Facebook recently announced a new feature called Graph Search. With Facebook Graph Search, users will be able to search for a variety of topics directly from their Facebook profile, such as friends who have certain interests, people who graduated from the same school, or businesses that people have used and liked.
So, what exactly does this mean for your local business? According to Nielsen’s “State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012,” 70% of consumers use social media to learn about other consumers’ experiences, and 65% of consumers have used social media sites to learn more about products or services. In short, consumers are making purchasing decisions based on social media. Now, Facebook Graph Search will give consumers even more personalized information that could affect their purchase decisions, which means that being visible when consumers use Facebook Graph Search will become even more critical to getting new customers. That’s where Facebook Graph Search optimization comes in.
So, here are three tips small businesses can use to optimize a Facebook page for Graph Search.
Optimize Your Facebook Page Categories
Facebook gives you the option to categorize your business so that consumers can easily identify what type of business you are and what types of services and products you offer. With Facebook Graph Search, it’s even more important than ever to make sure you have the appropriate category selected for your business, because this category is how Facebook will know whether or not to show your page when a consumer conducts a business category-related search.
For example, a search for “Italian restaurants my friends like” will display Facebook pages that are categorized as Italian restaurants. Currently, there are a couple of options for optimizing your business categories on Facebook.
1) Categorize Your Page with Facebook Place Topics
Some Facebook pages have the ability to add “Place Topics” to share more information about your business offerings or services. This function isn’t available for all business pages yet, but if you see “Add Your Place Topics” listed on your login view of your Facebook page above your business information, you can add them. If you have this feature, select the three most important categories for your business to help optimize your page for Facebook Graph Search results. Use these step-by-step- instructions on how to add your Facebook Place Topics.
2) Update Your Category and Subcategory in Your Basic Information
Whether or not Place Topics are available for your business, you should double-check that you have selected the appropriate category and subcategory of your Page to provide more specific, relevant information about your business. It’s important to optimize your category to best represent your business type so you’ll show up in relevant searches. You can do this by clicking on “Edit Page” on the top of your Admin Panel and selecting “Update Info” from the dropdown menu. This will take you to a page where you can edit your “Basic Information,” including your category and group. The options in the “Category” and additional group dropdown menus are not as detailed as the information you can provide using Place Topics, but they are still a great starting point for defining your business type.
Check Your Profile Information for Accuracy
It’s critical for your business’ information on Facebook to be accurate and up to date for Facebook Graph Search optimization, because location plays a large factor in how consumers search for local businesses. For example, a search for “Italian restaurants nearby my friends have been to” will pull results of businesses located in your current area. So, listing your accurate physical address will help consumers searching nearby find your actual location.
Also, if your business has multiple locations, now is a great time to consider claiming and setting up a Facebook for Business page for each of them and adding relevant information like each location’s hours of operation. That way, consumers can find individual locations in Facebook Graph Search results, rather than just your brand or main location page.
Build a Strong Social Presence With Quality Fans
The more your fans interact with your business on Facebook by liking, commenting on, and sharing your posts, the higher your EdgeRank score will become. And the higher your score, the more likely you are to show up in your fans’ news feeds. Although not confirmed how EdgeRank will influence Graph Search results, we can only assume that Facebook will apply this same ranking feature to display results. This means that building a great fan base of consumers who have had great experiences with your business is more important now than ever. One simple way to boost your social media engagement is by asking your happy customers to “Like” you on Facebook, and from there, posting updates like images, questions, and unique information that your fans will like, comment on, and share.
Is your business ready for Facebook Graph Search? What are your thoughts on this new feature? Let us know in a comment.