geographic location, for instance, plays a large role in localized search results. If you deal in antique books and users in your area search for “book stores nearby,” you’re more likely to end up on their list if your profile includes your full physical address.
- Keep your business name simple and straightforward. Facebook searchability depends on engagement and interaction more than keywords, so let your name tell fans just what they need to know. If you’ve added extra phrases to your name to boost your visibility, it may be time to trim them off.
- Clearly define who you are and what you do. Facebook search results include a brief overview of your business based on the information you provide, so be creative in your About, Mission, and Description sections. Describe your industry, goals, interests, or specialties according to how you’d like to be found.
Make the most of your resources. In the same way Facebook users can search for business information, businesses can also find new prospects and customers. With activity-based searches, you can scout for users who like your type of product or service, meet certain demographics, or happen to be in your geographic area. Organizations can also look at users’ personal information to gain insights on their needs, challenges, and attitudes.
According to MarketingProfs, 80% of social media users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook instead of the brand website. Graph Search offers a golden opportunity for interaction! With the right approach to search optimization, Facebook businesses can build stronger relationships, widen their fan base, and even increase conversion rates.