Can You Generate Business Through the New Facebook Search?

Let’s start with the basics: What is Facebook Graph Search?

In Zuckerberg’s words, Facebook Graph Search is the Third Pillar of Facebook (with the first two being the newsfeed and your timeline). The feature is designed to make much of the data we’ve already put into their database more accessible. If you think the “Graph” part of the name is confusing, you’re not alone.

Do you...

Want to be one of the first to see what your business looks like in Facebook Graph search? Sign up for their wait list!

As with most big initiatives from Facebook, there are some really cool elements to this new product (such as when Danny Sullivan uncovers lots of interesting photos: Up close with Facebook Graph Search) and some elements that are sure to alarm people (such as when Sam Biddle explores the darker side of Graph Search: These People Are Now Sharing Horrible Things About Themselves Thanks to Facebook Search).

Whether impressed or alarmed (or both!) Facebook Graph Search will soon be a reality for everyone on Facebook… and you’ll want to prepare your small business. As VentureBeat, says, It’s time for Small Businesses of America to Double Down on Facebook Graph Search.

So what should you do to make the most of Facebook Graph Search for your small business?

  1. Understand how Facebook Search is different than Google Search.  On the most fundamental level, Facebook will be tapping into the same marketing strategies that were most successful on Facebook before (i.e. positive interactions like likes, comments, and shares) and make them searchable. It’s a daunting task: They’re taking over the territory established review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Yellow Pages have held secure for quite some time. However, Facebook holds an ace: It already has access to the multitude of businesses, products, services, etc, people have liked. The benefit to small business owners? By making Graph Search prominent, Facebook will almost inevitably expose your business to a lot more people (potential customers!).
  2. Make sure your small business is visible.   Once you understand the importance and strategies behind Facebook’s Search, you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure your business is as visible as possible. Do you have a Facebook Page for your business? If not, create one. Do you update it regularly with content your audience interacts with? If not, figure out a strategy that will get people talking about your business.
  3. Create campaigns that get people talking.  For most small businesses, and especially retail operations, there’s almost always a way to get your customers talking about your company, but it requires some outside the box thinking.  Can you run a promotion where people who “like” your page for the first time get a discount?   What if they write a “recommendation” on your Facebook Page?    Can you run a special where you give away something each day to one fan who shows up at your store?   For online businesses, there’s probably even more you can do to connect with your customers and get them talking.  (For example, we ran an entire series of live video chats with business experts, CredibilityLIVE, with just that strategy in mind!)

There’s a very good chance that Facebook Graph Search will become an incredible driver of new business to small businesses all over the world.   At the moment,  Facebook is rolling out this new search to people slowly, which means you have some time; use it to ensure you and your business are represented in the best possible light.  Assuming your customers are active on Facebook (who’s aren’t?), there’s no better time to get them involved.

Finally,

  • Are you proud of the work you’ve done making sure your small business is represented on Facebook?   Share your example of a Facebook Page done right in the comments so others can see!
  • Are you looking for ideas on how you might market your business better on Facebook?  Tell us a little bit about your business in the comments and our social media team will be more than happy to suggest some ideas for campaigns that might work for you!

And we’ll start the Facebook Page conversation by saying that we’re proud of the work we’ve put into building a healthy community of people interested in business credit and credibility on our Facebook page.   Join us at /DandBCredibility to join that conversation!

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About Dustin Luther

As Director of Engagement at Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp (@DandB), I manage our teams focused on social media and events and always looking for opportunities to engage with small business owners and influencers, both online and in-person! You can find me on Twitter (@tyr), Facebook (dluther) and Google+ (+Dustin Luther).

Do you have an interesting opportunity you'd like to get in front of the @DandB team? Maybe an interesting idea, product or story? Maybe an event that attracts small business experts? Let's talk!

Comments

  1. Goley Bryson says:

    My business is custom artwork,graphic design,costumes, and choreography for musical theatre or music videos. I am trying to figure out how to get people to interact with my page. what can I do??

    • Hey Goley! Great question!

      With art projects, I’d think you have a leg up on most people! People love art and are much more willing to “share” awesome art than other types of content.

      The place I would start is thinking how you might connect with your existing customers. Is there an incentive you can give them to post photos of your designs, costumes, etc. on your page? Maybe offer them 10% off their next design if they share their favorite piece on your wall?

      You might also try a “game” of sorts. With customer’s permission, maybe you do a game where people try to “guess” who commissioned which art piece? Honestly not sure that last one is practical, but maybe it will inspire a game you can create for your existing fans. For example, a while back a friend of mine used to take “close up” photos of things and then have people guess what it was in the comments. He’d often generate dozens if not hundreds of comments with this approach.

      Does that help?

      Do others have ideas on how you might market a page loaded with custom graphics?

  2. Goley Bryson says:

    Please help me!!

  3. My sister has a wedding flower/ wedding consultation business (http://www.facebook.com/bellabloomflorals?ref=ts&fref=ts). We are trying to figure out how to get more shares and likes from her page to generate more referral work, any ideas?

    I like your idea of taking the close up photo, maybe doing that with “guess the flower”. Most of her fans are her past clients, so offering discounts doesn’t really work for her. Are there any non monetary incentives that work to spread the word?

    • Hi NixieLive!

      I think something along the lines of “guess the flower” make total sense… or even who’s “wedding bouquet” is this where you find odd celebrity wedding photos/arrangements, or something like that.

      But even more interesting would be to use the site to drive interest in the wedding during the planning stages. Would it make sense to have some “pre-wedding” photos you could post to the site and have the bride/groom/family/etc. share with their friends? Weddings are so so so social that I would think there has to be a great tie in while people are getting ready for the wedding?

      Another thing you might find interesting is to simply profile all the local (non-competing) wedding businesses on your facebook page. A realtor friend of mine put together such a page in San Diego that profiled local businesses: 365 Things to do in San Diego and it turned into quite a side business! (with 40K+ fans!). I could see that if you featured a separate wedding planning service (photographers, locations, cake makers, etc.) each day you could definitely get the local wedding planning community excited!

      Hope that inspires you a bit! Would be curious to learn what marketing campaigns you take on!

  4. Hi, I really enjoyed the article. Please check out my page.
    http://www.facebook.com/ShopChristinas?ref=ts&fref=ts
    I would love to get your ideas on how you might market my business better on Facebook.

    • Hey Chris, I just checked out your page… It’s hard to suggest stuff without knowing a bit more about your interests… What does your business do that makes it special?

  5. I have had pretty good success with a business page that I started just a few months ago. While I’m a real estate broker and have a page for my company, http://www.facebook.com/1stPatriotRealty I have found a niche to really target a special group of clients… http://www.facebook.com/VeganRealEstateGuy

    I almost always post a picture as they get the most response from my “likers”. Frankly I never know which picture is going to work the best; I am often surprised by what does work.

    Finally, while I’ve heard that posting once a day or so is good enough, I know for a fact when I post 5 or 6 times a day my numbers go way up.

    I’m always looking for new ways to make it work. Thanks for your article… I look forward to reading more! Ted

    • Hi Ted! All GREAT stuff! Love that you’re tackling the “vegan” niche. Not one I would have thought even existed! ;)

      A quick suggestion I might add is that you could make it a bit clearer on your VeganRealEstateGuy page where you’re located. Obviously real estate is so darn local, I didn’t see you were from Pennsylvania until I clicked on your other biz page.

      Best!

  6. Hey guys…I just started up a drivers ed business back in august…I havent put much money into advertising my business yet since its mainly been by word of mouth. I have learned that there is a huge demand for our business…in the schools…becsuse everybody wants to learn to drive and get license. Me and my business partner are on the verge of being spread to thin and have hired several people to help us. We have thought about starting up branch offices but not sure when to start working towards that. We also have to compete with people wanting to take drivers ed online…but we see the pendulum swinging back toward drivers ed schools because parents dont want to mess with it. What pathway do you think we should take and how do we go about advertising our business? I would appreciate any advice you have…thank you…michele

    • Hi Michele:

      You’re obviously tapping into some questions that are much bigger than just marketing through Facebook, but more around the best ways to grow your business going forward. Online marketing could, but doesn’t have to, play a huge role in that growth, but there are obviously other ways to grow as well.

      Because very few people have access to Facebook Graph Search, it’s almost impossible to know it’s going to be one of the main ways people look for services (like driver’s ed) in the future or not. If it turns out to meet the potential that Facebook thinks it has, then you’ll be really glad if you can direct existing clients back to “like” your page if they “liked” your service. Truth be told, get enough local parents to “like” a page, and you’re probably only 1 or 2 degrees separated from most of the other parents in that local market. In terms of getting those likes, it might be as simple as “asking”. For example, why not send a follow up email after someone completes a course asking them to “like” your page. That alone could pay dividends well into the future should Facebook Graph Search live up to it’s potential!

  7. I make your comfort my business and no discussion is required. I have a Complimentary – Holistic Health business doing Reiki. Educating and familiarizing the public as to what Reiki is and why they should make it a regular part of their routine is a big hurdle. Reiki is a service (rather than a product) performed with bare hands lightly touching or placed near the client; Reiki is a Japanese energy technique which promotes and encourages comfort within your whole being.

      • Hi Karen,

        You’re in a really interesting situation in that it’s probably a relatively small niche of people who are searching out your services… but when they are, you want to be the person they find online because there probably aren’t a ton of other people offering your service.

        I see you started a contest giving something away to people who leave a response… that’s a great start. The hardest part is getting over the hump where you have enough followers to make a difference in these kinds of campaigns. Any chance you have a budget you can spend on Facebook? I’ll bet it wouldn’t cost much if you targeted ads against that contest that targeted everyone who lives in Binghamton, NY who likes either “Japanese culture” and/or “healing arts”. You’ve got such a specific niche that for $100 in ads you could probably reach a huge portion of local people who predisposed to appreciate your services!

  8. I have found upscale jewelry next to impossible to sell online. People want to see it and touch it so shows have been successful. I’m not sure how to build our audience or even to go beyond what we have done so far other than the coninual posting of events, fun, and photos. http://www.facebook.com/stjohngallery

    • It would seem to me that anything you can do to get your existing customers and/or the people that visit your store to comment on your Facebook page would be a huge win. While you obviously can’t have people “touch” your jewelry through your Facebook page, the people you can reach are the people who are friends of the people in your store. Is there some incentive you can offer to have people leave a comment/photo on your Facebook page? I’m guessing that most of the people who stop by your store are from out of town and driving through the area. Is there a way to get them to tell their story? and post those to your facebook page? (I’m honestly not sure there’s a great win here, but if you took on to market your business through the people who show up at your shop, I think you’d find that the friends of those customers would put a lot of trust in your business, even if they couldn’t “touch” the products!) Hope that helps!

  9. Facebook for business is the “emperors new clothes”. Yes you should have a page but unless you have a major marketing campaign (and even then the big brands are backing away), all the hype is just that, hype. This new “search” won’t replace Yelp or Trip Advisor as business pages are not balanced views of a business. Bad comments and reviews can be deleted, “likes’ can be earned via contests and other promotions from folks who have never been to the business and may not even know anything about it. The only folks really hyped about “Facebook for Business” and this next trip into voyeurism are folks in the business of making money off of selling Facebook related services and those sucking up to them. Here is a hint folks, “likes” don’t necessarily translate into sales!

    • I haven’t had a chance to play with the new Facebook Graph Search yet (looking forward to my invite!). However, I think you’re mistaken if you’re equating all “likes”… You’re right that it’s possible (if not downright easy) to “buy” likes on Facebook (just as it’s possible to buy reviews to game Yelp or buy links to game google), but it’s also true that Facebook will undoubtably be looking to pull out “quality” (vs “quantity”) likes… just as yelp uses their community to pull out the best reviews and google uses quality metrics to gauge the value of inbound links.

      The difference in Facebook’s case is that the quality metrics will be based on the activities of your friends (and their friends). For example, if you’re trying to decide between two different Pho restaurants (I used yelp for this last week!), then Facebook can tell me where my friends (and their friends) frequent and/or like… If there was consensus among my friends on one of the Pho houses, you better bet I would have chosen that one to try first.

      • Unless you have thousands of “friends” then the odds of more than one of them (if any) having been at a restaurant you are interested in is next to zero. And as of right now (and with the proliferation of Like Whores, it’s not looking to change anytime soon) there no way to pull “quality” likes. A like is a like. I have “liked” places I have never been even been in their state let alone their place only because of something they did. The food could suck but how would I know.

        Facebook for business sucks and no one is willing to admit it.

  10. We have recently began updating our FB page with great images of the various lines we offer along with witty and friendly banter around our business. So far so good. Every week a few more likes and shares. Please visit and LIKE us at https://www.facebook.com/intimateideas

  11. We have a website (http://www.appmyworld.com) that aggregates professional iOS app reviews. We then average these reviews to generate an AppScore for each individual app. As part of this we write a daily blog post focusing on themes like Top Games of the Week, Best Free Apps, Best Apps for Kids and so on ranked by AppScore. Each of these blog posts gets shared to Facebook (twitter too). Sometimes the posts generate a lot of shares and likes and sometimes not. It seems like pictures and video do well but we don’t have a ton of that kind of content. Maybe there are ways to feature that though?

    Giveaways and discounts are a little difficult as we aren’t selling anything although we have tried a few app giveaways with mixed results.

    In general I’m wondering what other kinds of posts you think we could do for a site like ours?

    • I agree that giveaways and discounts can be difficult… although you might be able to work with app makers to do giveaways of their products. I can see a spot where you grow a big enough audience where you’re able to charge app makers to promote their apps on your facebook page and give away a few copies of their app as part of the promotion… The benefit of this is that you could also include some ad buys and other elements that could continue to grow your audience. Till then, I’d look for odd instances of app uses and/or “app” related graphics that are likely to go viral. Hope that helps!

  12. Our company is focused on powerwashing, wood restoration, deck sealing and staining, concrete cleaning, concrete cleaning, and many other similar services. We just started our Facebook page a little over a month ago and have 85 followers. How can we use it better to market our business?

    • I corrected our website address below, and our Facebook address is http://www.facebook.com/powerwashingplus. Thank you for any advice you can provide!

    • Hi Jessica: I’d definitely be looking at ways to get people in your local community involved… or better yet, maybe the local business owners who you do business with. Is there a community that you’re part of? Can you share updates around their businesses and get them to share this updates? Maybe feature a local “complementary” business and ask them to describe their work… and why they love what they do. Other business owners will almost always be thrilled to be featured on your page and share those updates with their friends/family… who are often a target-market for businesses like yours! Hope that helps!

  13. I have a website http://www.elkaholic.com and was created to fill the needs of people everywhere for quality products to be used in their big game hunting ventures. Our facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/elkaholics Could you please help me out in giving me some ideas how to get more likes on my page. Thanks you!!!

    • That’s a hilarious name… I’m not sure I have a specific idea to share… but there’s gotta be an interesting way to get your base excited. What type of things do big game hunters share on Facebook today? Is it mostly “serious” stuff? Political jokes? I’d start by seeing what your base is sharing and then go there!

  14. Alyssia Alexandria says:

    We love the new Graph Search feature how can we use it build our community? We also wasn’t to be able to promote the businesses of those feature those who have “liked” our page? Our website is currently underdevelopment but we use Facebook to test the water by posting on different topics we feel are interesting. Our Facebook page is GoAsktheWife.

    • Hi Alyssia: Out of curiosity, who do you see as your target audience? I check out your facebook page, and it wasn’t totally clear to me, but with that information in hand, it might inspire some suggestions for how to incorporate Graph Search into your marketing!

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