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Facebook Graph Search Gives Consumers Power

Graph Search Also Opens Doors For Brands

Will people be stingy with a “Like” knowing it can be indexed in Facebook’s new search feature? Facebook unveiled a new feature Tuesday (Jan 15, 2013) called Graph Search. We’ll have a tutorial on that in the near future, but first I want to explore what it is, what it means for brands, and what it means for consumers.

What is Graph Search?

It’s the ability to search in Facebook on anything shared with you (this includes other people’s posts that are public that you may not be connected to) and vice versa, they can see anything you’ve shared with them or things you’ve set to public (past posts included). This means different people will see different results — especially as people have gotten more savvy with their privacy settings over the past couple of years.

Facebook's Graph Search

It includes not only “likes” but also anything in your profile, including your interests, your job, where you live, birthday, and more. It also includes photos that have been shared public, photos that have been shared with you, and even photos that have been hidden on timeline.

What this means for brands?

We have long known that personal recommendations was the wave of the future and now it seems to be here. Graph Search is an untapped goldmine for marketers and brands. Never before has interacting and engaging with your community on Facebook been so important. Now people can search “recommendations” from their friends. And by “recommendations” I mean “likes” and this has huge value for brands.

Imagine that now your customers can search and see restaurants, hotels, TV shows, spas, — you name it — that their friends have “liked” or “checked-into.” Suddenly the value of “like” and “checking-in” just went up – tenfold.

Brands can be creative by using this as currency or offering a discount if you “check-in” or “like” their Page. Not that they couldn’t before, but they’ll want to do this even more now given the weight in value that a “like” or “check-in” has with the new Facebook Graph Search feature.

And, Mark Zuckerberg said, “This could potentially be a business over time.” Meaning he knows that if this takes off, businesses would be THRILLED to pay Facebook for advertising on Graph Search. Oh, the possibilities….

What this means for consumers?

First and foremost, you can take it for a test drive on Facebook, here. The test drive is available because not everyone has the feature yet. Per usual, they are rolling it out in small doses.

On the positive side, Graph Search means you will probably get more discounts from brands. It also means you’ll be able to search for things you never could search for before and discover people and places that you may not have otherwise. On the negative side, it does make it a little scary that anything you’ve “liked” or “checked-into” in the past can be indexed by search, including photos that you’ve hidden from your Timeline but haven’t deleted. The Activity Log is your new best friend. Here are some tips from Facebook that you should consider doing or checking out asap:

Tip 1. To control who can see your current city, edit this setting in your About tab on your timeline, or watch this video to learn how to edit this setting.

Tip 2. You can review photos you’ve shared or have been tagged inWatch this video to learn how to report or remove photo tags of you. Photos that are untagged but not deleted can still be discovered by others on Facebook.

Tip 3.  To review or remove location tags of you at any time, go to the Posts You’re Tagged In section of your Activity Log.

What do you think of Graph Search? Good for brands? Good or bad for consumers? Let’s discuss it in the comments below.

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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.