How Can Businesses Prepare For Facebook Graph Search?

By Justin Lafferty 

Facebook’s graph search, which is slowly being rolled out to more people, has major implications for brands. It could change the way that companies advertise not only on Facebook, but in their brick-and-mortar stores, too. Mark Simmons, co-founder and managing partner of Mixed Digital, spoke with AllFacebook about how companies can get their pages ready for graph search — taking both a digital and tangible approach.

As more businesses big and small join Facebook, we may see more of a search-engine-optimization movement happen on the social network. Simmons told AllFacebook that the launch of graph search will motivate pages to ensure that they’ve got their contact information and biographies completely filled out. Many pages still don’t have phone numbers or “about me” sections written up.

Simmons added that more businesses will put as much information about themselves on the pages as possible, making sure their fans have places that are easy to check into:

The first step is to claim your Facebook place. A lot of businesses have not. There’s a large number that haven’t claimed their places and don’t even know that they have a Facebook places page. We’ve seen the same happen on Foursquare, where they exist but they don’t go and claim themselves. First you need to claim your Facebook place, then you need to optimize your profile and make sure that all of the information is filled out and complete, and everything is in good order. If you have multiple locations, then you need to replicate that process.

Graph search can also change advertising both online and in-store. Simmons said that as more users have access to graph search, advertising will become focused more on the bottom of the funnel, looking to convert, rather than top of the funnel, where businesses just try to get their foot in the door:

With this extra data, we’re going to see a shift in the funnel, downward toward more buying transactions and more decision-making transactions, as opposed to just general interest and demand creation.

However, many stores could also step their game up offline, letting customers know that they’re on Facebook and asking them to like and check in. By asking fans (or customers who aren’t fans yet) to engage with pages in this manner, it increases the chances that they’ll be found through graph search, whenever users search for places their friends like.

Readers: Do you have access to graph search yet?