Having a Facebook business page just became more important than ever. The social media giant announced its new product - Graph Search - on January 15th, and this will roll out to all users in 2013.
Up to now, Facebook's search function has been less than perfect, to put it mildly. The new Graph Search could be described as revolutionary, so much so that Google may even be a tad concerned.....
"Graph" in this context refers to what Facebook calls the "Social Graph" - the relationship a user has with friends, relatives, preferred music, pages they've liked and so on.
This is what Facebook says:
"With graph search you can look up anything shared with you on Facebook, and others can find stuff you’ve shared with them. Each person sees unique results."
Firstly, it will improve the experience for personal users. Say you wanted to locate photos a friend had shared several years ago - you could type "photos of me taken in London before 2010" and you'd be shown photos that fitted those criteria. The order in which the photos are shown will reflect their importance as attributed by Facebook, so a photo with lots of likes and comments will be shown first. You can even include workplaces in the search - and also Business Pages. So you could search "Friends who like Starbucks", for instance. Imagine how long it would have taken to do this previously. Although this new search is primarily Facebook-based, it will also pull in results from Bing (further down the page and highlighted in a different colour).
The basic search categories will be:
Photos of my friends
Games my friends play
Music my friends like
Photos I have liked
Basically because it will offer more opportunities for businesses to be highly visible on Facebook. Say you have a local coffee shop, and you've already set up a Facebook page. But you could still do with more customers even though your current clientele refer their friends to you. With the new Graph Search, if someone types in "coffee shop in ......(your town)", they will be shown all mentions of your coffee shop (with posts, checkins and photos) and a link to your Page. It won't just be mentions from their friends, but friends of friends too. No matter how small your business, you can still compete with the big brands on a level playing field.