Facebook has entered the world of online search. However, this isn’t the traditional search we are accustomed to with Google. Facebook’s search tool is deeply personalized.
Your search results will be filtered by who you know, who you have common interests with, people within a particular geographical location, places, photos of friends and family, friends of friends, etc.
Both personal profiles and business pages will both be included in Facebook’s Graph Search, which is the name of the search tool. To use the search tool, you will simply type in your search terms at the top of your Facebook profile.
This powerful, personalized search engine is going to have the ability to surface the likes, recommendations, preferences and interests of your extended social graph. Think of your personal social graph as a spider web of the extended connections you have…including friends of friends and friends of the fans of your Facebook Business Page.
Taking Online Search to the Next Level
With over 1 Billion users on Facebook who share their personal stories, interests, and connections, Facebook’s Graph Search could prove to be the preferred way of searching for information, insights, and recommendations because the results will likely be highly relevant to the searcher. However, it will take time for Facebook members to learn to use the tool and for Facebook to perfect it.
Remember, Google doesn’t have access to all the personalized data that Facebook does, although they’ve been building their own “social graph” through Google+ to show more relevant search results.
Facebook has partnered with Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, to show results beyond your social graph. This means that it will be important to make sure you are optimizing your digital assets outside of Facebook for Bing search as well as Google search.
Essentially every social object within Facebook that has been made public will be indexed by Graph Search and have the ability to show up in Facebook search results. You cannot “opt out” of Graph Search, but you can control your Facebook privacy settings. However, if you want to be discovered in Facebook searches, we recommend you make public as much as you are comfortable with on your personal and business profiles, and always maintain your professionalism!
Use Facebook Ads to Grow Your Presence
For the most part it’s been tough to get traction with a Facebook Business Page unless you have a fan base community of at least 1000 people. Running promoted posts (you need 400 fans to utilize this tool) and Facebook social or page ads can also increase your fan base as well as your visibility. In other words, unless you can get to that 1000 fan mark on your own, you’re probably going to have to pay to play initially.
The good news is that Facebook social ads are still relatively inexpensive and you can get very targeted. You can even upload your own email list through the custom audiences feature, and ask Facebook to target others who are similar to your custom audience!
The process for generating leads from your Facebook Business Page includes first growing your community of fans (you can do so more quickly through a Facebook ad strategy), and then promoting posts or running ads to your fans that include opt-in offers such as a free webinar, offline event, or a free guide.
If your Facebook ads aren’t compelling or relevant, they won’t get clicks and you won’t increase your page “likes” or grow your database list.
How Graph Search Works
With deeply personalized search, information about your business and the insights that you share on your Facebook Business Page can all be indexed by Facebook’s Graph Search.
Let’s say a friend of a client conducts a Facebook search for the term “Financial Advisor.” If your client is connected with you on Facebook, or with your Facebook Business Page, those results will likely appear to the client’s friend. They could even appear to friends of friends.
This is extremely powerful. It means not only do you need to develop your personal and professional presence on Facebook, but you need to keep those profiles active.
Whether you are a fan of Facebook or not, it could prove to be a powerful force for visibility with your clients, prospective clients, and business advocates. Working to build your “trusted network” within the walled garden of Facebook could usher in the age of the modern referral.
What are your thoughts about building a Facebook presence? Will you consider Facebook to be an important social network for your business given the new Graph Search?
Additional Facebook Resources for Financial Advisors