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.

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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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