Get Your Facebook Page Ready For Graph Search

Facebook is making some changes.

I know what you’re thinking. But it’s not like that time they changed your business’s Page to a Timeline and you had to re-think your entire Facebook strategy.

Facebook is replacing their search function with Graph Search. It’s a more natural way to discover the things and places your friends like and frequent.

And this change can be good for your business, making your Facebook page easier to find through search. Here’s how Graph Search can help your Facebook page, and a few things you can do make your page easier to search for.

What Is It?

Facebook Graph Search shows results based on people’s connection to a place or page. Search results populate based on things you and your friends like or where you’ve checked in. Typical searches look like:

  • “Restaurants in Philadelphia my friends have been to”
  • “Movies my friends like”
  • “Books my friends have read”

Graph Search can work like a recommendation engine, with your friends’ “likes” acting as endorsements of places and things.

Users can also search for other information listed on pages or in people’s profiles: “Friends of mine who live in New York,” “People whose religion is ‘Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster,” “Hair salons liked by women who live in Los Angeles,” etc.

How Will My Business Get Found?

To get found in Facebook’s Graph Search, more people need to “like” your page or check in at your venue so the people they’re connected to get exposed to your page.

Someone visiting a new city for the first time might search for “restaurants in Chicago my friends like.” If you’re a restaurant in Chicago and that person’s friends “like” your page, you’ll get listed in those results.

Maybe our Facebook user wants to check out a restaurant in Chicago her friends have actually been to. If her friends have checked into your restaurant on Facebook, you’ll show up in a search for “restaurants my friends have been to.”

Maybe she doesn’t have any friends in Chicago. Just searching for “restaurants in Chicago” can bring up your page if you have your address filled in. Are you an Italian restaurant or a Chinese restaurant? If she’s craving a special kind of cuisine, you’ll turn up in search results if you’ve classified your business beyond just “restaurant.”

The more likes and check-ins your business has, the more likely you are to show up in searches across Facebook’s user base.

Quick Fixes For Your Page

Facebook Graph Search is in a very limited beta release, which means not many users actually have it yet. But just like when Timeline for business pages got announced, you can get your page search-ready now.

Fill In All Your Information

Make sure your page is in the right category. If you’re a bar but chose “Restaurant” as your page category, you won’t get found by people searching Facebook for local bars. Facebook has simple instructions for changing your page category.

Fill in your address too, or at least your city and state – even if you do business online. You never know when someone might search Facebook for “marketing consultants in Richmond, VA” and find your page.

Tag Your Photos

Photos of people and places are searchable in Graph Search. Tag all the photos you post with your page’s name and location. If you take photos during events, invite guests to tag themselves in your photos. The more connections you build between people, the more findable your page will be.

Promote Your Page On Facebook

Facebook Gifts

Facebook has a number of tools to help spread your page virally at a lower cost than ads. Gifts and Offers, for example, put your page in the newsfeeds of friends of people who “like” your page, giving you better visibility that can lead to more “likes.”

The more often local customers check in to your establishment, the more networks of people you’ll reach through Graph Search. Target a Facebook post to your local fans encouraging them to “check in” the next time they’re at your business.

Promote Your Page Off Facebook

Graph Search is driven by likes and check ins. Promoting your page off Facebook can bring you more new fans. Your customers might not know that you’re on Facebook. Post flyers around your establishment to let people know.

Make it easy for new people to “like” your page by posting QR codes they can scan with a smartphone or setting up an iPad near a cash register with an app like OnSpot Social that lets people connect with you on Facebook on the spot.

Want to get found by more check ins? Offer small discounts for groups of people who check in together. It’s a popular practice on Foursquare that you can transfer to your Facebook page, too.

“Likes” Aren’t Replacing Reviews Yet

Facebook Graph Search treats likes and check ins like recommendations, now. Should I check out this new hair salon? How many of my friends have been there? Do any of them “like” it?

But that doesn’t mean you should abandon any other local marketing efforts you’re doing.

If your business is listed on a recommendation site like Yelp or TripAdvisor, don’t shut down your account because of Graph Search. A “like” on Facebook isn’t a replacement for a customer’s first-hand review of your business, something Graph Search doesn’t do right now.

This post focused on how Graph Search works and how you can make your page more findable. But that’s not all Graph Search can do. Subscribe to the blog for part two, where we’ll show you some ways you can use Graph Search to enhance your content marketing.