Since its launch on January 15th, Graph Search has been heralded as Facebook’s game-changing third pillar redefining the role of search on the digital landscape. As is the case with any major announcement in the social space, our Brand Channel Management team was sent into a scramble, testing, analyzing and optimizing in order to determine how this new product would affect brands and marketers at-large.
The long-term effects of this product still remain unclear. However, based on observations and recommendations that we have presented to our clients, we have developed a list of themes that brands should remain mindful of as the product roll out progresses:
1) Graph Search Engine Optimization – SEO has traditionally been treated as a separate but equal piece of the digital marketing mix. Savvy marketers have already been training their social media teams on SEO. But now that Facebook is actually making an effort to improve how users discover information within its vast eco-system, it’s time for social media managers to seriously apply SEO best practices to social media. How you produce copy; how you fill out your brand profile; how you publish; all these steps will require SEO review.
2) Location, Location, Location – With the adoption of mobile optimization in social media, location is increasingly becoming an important factor in how users consume digital content. Facebook is already making strides to provide users with relevant data at the local level. Therefore big brands need to update their social eco-systems by focusing on how they provide useful information at the local level now that they are in direct competition with local pages.
3) Size still matters – In recent years social marketers have increasingly valued quality over quantity. There’s no mistake that engagement is still the holy grail of social media marketing. However, in the same manner that the number of in-bound links to a website affect search engine ranking online, the size of your community partially determines how you rank on Graph Search’s results. So building scale is still key.
4) Show me what you got – If Facebook is trying to follow the path of Google into the search business, it’s only logical that image search will be the next big focus of development within Graph Search. After all, if images are the single most popular type of content shared on Facebook, it goes without saying that users will be searching for images through Graph Search a lot. Publish fun, shareable images and make sure that it’s discoverable.
While Facebook representatives have reiterated that they will not be launching new advertising capabilities at this time, I envision them developing a paid search product down the line similar to Twitter’s promoted tweets via search if Graph Search proves to be a lucrative product. When paid media will be introduced, no one knows. But while the playing field is still level, it may be helpful to get a head start on your competition by adapting to Graph Search.