Facebook has gone through some major changes in 2012. Timeline was officially launched and the photo app, Instagram, was acquired. The social media giant is not wasting any time in 2013. As of Wednesday, January 15, 2013, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced a new feature that will be released to the public shortly. The new search tool is known as Facebook’s Graph Search.
The browsing experience on Facebook will be significantly improved from this search tool. Consumers will be spending more time on Facebook, doing more searches and finding more pages and brands to ‘like’ and engage with. It is going to make it even easier for customers to discover your business. Google’s search efforts will certainly be challenged by this new Facebook tool.
So, what does this mean for business owners? First of all, this means you need an active Facebook presence if you do not already have one. There is no reason for a business to avoid creating an up-to-date Facebook page. It’s free to set up, and it makes it easier for customers to find you. Some estimates put Facebook in the forefront for b2c marketers for lead generation. 77% of them report acquiring customers through Facebook. 43% of b2b marketers report the acquisition of customers via Facebook.
Prior to the release of Graph Search, users could perform keyword-based searches that can often return various results. These results are often hit or miss, even when searching for a specific brand.
With the new Facebook Graph Search, users will be able to query businesses and pages that their friends like, recommend, or otherwise engage with. This is serious marketing stuff when considering that 90% of people turn to friends for brand recommendations. 71% of them are more likely to buy a product or service if someone referred it to them on social media (source). These statistics are generally reserved for eCommerce inbound marketing, but we expect them to be similar for other b2c and b2b marketing Once Facebook Social Graph is released and continues to be utilized by clients, we’ll see more startling statistics pouring into the online marketing world.
A search tool that utilizes each consumer’s interests and engagement activities as key components in providing results to other Facebook users is something that most brands should take immediate advantage of. A business with a strong Facebook presence will benefit from the feature, while businesses that are nonexistent will continue to be invisible in the social media world. At least for Facebook users that number is more than one billion today. That’s a huge potential audience to lose to your competitors.
As of now, you need to sign up for a waiting list to use Graph Search. The official release date is indefinite, but it is expected to be a slow process. More information on Facebook Graph Search can be found here.