4 Reasons Why Facebook Is Vital To Your Brand’s Future Search Strategy

Face­book offers a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty for mar­keters look­ing to grow audi­ences via search. Here’s why and how.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Face­book search is an under­uti­lized resource, which already has plen­ty of poten­tial as an incred­i­bly valu­able mar­ket­ing tool – and that val­ue is only going to grow. Here’s why.

As ear­ly as Sep­tem­ber 2012, CEO Mark Zucker­berg has said Face­book was get­ting 1 bil­lion search queries a day. What’s more, in its Q4 2014 earn­ings call, Yelp CEO Jere­my Stop­pel­man said, “The age of [users] going to Google on [their] desk­top and find­ing [their] way to Yelp – while it’s not over – we’ve sort of hit that peak.”

As a result, if brands want to con­tin­ue grow­ing their audi­ences via search, Face­book offers a big oppor­tu­ni­ty. That’s accord­ing to David Mihm, direc­tor of local search strat­e­gy for Moz, at Moz­con last week.

This is clear­er when you look at mobile as 17 per­cent of time spent on mobile devices is in the Face­book mobile app, Mihm said.

Face­book has become the home app for basi­cal­ly every­one on their mobile phones,” he said. “But I don’t know how many peo­ple are aware of the amaz­ing search infra­struc­ture.”

That’s in part because of what Mihm refers to as “Google blind­ers,” point­ing to a huge dis­par­i­ty in news cov­er­age ded­i­cat­ed to Google search ver­sus Face­book search.

Facebook Search: A Brief History

The Face­book esti­mate about 1 bil­lion dai­ly search queries came before the net­work launched Graph Search in Jan­u­ary 2013. That was most use­ful on return­ing peo­ple results, such as “peo­ple who like cycling and live in Seat­tle,” Mihm said.

Then, in Decem­ber 2014, Graph Search became sim­ply “Search,” and, Mihm said, “Posts got a much big­ger boost.”

Next, in March 2015, Face­book acquired prod­uct search start­up TheFind, which helps users find goods for sale online. The net­work has also announced part­ner­ships with pub­lish­ers that allow users to browse news con­tent direct­ly from the Face­book app, which Mihm said cre­ates “a more com­plete Face­book search ecosys­tem where the behav­ior is hap­pen­ing with­in Face­book.”

In addi­tion, Zucker­berg has said Face­book search is “a five-year thing,” so, Mihm said, “I think we’re going to see tremen­dous inno­va­tion and fea­tures and new oppor­tu­ni­ties from Face­book to us as mar­keters.”

So where­as Face­book search is about search now, the future will like­ly be about audi­ence-build­ing, Mihm said. That means know­ing how to use the right parts of Face­book speech – includ­ing sub­jects, objects, mod­i­fiers, and verbs – as well as para­me­ters, could be incred­i­bly valu­able.

Here’s how.

Use Case 1: Content Marketing

When fig­ur­ing out what kind of con­tent to cre­ate, mar­keters can search for the inter­ests of peo­ple who like their pages for inspi­ra­tion.

That’s a cre­ative way to get con­tent in front of your audi­ence,” Mihm said.

In addi­tion, brands can search for recent pho­tos tak­en at a spe­cif­ic loca­tion and, after ask­ing for per­mis­sion, use those images in blogs, newslet­ters, and the like.

Think about the con­tent your users have already cre­at­ed,” Mihm said.

Use Case 2: Audience Intelligence

Mar­keters can also ask about pages liked by peo­ple who like their pages, which, Mihm said, can be use­ful to poten­tial­ly fig­ure out who to tar­get for guest posts.

The same is true of find­ing poten­tial local part­ner­ships by search­ing for pages liked by res­i­dents of a par­tic­u­lar geo­graph­ic area who also like a giv­en brand’s page.

For more on this, see our post: Get­ting To Know Your Audi­ence Using Face­book Search.

Use Case 3: Influencer Research

Brands can also use Face­book to search for jour­nal­ists and blog­gers who live in a spe­cif­ic geo­graph­ic area, as well as friends of friends who are jour­nal­ists or blog­gers and who live in a spe­cif­ic geo­graph­ic area, Mihm said. Face­book also enables mar­keters to search for jour­nal­ists and blog­gers who work for spe­cif­ic out­lets.

That helps you fig­ure out who to reach out to and who to build rela­tion­ships with,” Mihm said. “As well as to see who’s writ­ing and inter­est­ed in your top­ic and lives in your area.”

What’s more, Mihm said mar­keters can search for spe­cif­ic titles as well to find the right exec­u­tives to reach out to.

In addi­tion, Mihm rec­om­mends search­ing for peo­ple who use Yelp and like your brand in order to find good can­di­dates for reviews.

You can ask them to check in and have a spe­cial so you make sure you treat them like a VIP and then Yelp will prompt them to leave a review,” Mihm said.

Use Case 4: Business Development

Face­book search can help brands fig­ure out where to ped­dle their wares. For exam­ple, a brew­ery might search for bars in a giv­en region liked by peo­ple who also like the brew­ery, Mihm said.

It can also help in terms of tar­get­ed offer out­reach by search­ing for a par­tic­u­lar demo­graph­ic – like, say, sin­gles – who like a giv­en brand and live in a par­tic­u­lar geo­graph­ic area.

Face­book search will be real­ly big,” Mihm said.

What’s your take on the oppor­tu­ni­ty Face­book search offers for mar­keters?

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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