Cracking the Code: Using Facebook Graph Search to Inform Your Content

By Kelly Kauffman

In January 2013, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s newest feature: Graph Search. While these new changes will affect how users search on Facebook, they also distinguish the social media giant from regular web searches. According to Facebook’s press event, Graph Search is “designed to take a precise query and give you an answer, rather than links that might provide the answer.” With this feature, Facebook is now focusing on people, places and interests, and most importantly, content, which will shape how brands market themselves on Facebook.

After this announcement, many social media and tech geeks (including myself) were ready to get their hands on this new feature, as it will change the way users and brands approach Facebook. So, let’s bring out the the techie in all of us, put on our lab coats and dive into the world of Graph Search.

The Basic Elements of Graph Search

The main selling point of Facebook Graph Search is to “Discover restaurants, music and more. Explore new places to eat and new bands to listen to – all through people that you know.” With Graph Search, you will become your own researcher, finding the next big thing through your personal searches.

Users are now in control of finding local businesses and brands that appeal to them, all while having the ability to refine searches by location (“live near”), relationship (“visited by” and “liked by my friends or family”), Page or Place type (musician, restaurant, employer, interest, etc.), and even gender (“male” or “female”). Facebook users can be more specific about the types of pages they’re looking for, making it important for brands to optimize their Facebook Pages for Open Graph searches.

Brands won’t be left out of the advantages of Graph Search, as they can use this feature to build out their content and find better ways to connect with users both online and off.

Say you’re an apartment community, and you want to write content about upcoming concerts in your local neighborhood. Why not use Graph Search to figure out which artists your fans love?

Bands liked by people who like Beacon at Waugh Chapel

Or perhaps you want to select a venue for your next meetup. Pick an organization that is closely aligned with your target audience, and see which bars are liked by this group of people.

Bars liked by people who like San Diego Advertising Club

You can even tailor your venue recommendations by workplace! (hint hint, buy us a beer!)

Bars liked by people who work at Thunder SEO

When sharing content on Facebook, you want it to be the best and most relevant to your fans, so they can engage through liking, commenting and sharing. Finding what others like in addition to your Page, helps facilitate the type of updates your fans would like to see.

This is only the beginning of Graph Search, as there are endless ways to find exactly what you’re looking for, and connect with other users. Since Graph Search is still in beta, make sure to sign up for the waiting list! There are plenty of people who cannot wait to start experimenting with this, so the sooner you gain access, the better.

Taking Advantage of Graph Search

With the introduction of Graph Search, the focus will now shift heavily on quality content. The best way is to start small, before you begin navigating your way through Graph Search.

Revamping your Page’s information is a great way to start, because this will lead to more opportunities to show up for queries. Start working on an overlooked step of your Page: the “About” section. Revise this so the information’s up-to-date and relevant, which will make it easier for users to find your Page. Optimizing your descriptions will lead to better placement in Graph Search.

Once you’ve updated the basic information, it’s time to focus on your Page’s visual components. When users like your Page with the new Open Graph features, the profile photo and cover photo will show up in Facebook user’s newsfeeds, so make sure to include a photo that will entice others to click on your Page.

Besides looking polished and professional, you should also make sure your photos are the correct size. Here’s our Periodic Table of Graph Search dimensions to help you out!

Facebook Dimensions Guide

Once you have given your Page a full makeover, it’s time to produce share-able content! Since you have experimented with the Graph Search, start creating content that reflects the interests of your fans.

Here are some helpful Graph Search queries and content ideas to get you started!

Restaurants liked by people who like a public figure
Query: Restaurants liked by people who like Bill Cosby
Content Idea: If Cosby Show was filmed today, here’s where Bill Cosby would like to dine.

Authors liked by people who like a TV show
Query: Authors liked by people who like Game of Thrones
Content Idea: 10 Things Tim Ferris Taught us about Game of Thrones

Current employees of a company that used to work for another company
Query: Current employees of Facebook that used to work for Instagram
Content Idea: Instagram Founders: Where are They Now?

People who live nearby and are interested in an activity
Query: Single men who like Hamilton’s Tavern and live nearby
Content Idea: [Search through other Pages these men “Like” to find patterns in interests.]

People who like a movie tied to their profession
Query: People who like Jurassic Park 3D and Paleontology
Content Idea: Fact vs. Fiction: Does Jurassic Park 3D appeal to actual Paleontologists?

A Brave New Search

Now that our interests, likes and locations can be publicly searched, brands should be careful about the information they’re sharing online.

Soon after some received access to Graph Search, the Actual Facebook Graph Searches tumblr was created to demonstrate the type of searches that are potentially harmful to a brand’s reputation. For example, one of the most shared pictures was “Current Employers who like Racism.” Not exactly the type of image you want to be sharing with your fans and prospective customers or employees.

Current employers of people who like Racism
Image: Actual Facebook Graph Searches

While this Tumblr is meant to be funny, you still don’t want to be “that guy (or girl)” who likes Racism or Prostitutes. The best advice is to think before you like or share a post, because while you can unlike or delete, there is still a chance someone can screenshot it (as seen with the example above).

Since Facebook’s Graph Search is still rolling out to all users, there’s still time to create your new Open Graph content strategy! How will you use the new Facebook Open Graph features to create compelling content for your fans? Let us know in the comments!

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Kelly Kauffman

By Kelly Kauffman

Kelly Kauffman is a Social Media Specialist at ThunderActive. She loves talking about movies, superheroes and other nerdy things, especially on Twitter.

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