How Can Facebook Graph Search Help Your Business?
Facebook unveiled its new search engine, Graph Search, earlier this week, explaining how the new feature’s focus would be on connection and discovery rather than the acquirement of knowledge. There are, however, a number of ways that companies could use Graph Search to improve their business.
Facebook Graph Search opens up a number of possibilities for companies on Facebook. During Facebook's announcement of Graph Search Tom Stocky, one of the men behind the idea, talked about how the engine could be used for recruitment, potentially rivalling LinkedIn:
"Friends of current employees tends to be a good place to start for recruiting. Let's say I want to recruit people from NASA because, you know, you can never have too many rocket scientists. So NASA Ames is right down the street, so I'll do "NASA Ames employees who are friends with Facebook employees". So, again, what I get back is this set of people who have listed in their profile that they work at NASA Ames and who are friends with people who have put in their profile that they work at Facebook."
"Similarly, what's nice is that for each one I can see who are the Facebook employees that are friends with these people. So in this case I see these two [Facebook employees] who I can then reach out to and say, 'okay, well, tell me more about this [potential new employee]'. If I wanted to reach out and recruit [the NASA employee], they would probably be the right people to reach out to him because they're friends with him."
Stocky then decides to broaden his search to meet the specifications of those he often has to employ: product managers:
"One thing that a lot of great product managers have done before is start a company, so they've founded something. So I'll do "people who have been product managers and who have been founders".
Stocky discovers a lot of current Facebook product managers by doing the search, so decides that as the system has worked before, it could work again should he decide to find new employees who fit both those categories.
Of course, Graph Search is again limited by profile privacy settings, meaning that new employees can only be found if their information is in the public domain, or if they have significant connections with the user.
Facebook does, however, have a much wider user base than LinkedIn, which limits employers who are looking for new recruits on the site.
If businesses do use Facebook Graph Search to find and hire employees, then it wouldn't be unexpected if they developed portfolio, CV and skills set features similar to those on LinkedIn.
The fact that Facebook Graph Search categorises users by their likes, interests and location, could help Facebook marketers to target new customers with better results.
At its most basic level, Graph Search provides businesses with vast amounts of quality data on how customers are engaging with their brands on site. For instance, they could discover which city’s population is providing them with the most Likes and which profession is commenting on their activity the most, using the data accordingly to target specific sectors and locations.
Sponsored stories could be configured to appear when users searched for relevant topics. For example, if a user were to search for restaurants in their area, one restaurant could pay to have their page appear as the first result.
Companies could also target users based on their interests. For example, if someone searched for “my friends who live in London who like running, a London-based sports shop could advertise on the page that appears.
Just like the possibility of Graph Search’s use as a recruitment tool, its use as an advertising tool completely depends on how Facebook’s 1 billion members interact with the service. If users do search for their friends Likes, recommendations and interests with Graph Search, then Facebook are likely to set up an targeted advertising service on the pages that are generated.
Are you looking forward to the release of Graph Search? How will you use the feature to your business’ benefit?
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