Facebook graph search, the newest social search engine in town, may be something that business marketers should look into.
Some marketers might say that graph search is good, while some may say otherwise.We may not be able to jump onto any conclusions yet as it is still in the beta stage.
So, let us take a “helicopter view” on the possible benefits and limitations of Facebook Graph Search for small business.
It’s rather creepy but it is possible that you can almost search for any person or perhaps, anything under the sun in the social network of one billion active users.
Graph search is more micro-based in which businesses and Facebook users could use it to understand the interests, the activities and other demographics of their fans or friends, much better; and by knowing more about your targeted consumers, businesses can therefore create better strategies in marketing to their consumers via Facebook Graph Search.
This may especially help recruiters a lot in finding the right job candidates.
Leveraging on the power of Peers Influence
Graph search helps to encourage word of mouth marketing activities on social media; the search results will be more convincing for the consumers as they will also see that their friends has also somehow “endorsed” it.
Somes Possible Limitations
i. Changing new consumer behaviour may take time if the purpose is not strong enough
The question is, will consumers one day grow to be totally dependent on Facebook Graph Search than Google Search?
Consumer behaviour needs time to change and there must be a very strong purpose for consumer to change; that is, to shift from using Google search to graph search.
Here, a strong purpose means changing the entire consumer market towards what your brand wants them to. It is something like Apple iPhone taking over the mobile phones market by storm; or when people started to use Facebook because it is a better and more engaging social networking website than MySpace and Friendster.Graph search may be good as a people or social search but it may not as good as a general consumer search like Google. In my opinion, people who find things on graph search, may also find it again on Google.
So, graph search may only be seen as a “supplement” to Google.
ii. What happens if there is advertisers’ saturation?
Will small businesses eventually be competing in a price bidding war when they advertise on graph search? Will there be things like quality score or search engine optimization for graph search that will make sure that only good quality facebook pages may appear on the first page of the graph search? Is there any plans that can be fair to all small business advertisers should there be saturation in the number of advertisers on Facebook?
These concerns needs to be addressed first in order for marketers like us to feel confident in using graph search in our marketing campaigns.
iii. Incomplete Profile
Sometimes, people may not list down all their interests, places they like to visit, their marital status, their job positions or their company names on Facebook.
Some of them, in their privacy settings, may not set it to public. So, taking these users into consideration, the graph search results may not show the entire picture.
iv. Friends’ Likes May not be Convincing Enough to make a buying decision
Just like when you saw a sponsored ad on Google with a hundred “+1” endorsements, does not mean that you will be convinced to buy whatever it is from the ad.
When you see 200 friends like for example, McDonalds’ on Facebook graph search, it also does not mean that you must also like McDonald’s.
Consumers behaviour is very hard to predict and control; but of course, the more of your friends who liked a certain business brand that you found on graph search, the better chance that you would also check out that brand. But making the buying decision, will be solely based on individual consumer preferences.
You know, this is very subjective; like the chicken and the egg theory.
In a nutshell,
Facebook Graph Search is something new in the market, it will definitely have an impact on consumers behaviour in the social media world today. As whether the impact is immense or minute, we may need some time to see if there is any possible success stories and successful marketing models that we can look upon in the future.
That’s my take on Graph Search. What’s yours?