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10 Pros and Cons of Facebook Graph Search For Business

Facebook has been very enthusiastic about the release of Graph Search, but a lot of folks are still nervous about privacy concerns. And even though Facebook tried to ease people’s concerns with tips on how to handle their privacy for Graph Search, there’s no easy way to just fix everything and make it all private with a click of a button; which makes this a goldmine for businesses, hackers, phishers, and the like.

5 Reasons why Graph Search is Great for Business

Once a brand’s Page owner gets access to Graph Search, they can do a boat load of searches giving them access to data they never had before.

  1. Better Engagement
    Graph Search allows Page owners to create more engaging content by allowing them to do a search to see what other interests people have who already “like” their Page.
  2. Broader Reach
    Graph Search allows Page owners the ability to not only see vertical interests of their fans, but allows them better identify and understand people who like their competitors. Just simply type in “People who like (competitor’s name) or “Interests of people who like (competitor’s name)” and voila! You have some market research that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
  3. Better Bang for your Advertising Buck
    If you invest in Facebook Ads to promote your business then you’ll be able to use this information to finely target those Facebook Ads. Just imagine if you know that the majority of people who like your brand also watch the Vampire Diaries or like to go camping. Advertisers have dreamed of this kind of vertical market research that’s usually only available in sophisticated tools, and not for the novice at heart.
  4. Hire Better Talent
    Graph Search allows you to not only search interests and “likes” but it also lets you look at people’s work history, education, and motivation so that you can better discover talent that not only has the skills but is also a better fit. You can also find friends of people who work at a company who are looking to fill a position and that can be a good referral. (Not that you couldn’t do this on LinkedIn or through WhoWorks.at, but you never know what else you’ll dig up on the person when you check out their friend’s profile.)
  5. Reviews
    Facebook has been quietly encouraging customers to give reviews for companies on the company Page. This could be incredibly valuable from a personalized recommendation standpoint and could give Google a serious run for their money.

5 Reasons why Graph Search is Not So Great for Business

It’s totally reasonable to think that Facebook will be looking to monetize Graph Search in the near future. But one has to ask, just how valid is the data?

  1. True value of “Like”
    Although “interests” are probably more accurate than a page “like”, how many times have you “liked” a brand for a promotion or something free, or because a friend asked you to? Now think of how many times your fans may have done the exact same thing.
  2. Stale Data
    Graph Search is only as good as the data that’s provided and many users have let their profile information grow stale over time such as the current job, whether or not they are in a relationship, where they live, etc.
  3. Dots still need to be connected
    The true benefit of Facebook would be from a recommendation perspective, where someone who is looking for a dentist or restaurant does a search by checking for all dentists  or restaurants their friends have “liked” or checked into. From a business perspective that seems great, except that the connection needs to be there which means you need to encourage people to ‘Like’ your Page or check into your place on Facebook.
  4. Built by users, for users
    The data might be dirty (inaccurate or out-dated) but in order for it to be clean it needs to be updated by the end user for brands to find this useful.
  5. Crawl before you walk
    This product is in its infancy stages and just like with any good application, it will need to start somewhere and build from there. The results will be something like what Apple Maps was for the iPhone with hopes of becoming the next big relevant search.
Will consumers use Graph Search to find recommendations from friends for restaurants, doctors, or the like? And do you think brands will buy into the advertising portion of this should Facebook monetize it?

 

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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.