Facebook introduced Graph Search today. This is taking the concept of search as we know it and turning it on its head. Now, when you search, it will not be driven by “what” you’re searching, but “who” you know and what they’ve done. Many of us use reviews whether via Yelp, Amazon.com or Google+. We seek references from our friends and peers. Google, Yahoo! and Bing will list results based upon your search history and the information provided by the sites ranked. But what Facebook brings us is search based upon the idea that we are connecting to those who are part of our social networks.
One of the several demonstrations found on Facebook’s introduction to Graph Search (https://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch) is that of one of their engineers looking for a dentist. Instead of going to Google to seek a local dentist, he searched for a dentist that most of his peers used (read: “like” on facebook). Take this concept now and amplify it. You’re attempting to find a great restaurant for a date in Philadelphia, you can search “what restaurants do my friends who live in Philadelphia like?” Instead of a lengthly list of Google search results, you can see which restaurant most of your friends in the city of brotherly love enjoy, in order. The idea is that you share common interests with people you call your “friends” and would make decisions based upon who they like, what they do, where they spend their time and money.
What does this mean for your brand?
Plenty. Start driving up the “likes” folks. Ultimately, it means you will begin to pop up based upon the networks of those who decide to like you. Your fans have now become your marketing beacon, whether you (or they) like it or not. The statuses, photos, videos you update will be even more significant. Driving interaction is more important than ever. Rather than writing to inform, write to engage, get more shares, grow you audience. Facebook set out to re-shape marketing and they’ve done this several times. However, this could be one of their more significant contributions to the world of permission marketing.
The world will not turn away from Google, Yahoo!, Bing or other traditional search methods. However, with the innate human need to build connections, Facebook’s Graph Search will re-define the way people find you in the world of social. Now, more than ever, make every post count and every fan a true fan.
Thanks to: KarimDesigns.com for putting together a great look at the history of social media in one quick, but complicated graphic!
Facebook announced today that business pages would finally receive the “timeline” update. Though businesses can update to the new timeline profile now, it will be mandatory for all businesses on March 30, 2012. The switch to timeline for personal users came with a great deal of criticism from the Facebook user community. However, in recent weeks the users have embraced the new format and trademark cover photo, which should be a much welcome branding boost for businesses. Walmart (as seen here) and a dozen other brands have already begun using the new format as part of a Facebook initiative to help those who may fight the changes to understand the upside.
An important part of business branding on Facebook in the last 48 months was grounded in the ability to manage content through “tabs” and later “apps”. Now, Facebook puts these front and center allowing businesses to code content into apps displayed at the top of their new timeline pages, allowing up to 12 for each brand. It remains seen how this will evolve in coming months. Currently, businesses are confined to a 520px wide space. At first look this may remain, however, it appears as though Facebook may allow for a wider design space in the future. Long Facebook avatars are changing to the new square avatar for pictures at least 180px wide.
Overall, we feel the change is good and will do a lot of help brands connect with users. Facebook released this video today following three different types of brands: a small deli, a young artist on a world tour and Redbull. They’re illustrating how the new pages will be better for brands moving forward on Facebook. Though the video doesn’t offer much incite as to what is coming, it does offer a visual for basic functionality.
Facebook apps will be 810px wide, allowing for greater design space within the business page.