Can Your Business Benefit from Facebook’s Search Feature?

What's In It For Me?
Risks and Benefits of Facebook Open Graph Search Feature

If you own a business any new feature announcements from Facebook can simultaneously evoke feelings of hopeful excitement and vague dread.  “Will this bring in new business?” VS ‘Uh oh, what have they done this time?” The new feature’s name this time is Open Graph Search. It is in beta release.

Business Page Users: A big plus is that Business Page Users might find personal information that, in the past, has been only available to paid advertisers.  A search result for “people who like to cycle” could be really valuable if you own a bicycle shop or are looking for a cycling group to join. 

Individuals can gather fast facts without needing to post a poll for all their friends. If you are planning a trip to New York or London, instead of only posting a request for friend’s restaurant recommendations, you can enter a search such as “What restaurants have my friends visited in New York?”

One of the big complaints about Facebook since its inception in 2004 was the poor search engine function, with completely irrelevant results popping up. The other big complaint is that personal privacy protection requires Facebook users to be very proactive.

Take a look at the pros and cons that this new search engine may have for business marketing and for your personal account. I suggest you watch the Facebook video regarding how to use “Open Graph Search”.

Potential Business Pages Benefits

social media search facebook open graph

1. One ‘Like’ Can Lead To Many More People Knowing About You

In theory, Graph Search may end up being the best thing that happened for small businesses on Facebook.  This search functions is only available to a few BETA users at this point.

The process: When an individual searches Facebook for a specific type of business, such as chiropractor, chiropractors who their friends have liked or have checked in at will pop up first.

This means that the number of people who know about your business because of Facebook could potentially skyrocket. This holds true no matter what kind of business you run. The best part about this? There are no stated, associated fees, so this is even more free business promotion than Facebook offered previously.

2. The Competitive Advantage

Your competitors who do not have Facebook pages will be less likely to be featured  in the search results, since the search results in the Beta version are only from Facebook, and not from across the web.

3. Advertising Opportunities

As on Google, it is speculated that Graph Search will allow you to pay for advertisements on relevant searches on the results page. This would be a relatively inexpensive way to promote your business in addition to the free promotion that you are already receiving as a result of the free search results. However, this is not a current feature on Graph Search and it is unclear when this feature will be implemented.

Paid advertising campaigns with Facebook offer a number of types and customer targeting opportunites.

Privacy Risks Increased

Privacy protection from Facebook has been a subject of controvery since its inception. Open Graph Search makes the privacy protection challenges larger. 

You Cannot Opt Out; So Protect Yourself

This sounds all fine and good as far as your business is concerned, but as a personal user, it is a different story.

The inability to opt out of the search results is by far the biggest drawback of the new search engine. Not only is your personal information on the website, but there is no way to opt out of the search feature. This means, whether you like it or not, random people from around the world will be able to access where you live, since geographical location is one of the ways people are linked together, and your interests based on the pages you have liked. For many people, this is a huge turn off.

  Bottom Line:Run a test. Measure the results. Take advantage of the business advantages and make a note to increase your families privacy settings on Facebook this weekend.