Facebook introduced the social search in January 2013. Just a few days Facebook updated it enabling search for posts inside your network of friends. Facebook social search is one of the best things this social network has for marketers. So if you don’t use this tool yet, this post is for you.
What is a social search and how to use it
Graph Search or Facebook social search is a search engine that carries its search basing on social connections and user preferences. Social graph searches for people, photographs, locations and interests. The Search indexes notes, comments and photo captions. From now on it also lets you search for posts published by your Facebook friends.
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Facebook needs to inject some natural language processing in its search algorithm: http://t.co/3Jbpug2EFA
— Forbes (@Forbes) December 10, 2014
Social Search is available to people using Facebook site in English. To use the Graph Search, go to settings and select American English.
After that, place the cursor in the search box. If you did everything right, social search should offer you a hint.
What isues can be solved with the help of social search
Graph Search Facebook helps marketers perform the following tasks:
- Audience research.
- Search and studying authorities.
- Optimization for social search.
More details about these tasks are below.
Social Search allows us to study the interests of a particular audience, for example, subscribers of your brand or community. For example, you can learn which pages your subscribers like. To do this, type in the search box query “pages liked by people who like *”, where * – is the name of a brand or a selected group.
Looking for pages that people who like Amazon follow:
You can learn the interests of the brand or community subscribers. To do this, use the query “favorite interests of people who like *”.
You can explore the interests of users who like your brand and the brand of a competitor. To do this, use the query “favorite interests of people who like * and ** “, where ** – the name of a competing brand.
Interests of a particular audience
Search and authorities exploring
With the help of Social Search, you can find and explore the users, pages and groups that are the authoritative source of information for the audience. For example, you can start researching the blogosphere and find influential bloggers who like your brand. To do this, use the query “Bloggers who like *”.
Searching for authoritative bloggers
Bloggers who like your brand, certainly would agree to participate in your marketing campaign.
You can find bloggers that your friends are following. To do this, use the query “Bloggers who are followed by my friends”. More complex query “Bloggers who are followed by my friends who like *” allows you to find bloggers, who are followed by your friends who like the brand *.
Graph Search understands compound queries
Here are some useful queries that can be used to search for users and authoritative sources of information:
- Current * employees – allows to find employees of the brand *.
- Journalists who like * – you can find the journalists, who like the brand *.
- CEOs who are followed by people who like * – you can find top managers which are followed by users who like the brand.
With the help of social search, you can determine the interests and preferences of individual users. Use the following queries:
- Pages * likes, where * – username. You can look for pages that this user likes.
- Places visited by * – locate the places which the user visited.
- Favorite interests of * – find the interests of the person authoritative in your audience.
Optimization for social search
The popularity of “Facebook” should make visionary marketers think about social search optimization or GSO (Graph Search Optimization). Facebook Engineers do not disclose information about search algorithms of the Graph Search. However, we can assume that for a successful optimization the algorithms knowledge is not required.
The following factors certainly influence the social search rankings:
- The number of friends and subscribers of a person, followers of the brand.
- The number of page “likes”.
- The number of subscribers of users who “like” page.
- Social signals: “likes”, shares, comments.
- Frequency of page updates, presence of useful information.
This means that to obtain high rankings the Graph Search page should be interesting and useful for people. It must be followed by authoritative users, who should do repost, comment the content and put “likes”.
Social graph can be used to improve the effectiveness of advertising in Facebook. In particular, the results can be used to reduce the cost of clicks.
Imagine that you are promoting clothing store which competes with the “Boohoo”. You can show your ads to users who have subscribed to the page “Boohoo” in the “Facebook”. However, the cost of a click in the commercial field is high. To reduce it, you can extend coverage and reduce the specificity of the audience. Try the query “favorite interests of people who like Boohoo”.
Select few popular non-commercial interests. Create a promotional campaign for each of them. By increasing coverage on fashion photography likers, you reduce the specificity of the audience and also reduce the cost of a click.
Note that this tactic will be successful, if you create minimum 8-10 campaigns for major non-profit interests of the audience.
How useful Graph Search is: ideas
With “Facebook” social search you can:
- Learn the interests and preferences of your own audience.
- Determine the interests and preferences of the competitor audience.
- Find potential partners and customers.
- Learn the interests and preferences of your employees and employees of competitors.
- Improve the effectiveness of advertising campaigns.
- Find colleagues and people with similar interests.
- Identify Facebook groups, representatives of which are interested in your product or business (Query “Groups of people who like *”).
- Find a common audience (“Fans of * and **”).
- Identify competitors (“Restaurants in London visited by people who like coffee”).
- Find people who can be helpful for your campaign.
- Find the employees.
Social Search: useful insights and practical benefits
Facebook social graph is primarily a tool for finding answers to questions as to the interests of target audience and estimation of such audience size. It is an indispensable tool in Facebook adverstising and it helps to learn the interests of users of the world’s largest social network in your chosen context. Finally, the social search can be used to explore current trends in your field: products popularity, credibility of information source and demand for business by audience.