Facebook is social media. Its core function is providing a platform to socialise in an online environment. In terms of businesses on social media it provides an arena for companies and brands to connect with target audiences with a major reduction in the barriers to communication.
My experience with social media has been based on the above elements of online communication. The announcement of Facebook’s Graph Search earlier this week seems to have further cemented my understanding of what social media is and how it affects both personal and professional relationships.
Graph Search is the ‘third pillar’ as Zuckerberg described it, along with Facebook’s Newsfeed and Timeline at a greatly anticipated announcement from Facebook’s HQ in Menlo Park, USA.
Tipped to revolutionise the way that people ‘search’ online, Graph Search will allow people to explore existing connections, and find new ones with networks of online contacts. It is a social search tool.
It allows you to connect to billions of people, their information, relationship status, photos, videos and any other content put on Facebook. Of course this has its privacy concerns of which Facebook has recognised.
Try something like, “Indian restaurants my friends like in Sydney?” or “Photo’s of my friends before 1995?” and decide whether this feature will revolutionise your online experience?
In my opinion it may not be the most exciting announcement that has ever hit the social media world but it is a beneficial search tool that lives up to its name. To search is to explore or examine in order to discover. Whilst you may be limited in discovering information, you cannot deny that using this search function, you have the ability to learn from a wider social network – what Facebook terms the ‘social graph’.
Differentiating it from a web search engine is that Graph Search operates within the Facebook social network only.
Whilst people can search for information on Google, the search results from a Facebook Graph Search are more likely to relate to the searcher because they are from people within his/her network.
When the time to try it comes along, you be the judge and let us know your thoughts? Post your comments below.
What does it mean for businesses?
Facebook Graph Search is more of a revolutionary tool for businesses than it is for the personal user.
Much like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) it is another way for brands to put themselves in front of prospective consumers. It is essentially online word of mouth advertising.
Users will find social proof when people like, comment or check in.
Further to establishing your business as a credible brand, Graph Search allows you to learn more about your customers. Who are they? Where are they from? Where do they do their shopping? Have they ever been to Westfield Sydney? Do they like pink?
It is a revolutionary research tool that offers endless potential for brands.
“Facebook has the largest database of information about the human race and how we all interact and are connected to each other that has ever existed. Mashable was able to find that KFC is the preferred restaurant of Star Wars fans. There are certainly plenty of interesting and even useful patterns that could be identified using Graph Search.” Social Media Today