This week Facebook dropped an interesting new product on its hundreds of millions of users - Graph Search. You can click here to check it out on your own, but what it boils down to is that Facebook is now allowing you to do what it has been allowing advertisers and app makers do for years, which is search through their massive collection of billions of personal and social connections to see what is liked by who you know and where and when they liked it. So, for example, you can see what kinds of music your friends who live in San Francisco like. Or, to what Mexican restaurants your friends in New York City have been. The possibilities are almost as endless as the connections. And while it is cool and shiny and new and interesting, the most important question for regular readers of this blog is what impact will it have on small businesses who use or plan to use Facebook as a marketing tool?
The initial answer seems to be "not too much" or "completely game changing and dramatic" depending on who you ask. Our answer for the home performance industry is somewhere in between for now. There should be a real and immediate impact - people and businesess will be much more findable now as opposed to before, especially on mobile with the introduction of the Nearby feature. But once again the service business finds itself squeezed into a not-quite-right mold for local search. Since there's not much relating to home performance or anything service-related in the screengrab below, we see the greatest impact being on local businesses who bring customers into their location like restaurants, coffee chops, local stores, and other place where people check in and advertise their presence.
What To Do Next
Everthing we've been telling you about Facebook still applies. It is an important platform for your business that you should be planning to use in a serious way in 2013 and beyond. This fact is only more true given Facebook's move into search. They shared some useful tips for making sure your business page is as easy to find as possible, but we've condensed the most actionable part below:
- name, category, vanity URL, and "About" information all relate to getting your page found in search - make sure they are perfect
- if you have a location or a local place Page, make sure your address is fully updated & accurate so you can be found locally
- focus on getting the right fans to like your page and interact with the content you reguarly post
What do you think about Facebook Graph Search? Any ideas about how it will effect local businesses? Let us know in the comments!