Facebook is in the process of launching Graph Search, a new search tool designed to make it easy to search for specific information, such as “People who like to ski and live in Boston,” “Cities my family members have visited,” and “Music my friends like.” Since Facebook is such a vast potential market, as well as a repository for huge amounts of information, any new tool needs to be explored from an online marketing benefit standpoint.
As always in regards to Facebook, privacy is a key issue with this new search. Graph Search lets users look up anything shared with them on Facebook, as well as anything made public. Information designated as private by users will not come up in searches. As a result, each user should see unique results for searches.
Given the privacy limits of the new search, the question is how much information will be accessible for use in content marketing. Here are some factors:
- Even with the highest level of privacy settings, typically Facebook users’ profile and cover photos, gender, as well as Friends and Following lists are public. City and workplace are two categories that are also often viewable.
- Facebook has such a massive number of users that even if a large percentage of them have high privacy settings, there still should be a significant quantity of people with public information.
- With the searches, it should often be possible to view contact information such as email addresses, as well as the ability to message someone directly from Facebook.
- If you do happen to have a friend in common with someone who comes up in a search, that is a potential connection for networking.
Given these points, it seems that opportunities for using Graph Search to gather information for content marketing will exist, perhaps for searches such as:
- Females following (celebrity, news, location, etc.). Note: This search example seems likely to gather information even from those with high privacy settings.
- People who work at (company name) in (city).
- People who like (product, public figure, restaurant, hotel, location).
- Specific searches for certain people you are targeting for content marketing, in order to gain insight into interests and connections, though this information should be used with discretion.
There is little doubt that there are opportunities for content marketers to use this new tool, but as in every area of online marketing, the key will be to use it properly and selectively in a way that uncovers new audiences, or new information about existing audiences, without turning them away with heavy-handed efforts that come across as invasive.
For more information about how Zephoria is evaluating Facebook Graph Search as well as other social media marketing opportunities please let us know.