LCI Blog: Introducing Facebook’s Graph Search

By Sheryl So, Account Executive at LCI

Touted as the third pillar of Facebook, Graph Search will soon be as prominent as Newsfeed and Timeline. At least, that’s what the social networking giant hopes. Because Graph Search is still in beta, no one is sure what its functionality will be. The buzz has definitely left many tech journalists, including The Verge’s Chris Welch and the Huffington Post’s Craig Kanalley, eagerly awaiting their trial requests.

In the meantime, here is an overview of Graph Search’s capabilities and how it might impact PR professionals:

What Is Graph Search?

Graph Search focuses on people, photos, places and interests. It scours data that Facebook has gathered about its users and creates a mathematical mapping of the way people relate to each other online. Facebook is tapping in to its vast databank of what we like and what we do. Graph Search aims to help users discover things recommended and “liked” by their friends.

How Is Graph Search Different From Web Search?

Facebook is quick to make the distinction between web and graph search. Web search is designed to take any open-ended query and deliver links that might have answers. Graph Search is designed to take a precise query and deliver an answer. For example, you could ask Graph Search: “Who are my friends that live in San Francisco?” It’s Facebook’s way of mining its collection of data to deliver personalized recommendations, all within Facebook’s walls.

How Does Graph Search Work?

Graph Search will appear as a large search bar at the top of each page. When you start typing a query, it will suggest searches on Facebook and, once you select the search, it will return results that you can further customize and filter.

Users will be able to search across four main categories using a set of intuitive verbs (“lives,” “like,” “work,” etc.), nouns (“San Francisco,” “Indian,” “restaurants,” “friends” etc.), prepositions (“before,” “with,” “in”) and pronouns (“who,” that,” etc.). For example, you can look up: “Friends of friends who live in San Francisco and like Indian restaurants,” or “Friends who have been to New York City.”

How Will Graph Search Benefit PR Pros

Once graph search is launched, companies will be better able to learn more about their customers. However, although a business owner could personally search for specific personal data, a brand page cannot.

Here are a few searches that might be interesting for businesses with a presence on Facebook to try:

    • What photos do people who like my page like?
    • What photos have people who like my page commented on?
    • What do people who like my company like?
    • What do people who like my competitors like?
    • What do people who like specific industry experts comment on?

Searches may result in ideas for blog posts, press releases, infographics or even new products.

Facebook has multiplied the value of a “like” or a comment for businesses. If a brand has genuine fans that genuinely follow their company, the Graph will pay them back many times for their social media engagement.

Graph Search could also help PR Pros discover journalists. For example, simply type in “journalists” to find people or pages that fall into this category. By selecting people, you will see anyone who has a journalist-related title on their Facebook profile and once you follow them, you will be able to keep up with their public updates in your News Feed.

Although there is no clear date for when Graph Search will officially launch, it’s not too late to join the waiting list.

If you’d like to share your thoughts about Graph Search, please leave a comment below or contact me at [email protected]. Happy searching!!

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1 Comment

  1. david Reply

    Sheryl – love your tips about how Facebook Graph will help PR pros. Thanks for doing the research. Cheers, David