3 Ways to Use Facebook Graph Search to Your Marketing Advantage

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

social-media-mouseUnderstanding an organization’s target audience is one of the greatest challenges in marketing. Even when dealing with a company’s current customer base, it’s difficult to know much about the group except for the fact that they use a certain product. Social media has begun to change that dynamic between marketers and the audiences they are trying to reach. By nature of forming connections between people and giving people a place to state what things they like, social media networks, like Facebook, contain a lot of data that can be used to better understand particular groups of people. Until recently, a company would have to pay a service to run a report to take advantage of this data., Earlier this year, however, Facebook released Facebook Graph Search which makes it easier for individuals to use information on Facebook for market research. This post will examine three ways that business owners can use Facebook Graph Search to their marketing advantage.

  1. Better Understand the Interests of Customers and Target Audiences
    The main benefit of using Facebook Graph Search is that it provides new insights into the fans and potential customers of business that is marketing on Facebook. Users can see things such as the other pages that fans like, their common interests, their friends, and more. For social media marketers, the information on common interests can be used to craft better content for social media posts or future blogs. Marketers can discover their fan base’s favorite movies, books, songs, restaurants and more all with the click of a mouse. It’s essentially market research made easy.

    For small business owners in general, the information from Facebook Graph Search can be used a variety of ways. Business owners can decide what the common factors among their customers and use that to better target future marketing and advertising campaigns. If most of the fans of a product are of a certain demographic, then the company many want to specifically target that group since they are the most likely to buy the product. Similar, the data can also be used to show the organization where their efforts have been lacking. Non-profit organization’s usually want a broad base of support, so if the data indicates they aren’t reaching a particular group, the organization can refocus their campaigns to reach that group.

    When conducting searches, remember to think in terms of {Entity} {Relationship} {Entity}. So a business that wanted to know what kinds of music to feature in an upcoming ad, they can search “Songs Liked By My Friends”. Imagine how much more likely a video is to spread virally if it features the favorite band of fans in the background. That’s a small example of how better understanding the fanbase through Facebook Graph Search can improve marketing efforts.

  2. More Targeted B2B Networking
    Facebook Graph Search also gives new options for B2B marketers. A common misconception about social media marketing is that it can’t be used for B2B networking. The existence and popularity of social media site LinkedIn refutes such claims, as has been discussed in other posts on this blog, but now Facebook can fill a similar role for B2B marketers. In the past, finding small business owners or other business professionals among the millions of people on Facebook made B2B marketing on the network difficult. Since this tool makes it possible to search for specific interest groups, it is now possible to target the specific subset of Facebook users that a particular B2B marketers is looking for (e.g. searching for small businesses owner that like a particular product or service which makes them good candidates for B2B campaign).

    Being able to use Facebook specifically for B2B marketing is gives marketers access to an audience that was once too hard to reach and that LinkedIn didn’t necessarily serve. LinkedIn serves professionals looking to connect with other professionals, but B2B marketing sometimes means connecting with business owners who aren’t using social media for that purpose. To illustrate, if a B2B marketer is trying to sell display cases to small retail stores, those stores are more likely to active on Facebook than LinkedIn, since these stores are marketing to the general public and not specifically to professionals. Facebook Graph Search makes it possible to target these small business owners without using paid tools or sending the thousands of impersonal, cookie-cutter private messages that are often ignored when people receive them in their inbox.

  3. Location-Specific Market Research
    Another benefit of Facebook Graph Search is that it makes it easier to search for information from specific areas. This data can be especially useful for small businesses trying to do local market research. To illustrate, a sports store that’s considering adding new inventory can search for people in the area who like a certain brand or product [e.g. People in Dallas who like Beanie Babies]. The results would be extremely useful for determining the potential demand or even for noticing an overcrowded marketplace.

    Similarly, Facebook Graph Search is a great tool for getting to know the competition. By seeing the common interests of the fans of competitors, small business owners can understand what elements may be missing from their business or corporate image. In this way, Facebook Graph Search does a lot to level the playing field for small business owners, who couldn’t afford the thousands of dollars in surveys, focus groups and other kinds of market research that can now essentially be done for free.

As a small note to anyone who didn’t realize how much information was available on Facebook Graph Search, it is possible for users to make their data inaccessible in the search. In the account privacy settings, turn “Who Can See My Stuff” to Friends or Only Me.

Facebook Graph Search is powerful tool for business owners and marketers who know how to make the most of plethora of information available. As useful as the tool already is, Facebook plans to give it the ability to search text-based status updates as well as information from third-party apps like Spotify. Learning how to use this type of data to a business’s advantage now means that a business owner will be the most prepared to use the newer features for better marketing and advertising strategies. It is often said that in the information age, “Data is the new oil.” With Facebook Graph Search, small business owners just discovered a well in their backyard.

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