What Facebook Graph Search Means for Your Practice
Facebook has unveiled its plans to launch a revamped search function curiously named Graph Search (all search, no graph). The search will still be powered by Bing but integrates friends’ information such as Likes and check-ins, making a social search. The change is an effort to give businesses power to their hard-earned fanbase and also improve the very dysfunctional current search.
Today, we give you a quick rundown on how Graph Search works and what this means for your practice’s social media marketing strategy.
How Graph Search Works
Graph Search is still in beta and going to be released at an unannounced date this year. According to screenshots, Graph Search begins with providing options to search from: Friends, Restaurants, Games, and Music. Each can be searched by different variables, such as personal data, like Restaurants you have checked in at; or friends’ data like music friends are listening to; or public data, searching for photos of cats that have been made public.
Bing will also provide web searches within Facebook and Bing ads will display alongside the web results. The implication of Graph Search is that Facebook users can cull through the collected data of Facebook easier and personalize it in any way. When it comes to privacy, Graph Search will only show information to friends, and information the user has made public.
Facebook Graph Search Solidifies Need for Business Pages
Graph Search will allow businesses to be found more easily than they are now. You can search for “dentists Liked by my friends” or “dentists in New York” and a list of dentists meeting that criteria will display.
Businesses with the most Likes will be displayed first, which is how Facebook is bringing businesses back into the game. After the backlash from cutting down on the numbers of people who see their posts, and making businesses pay for Sponsored Stories, Facebook needed a tool to make those Likes valuable again.
The factors that will matter to businesses when it comes to Graph Search are, Likes, check-ins, and photos. Patients who interact with your page, and identify with your page, will help spread your name to connections using Graph Search. To play the game, businesses will need to generate Likes, and ask for check-ins – or even location-tagged photos!
Potential Concerns for Your Medical or Dental Practice
There are many reasons Graph Search will have issues, especially at launch. To begin with, Facebook users don’t use the search function. They know it doesn’t work compared to the search experience in Google. Facebook will need to promote its Graph Search, besides the elaborate announcement press conference, to actually get users to change their behavior. When it comes to information, Graph Search is going to pull from the data you have given on your “About Me” section, check-ins, and photos. It isn’t going to comb through your conversations with friends, or status updates. Which it should, in case you checked in at a restaurant and didn’t like it. Facebook users also don’t fully fill out their profiles. If they don’t put their city, activities, etc. they won’t show up in results.
For businesses who don’t have a Facebook profile, they too won’t show up in results – but their competition with profiles will. How crucial this is to a businesses’ bottom line remains to be seen, but the potential to expand a digital presence has many businesses optimistic. If you want to get on the waiting list to test the beta version, go to https://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch.
As it stands now, Graph Search is still very much a wild card. Will Facebook users and businesses adopt this new approach to social search? How will Google respond? Will it even work? There are more questions than answers at this point, especially because the majority of the Facebook community hasn’t experienced Graph Search yet.
But one thing is clear: Facebook is going to throw a lot of weight into the search game, just as Google has done with social. Fasten your seat belts, this is going to be a very fun and very exciting year as we watch these two companies battle it out for internet dominance.
Images via Mashable