Are You and Your Business Ready for Facebook Graph Search?

Lauren Peek | @treblemaker45

As individuals and businesses make their presence known on the world wide web, individualization is becoming more significant. People want searches and results that are tailored to them - where they live, what their interests are, and who their friends are. Facebook Graph Search, announced less than 2 months ago, was Facebook’s answer to this demand. As the beta test continues, more information about this new search tool has been reaching those of us not lucky enough to try it out ourselves.

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Facebook Graph Search is the 3rd pillar of Facebook, joining the already launched Timeline & News Feed. Graph Search allows (or will allow, if you’re still waiting to join beta) users to create long, detailed searches of anyone and anything, as long as the information is public or shared with the user.

For example, say you want to find single men in the Dallas area that are 35 years old and like sushi. You can do that with Facebook Graph Search. The new tool feels like a cross between a search engine and a dating site (for people or businesses). Graph Search wants to be your one-stop-shop for looking for searching the internet.

What does this mean for privacy? You need to be aware of your privacy settings. You can keep people from finding what you have posted (photos or statuses) by editing your privacy settings. Allowing only your friends to see your information will keep strangers from looking at your profile with the new tool.

What if your friends have tagged you in embarrassing photos? You'll need to untag yourself, or ask your friend to take the photo down/change their privacy settings. Facebook has built in protection for minors. Teens using Graph Search will only find information and pages of other teens, and adults will not be able to view the information or pages of teens they are not friends with.

http://zapt0.staticworld.net/images/article/2013/02/graph-search_dentists-100024812-large.jpg What does this mean for businesses? Facebook Graph could be great for businesses. The more likes and check-ins you receive on your business page, the higher up in the results the page will appear. Content posted by the business will also help determine the location on the results page. People can perform local business searches, write reviews, and interact with businesses better than before. Businesses need to interact with the people posting on their page, too.

This is no longer a one way street. The better and stronger the interaction between business and customer, the higher in search results your business will appear. And if you don’t have a Facebook page, you won’t appear in the search results anymore at all.

As with any change to Facebook, there are some who complain vehemently about how much they dislike it. However, the better prepared individuals and businesses are for Graph Search, the smoother the transition will become. Knowing how to promote and protect your information is key. Take the opportunity to adopt the idea of Graph Search it is still in beta.