Facebook has recently rolled out its long-rumoured smart search feature called the ‘Graph Search’, taking internet search to a whole new level with intelligent features such as the ability of the search engine to understand a long-tail query in natural language. This means, unlike on traditional web search engines, you can now search using more natural phrases like you’d normally ask your friends (e.g. restaurants in Leicester that are near my office and serve sushi).”
However, despite its cool, smart features, many marketers already doubt whether Graph Search can have a real impact on businesses like Google search currently does, viewing it as just another Facebook fad to entertain its users. However, as an SEO service provider that focuses on helping small businesses, we see tremendous online marketing opportunities in Graph Search.
Here are 3 reasons why small business owners should care about the Facebook Graph Search!
1. Facebook ‘likes’ can now actually boost your business
In the past, Facebook ‘likes’ were mainly intended to help develop and increase company brand awareness on the internet. The more likes you had, the better the image of your brand there would be. Well, as of this year, it’s looking like there is going to be much more to a ‘like’ than meets the eye.
Facebook Graph Search pulls search results based on your connections and activities on Facebook, including the pages your friends have “liked”, to provide you with the most relevant results. So, if for instance you’re searching for a hotel in London, Graph Search will deliver the results based on what hotels your friends, fans, or followers have liked. What does this mean for small business owners? The more likes you have, the more your business will show up on people’s search results. This also means that buying fake Facebook fans won’t help you at all.
2. It’s a source of extremely targeted visitors using just word of mouth
Many small businesses have very limited budgets and resources for marketing, and therefore rely heavily on customers’ recommendations to others. On a normal web search, people usually look for product reviews on the internet before deciding to make a purchase, regardless if the reviews are genuine or not. On Facebook, it’s much simpler. You just post a status update on Facebook right? (i.e. “Anyone know a good restaurant in Birmingham?”). Yes that would work, but Graph Search allows you to achieve similar (or even better) results a lot easier and faster.
Users can now simply ask a natural search question on Graph Search, like: “Restaurants in Birmingham that my friends like”, or “Restaurants in Birmingham that my friends have been to”, and in just a matter of seconds, it will provide you with a list of restaurants based on your friends ‘likes’, ‘check-ins’, ‘interests’, and even photos of your product/store.
For small business owners, this is a great opportunity to boost their marketing campaign by simply asking customers to ‘like’ your page on Facebook, check-in at your store, or use your Facebook coupon promo. This will help you top the graph search results and bring fresh fine-grained traffic from your connections, without having to run a costly PPC or Facebook Advertising campaign.
3. It’s a Free and Powerful HR Tool
For small business owners, it’s never been easy to manually hand-pick the right candidates for the job. Sometimes the safest option for small businesses is to hire someone from sources you trust, which can be a timely process.
With the ability of Graph Search to understand long-tail searches, small business owners can now easily search, for something like, “People who have been an IT Engineer” or “Employees in my company who are friends with employees of Microsoft”, making it incredibly easy for you to find candidates from your own connections.
As stated by Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, at the launch, “Graph Search is very different from Google Search, and is not designed to take on the big brother directly. You might not (yet) see as much benefit as having your site indexed on the top of Google, but there’s definitely great marketing opportunities on Graph Search to boost your online presence on the Internet, and ultimately help your business grow.”
All in all it may be worthwhile ensuring your business Facebook profiles are up to date regarding industry, location, size and description. There is also never any harm in getting your target market connected to your business, and who knows it may just pay off in the land of Facebook.
Do you think Facebook Graph Search can really help small businesses to grow? Tell us what you think on the comment section below!