Whether or not our friends have ‘liked’ a recently uploaded photograph, or tagged us in an event of some sort, self-esteem will either sweep like a pendulum across the plains of our sense of pride or plunge us into the depths of bleakness normally reserved for matters of a more sobering nature. So, with the arrival of Facebook’s new graph search facility, this social networking phenomena has the potential, perhaps, to help us further extend our reach to even make our day.
Hide or seek?
Once activated, graph search provides answers to questions by referencing things shared by Facebook friends (and others who have posted ‘public’ information) within the context of their profile information. Thus each person finds unique results tailored to their interests in a similar way to their news feeds. But to get the best from this new tool, we perhaps need be more aware of what we are communicating to our friends. Review privacy settings to ensure that personal things you wish to keep hidden stay out of sight of the curious. People can search for what you have ‘liked’ and your posts are also visible where once they were hidden behind your profile page.
Benefits to business
Graph search may have potential for small business’ or for people wanting to sell something that they no longer require. As a search tool it can help find the perfect party dress, or show you how to sell your laptop online. Since searches are not so much to do with brands and everything to do with finding content specified by location, such as a hairdressing salon or pet shop, business’ should be thinking about encouraging their patrons to leave helpful comments or reviews on their Facebook wall.
Extending your reach as a business is what it is all about. Build up a loyal fan-base with essential, up-to-the-minute information in the usual way. Restaurants and retailers can boost rankings if they find ways to relate to fans who post a check-in. Get creative with special offers for repeated check-ins, for example. Get fans talking about what your business. Not all fans will have either the time or inclination to write a review, but by the time they have decided what to have from the lunch menu they have often also, almost absent-mindedly, taken a few seconds to check-in at the same time.
Share and share alike
Word of mouth marketing like this should be harnessed at every opportunity. In its most passive sense, it is a bit like buying a band’s T-shirt at a concert then wearing it around town. People are showing public support for the music they like and telling everyone around them all about it. People want to share their stories across a multitude of platforms which enable this. They are able to personalize their narratives and show off a bit, whether they have just sold their old laptop or ordered champagne in the coolest new restaurant in town.