Facebook’s Graph Search: What Does It Mean for Your Business?


By now you’ve probably heard that Facebook introduced a new feature called Graph Search on Tuesday, January 15th, but do you know how it works – and more importantly, how it will affect your business?

What is Graph Search?

Just in case you aren’t entirely sure of what this new feature actually does, here is a simple definition. Facebook’s Graph Search is essentially a closed social search engine within the Facebook platform. It’s currently in Beta testing and those lucky few guinea pigs can currently search for:

  • People
  • Photos
  • Places
  • Pages for Businesses

Facebook’s goal is to provide users with a comprehensive search function that allows them to find not only current friends and their content, but to discover new things to do and see based on what their friends like and even to connect with new people based on common interests. For example, you will be able to search for things like:

  • All of the photos that you’ve liked
  • All of your friends who live in Boston
  • People in your area who enjoy hiking
  • Places to eat in your area

How Will This Affect the User Experience?

While designed to enhance the user experience, and surely in many ways will, we see Facebook’s Graph Search as having two areas of concern.

    1. Privacy – Graph Search is supposedly sensitive to a user’s privacy settings, limiting the amount of real connections you’d actually be able to make. In order for Graph Search to work as intended, Facebook relies on us, its users, to offer up all of our information willingly. You can expect many users to opt out in order to avoid being found, meaning Facebook’s search results will not be as comprehensive as they could be.

    2. The Lemming Effect – You’ve probably chosen your friends due to shared interests, but that doesn’t mean that you are carbon copies of each other. For example, I have some friends with whom I share a common love for specific music artists. However, these are not the people to whom I would go for a recommendation for a great Thai restaurant. And that is the beauty of friendships; you can appreciate each other for your sameness, but also for your eccentricities. With true buy-in to Facebook’s graph search, will we all be seeing the same movies, listening to the same music, going to the same restaurants, losing that unique make-up of interests and experiences that makes us who we are and become just like everyone else?

What Does This Mean for Your Business?

When it comes to searches for places and businesses, Graph Search results will highly depend on engagement. Essentially, rather than those who have spent the time and energy on SEO, those with the most Likes, Check-Ins and Shares will be given preferential treatment in Facebook Searches. This means that, should Graph Search become fully adopted, increasing your company’s efforts on Facebook will start to pay off (or your lack of effort will begin to impact your business).

With the introduction of Graph Search, we must re-evaluate our presences on Facebook and boost our efforts to drive user engagements.

Have a Facebook business page but not sure how to take it to the next level? Contact us for a social media strategy consultation and boost your Facebook engagement so you’ll be ready when Graph Search is officially rolled out nation wide.

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