This weeks’ announcement that Facebook is to release its’ own search engine to rival Google will mean that businesses have a great new tool to help market themselves to potential customers online.
The new feature, called “A screenshot of Facebook's Social GraphGraph Search,” will allow users to make searches for a variety of things, such as places to eat, retail shops and days out. However, unlike Google, Facebook’s search engine will be tailored to the network of each individual user.
As digital PR specialists, we understand how to market a brand effectively, and Facebook’s Graph Search presents a number of significant benefits for brands:
1) The Facebook feature, known as Affinity, means that what you look at on Facebook helps decide what appears first on your news feed. Therefore, Facebook users’ searches will be determined by their previous viewing, and businesses that have been looked at before can stay at the front of people’s thinking because of this. Econsultancy has said how Affinity is more important than ever now, and can help businesses get greater coverage on the site.
2) It will allow them to be just one click away from the Facebook user’s fingertips. This presents a huge target market.
3) It allows brands to target potential customers much more specifically. The brilliant Wall Blog has an article describing how, as the search engine is based on an individuals’ network, it allows users to see what brands, services and places their friends like, and they may be more likely to do the same as a result.
4) As The Next Web has discussed, the search engine will allow users to search for precise things they are interested in, such as the best restaurants in the local area. Smaller brands can promote themselves locally which will help them attract custom.
Brands must use the correct methods to promote themselves on Facebook or miss out on the benefits that Graph Search offers. A good starting point for businesses is the five tips for retail business marketing that was released by Facebook recently. Using ASOS and the English Cheesecake Company as case studies, the Facebook tips show that engaging fans with good quality content and strategically using advertising are, amongst other things, the best ways to help your businesses Facebook page grow. But we all know how Facebook is really wanting us to buy as much of their advertising as possible. The recent Edgerank changes have caused page engagement to drop off a cliff. Have you noticed your page numbers taking a huge dip because we have seen it across the board.
However, if the companies use this new tool in the wrong way and try to saturate users’ Facebook pages, it could in fact damage their brands and annoy the fans. Brands must market themselves properly to ensure that they are effectively found by Facebook users, otherwise they will miss out on the huge opportunity that this new feature might offer them.
I think that this can be a fantastic new tool for businesses and, if used effectively, can present a truly global way to market yourselves online. Brands will be able to reach all of Facebook and this can only be a good thing. If you want to sign up to the beta for this just visit this site.
Do you think that Social Graph will benefit businesses? Are there any possible downsides? Let me know in the comments I am happy to hear your take on it.

About Natalie Richmond

Account Executive at Prohibition PR.