Metacrawler, Yahoo and Exite were some of the hot topics among software engineer students like me at the University of Melbourne, back when Google was treated as a misspelt newbie. Who knew this startup would grow to be a search giant? Google’s idea to interconnect the emerging web succeeded, and it remains successful to this day.
Why am I bringing up Google? It is essential to talk about a once-startup endeavour and search engine, to deliver home my arguments on using the recently unveiled, friend-based Facebook Graph Search. FGS is the newest search engine of our digital age and has the potential to modify the existing search fabric and online business.
Why do we need FGS when we have Google?
Google provides the same general information to every user for a specific query but FGS provides user-specific personal information to its users for that same search query. Simply put, Google search results for a given query are the same for all users, but FGS’s results for a given query will be different for every user depending on the level of personalisation by the user.
Given Facebook’s one billion plus users, the possibility of receiving answers to questions such as “What movies have my friends seen?” and “What music do my colleagues like” from Facebook is greater than that of Google. Given its huge base of user-personalised data, no existing search engine can deliver answers to such personal queries.
If Facebook correctly rolls out the FGS by equipping it with various search variants and enables it to intuitively learn from user behaviour – which I’m sure it will – it will be too irresistible not to try. After all, everyone loves to find out more about people in their lives.
Where does business fit in?
Like all social media channels, Facebook is all about people and relationships and, therefore, business. Companies spend billions of dollars in the search industry every year to rank higher on search engine page results. And FGS is the all-new social search engine, with attractive promises. It’s time you braced your business for the next big search engine opportunity: Social Search Optimisation.
How do you optimise a Facebook search?
Actual details of FGS are yet to come. But on the basis of the information Facebook has rolled out so far, here are five tips to enhance your business for Facebook’s search engine:
1. Get on Facebook to better understand how it works. Open a personal page and start building relationship with people you know and people you would like to share your interests with.
2. Be professional. Start a business page that reflects the philosophy of your business. Post inspiring stories that cater to the interest of your business and followers.
3. Be responsive to your page followers by keeping in mind they are your potential clients. Prompt and appropriate responses – even to negative criticism – is essential to maintain a thriving business page.
4. Stick to your brand. The Facebook business page is about socialising your brand. Well-written and brand-related stories can earn you loyal customers and increase brand loyalty in the long run. Don’t stray away from your brand.
5. Register for the Graph Search Beta to remain informed. Prepare beta digital and promotional strategies to benefit from the FSG when it starts materialising.
Like radio and television, social media is our generation’s online channel. It is the place where people talk, share and comment on things happening around them. Advertisements can yield investment returns only if the intended audience comes across them. Get serious about social media, take your business on Facebook and let it grow.