After six months of testing, Facebook announced that Graph Search will begin rolling out to more members starting today. The tool, which allows you to search for things throughout your social graph, will be available in the next few weeks to everyone who views Facebook in U.S. English.
Introduced in January, Graph Search lets you and your customers use simple phrases to search for people, places, and things that match specific characteristics. For example, someone could search for “dentists my friends like” to find local recommendations.
Throughout this testing period, Facebook has made Graph Search faster — both at suggesting potential searches and displaying results — and better at showing the most relevant results first. The company also noted that it has started working on a mobile version, as well as a way for people to search posts and comments.
A wider rollout is great for marketers, as Graph Search can help you better understand your fans and customers. For example, if you want to know what type of music would resonate with consumers in a commercial, you could try searching for “music liked by runners.” You can also determine what type of content to share with fans, new audiences to target, and even who might make a good brand evangelist.
Graph Search also makes it easier for local businesses to be found. Restaurants, dentists, retailers, and so on will be highlighted based on what members are liking, using, commenting on, and responding to. This means that “being on Facebook” isn’t just about being present. You’ll have to learn how to maximize your visibility through engagement and interactions.
Even advertisers can get in on the benefits. Earlier this year, Facebook began displaying FBX and Marketplace Ads between pages of Graph Search results. These ads look similar to the company’s standard sidebar ads, and are being targeted based on interests, demographics, and data from the Facebook Exchange or Custom Audiences.
As Graph Search rolls out more widely, everyone will see a notice on their homepage with a reminder about how to control what is shared and with whom. For brands and businesses, it’s now more important than ever to actively manage and monitor what’s happening on your Facebook Page.
[Image credit: Coletivo Mambembe]
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.