Today’s post is by Amity Dharia of Ampush

Users in the U.S. are noticing the change to the Facebook search bar with the recent rollout of Graph Search. First unveiled in January 2013, Graph Search is a search engine that allows Facebook users to look up anything shared with them throughout their history on Facebook.

Unlike traditional search, which uses keywords, Graph Search uses phrases to find friends, companies, locations, and brands based on users’ personal interests. Graph Search allows you to talk to Facebook in a more conversational way than a traditional search on Google or Bing.

For example, you could perform this search: “Coffee shops nearby.” Graph Search will search based on your location and return results of the nearest coffee shops. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg! If you want to find coffee shops nearby that your friends have visited, you could search “Coffee shops nearby that my friends have been to”; to see coffee shops your friends have “liked,” search “Coffee shops nearby that my friends like.” Each person sees unique results, which has the potential to attract a large number of advertisers and could redefine how effectively Facebook can sell and target ads.

graph search facebook

With Graph Search, targeting users with overlapping interests could be much easier and more effective from an ad perspective. While Facebook hasn’t revealed much about its plans for ads on Graph Search, the platform began testing ads in April that use the same targeting options the site employs elsewhere. It is assumed that Facebook could eventually sell ads targeted to users’ real-time Graph Search queries and activities.

Brands could target search queries – such as “Coffee shops nearby that my friends like” – to find potential customers or provide offers. And it’s not just large companies that will be playing in this space. In fact, Facebook is in a unique position to connect local businesses on the platform with would-be customers and capitalize on the local search market. And you can be sure that mobile is a huge part of the picture.

So how can brands on Facebook take advantage of Graph Search? Here are 3 tips for businesses on how to get started with Facebook Graph Search:

1. Complete Your Profile. Graph Search is powered by data. The more information you provide, the easier it is to be found through searches. Make sure the category under which your business is listed is correct; provide an accurate address; add awards and products to your profile.

2. Use Important Keywords. Incorporate keywords into your profile, but remember that the main goal of the About section is to communicate with Facebook users. Don’t bog down your profile with too many keywords! Instead, use hashtags and status updates to boost Graph Search visibility and ultimately improve rankings.

3. Post & Tag Pictures and Videos: Graph Search takes pictures and videos into account, so tag your business when appropriate. Try posting pictures/videos a few times a week and include important keywords in the description. Don’t forget to tag your cover photo and profile picture!

For now, Graph Search is still somewhat limited, focusing on four primary pillars – people, photos, places, and interests – but topics, posts, and comments will make their way into search results soon. This is yet another reminder that we must stay cognizant of what is shared on social channels; who knows what the future will be able to search?

amity dharia ampushAmity Dharia is a contributing writer for Ampush. She has provided marketing and communication services to a wide variety of clients, from technology start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Follow her on Twitter @amitykapadia, and visit her blog.

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