By: Rob Reed
With the introduction of Facebook Graph Search (Graph Search), brands with multiple locations will soon find their Facebook strategy turned on its head. The value of marketing on Facebook is about to shift dramatically and disproportionately from the brand level to the local level for these types of companies.
If you’ve not heard about Graph Search, it was announced on Jan. 15 and is being positioned as the third pillar of the Facebook platform alongside News Feed and Timeline. Timeline is where you post content. News Feed is how that content gets distributed. And now Graph Search is how you can leverage the connections between your friends and the brands they like to generate unique and personalized search results. In other words, Graph Search will enable you to search for the best places to eat, shop, and stay, based on information from shared social connections; the results are implicit recommendations from trusted sources. With Graph Search, Facebook is opening a new world of social discovery by unlocking the value of our likes, check-ins, photos, and more.
The challenge for national brands in the restaurant, retail, and hospitality industries — and any company with multiple locations — is that they’ve invested nearly all their Facebook resources into building and supporting brand pages for the purpose of publishing content and managing customer relationships at the corporate level. But these brands don’t do business at the corporate level. They do business at the local level through large, brick-and-mortar networks. When it comes to Graph Search, these physical locations and their corresponding local Facebook pages are what really matter. Here’s why.
Our mantra for the past year has been that Facebook is giving local pages an equal voice on the social graph. This means that local pages are every bit as important and likely to surface as a brand page. In particular, it means that mobile is elevating local pages to the same stature as brand pages because this is how consumers engage at the local level. We noted last year that Facebook was taking seemingly deliberate steps to “seed” local pages with fans by directing users to local pages at the expense of the brand page. This happened at several points throughout the year across every brand we track. Inexplicably, local pages started generating massive numbers of fans, as if Facebook had flipped the local switch.
This appears to have set the stage for Graph Search by establishing the local connections that are vital to making this new search paradigm function for multilocation brands. Because if you’re seeking a local result, such as a restaurant, the fans of a corporate brand page are essentially worthless.
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Meet Author, Rob Reed:
Rob Reed is founder and CEO of MomentFeed, a social marketing platform built specifically for multilocation brands. The MomentFeed platform provides an integrated solution to manage Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram, and Twitter at the local level as well as Graph Search optimization. Reed’s background is in marketing and journalism, and he is the founder of Max Gladwell, an independent blog on social media, sustainability, and geolocation. He can be reached on Twitter.