Facebook’s Big Announcement? Social Search is Here … Sort of

Sample Graph Search

Well here we are, a few days since the big Facebook announcement. Has your life changed yet? Yeah, just what I thought.

We talked about Social Media and Search last week and you can find that story here. Facebook sorta did what I was talking about, but the market and the social world were a little underwhelmed by the announcement. Shares of Facebook took a hit after the announcement and as for the social world, well, you’re not quite invited, yet.

Facebook did announce a new search tool, Graph Search, that CEO Zuckerberg described as the third pillar alongside Timeline and News Feed.

Graph Search will allow users to uncover social connections between other members of the site. Friends, places, interests, and photos will be the foundation for queries. Only problem is, it hasn’t actually launched yet! It is in beta now and if you go to Facebook, you can sign up to get on the “Waiting List” here. Initially, it will become available to only “tens of thousands” of users, which is a pretty small number in the grand scheme of Facebook; however, they say they will launch publicly in the next few months.

The above picture is an example of a return from the new search. The search term was, “Restaurants my friends have been to …” Besides the fact that my friends only go to bars according to Facebook, you can see where this is going. What if someone types in “Books my friends read…”. The value in that could be enormous in helping us get the word out about our books or businesses. I performed this with the very limited search sample Facebook made available, so I wasn’t able to ask it what books my friends have read at this time.

Even though the event was a little premature, I promised some tips on “Social Search and how to make it work for you.” Bing already incorporates some level of social search, and of course, Google+ was an attempt by Google to do the same. The problem is, no one uses Google+ like the king of social media—Facebook.

Get ahead of the curve and start combining your search engine optimization (SEO) and social media strategy, treating them as if they function together. This will only help you get the word out about your books or business.

Here are seven steps to set you on your way:

1. Analyze your current strengths – Find your most popular content. What is shared the most and ranked the highest? You can do that through the statistics on your blog or website or through your insights on your Facebook Page. You’ll find a wealth of information on how the social and SEO world handles your content in your Facebook insights.

2. Review your profiles on social media platforms and blogs/websites for strong keywords – When you’ve identified posts that have gone “viral,” take a look at the tags or keywords associated with that post and consider which topics are important for you to be known for, then, find a way to include those in your various profiles.

Once you’ve determined the new keywords for your profile, make them more social. Include them in content for all platforms of social media.

3. Energize your Facebook Page – The King is Facebook. It will become the key to social search. Regular, consistent, keyword laden, quality content will serve you well.

4. Bing and Google+ – Don’t forget about them. Bing already is dipping its toe into social search as I detailed last week. With its relationship with Facebook, it’s about to get more robust. Google+ is still the ten-thousand-pound gorilla when it comes to SEO and probably always will be.

“Web search (Google) is designed to take a set of keywords and provide the best possible results that match those keywords,” Facebook explained in a press release, “With Graph Search you combine phrases to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that’s been shared on Facebook.”

5. Find your fans – Use tools like commun.it (I talked about that here) to find the people who consistently share your content. Find the contacts with a large number of followers and get to know them.

6. Develop your fans – Once you’ve identified your fans, bring them into the conversation. Retweet and share their posts, thank them for everything they do for you.

7. Keep writing – Above all, content is king. Whether you’re writing a novel, blog, or newspaper article, quality content rises above all. According to Nielsen Research, 92% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other type of advertising. What you say means something to your network. Keep it fresh, informative, and relevant.

In the new paradigm of search, it is important to find out what works, what’s shared and use that as a springboard for creating ways for the people that are looking for you (but don’t know it yet) to find you. Good luck!

So what’s your take? Is this Greek or should we be listening to the changes that are occurring? If you are interested in learning more about how to use insights to guide your content, leave us a note and we’ll touch on it in the future!

Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

5 thoughts on “Facebook’s Big Announcement? Social Search is Here … Sort of”

  1. Very good post, Jim, thanks. I feel like a spectator watching some kind of event – who knows where the next big social networking thing is coming from? Who can say if the latest book-related start-ups will get anywhere or just sink without trace? Already there are so many sites to be on, places where each Indie must have a presence – which is better, or more useful? Anyhow, do keep on helping us to understand this mayhem, thanks!

  2. Fabulous post, Jim! There’s just so much to keep up with, it’s nice to have an intrepid blogger like you to keep us all on track 🙂

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