Facebook Emphasizes Local in Taking Graph Search Mobile

Posted on by Jay Hawkinson

CMOs who embrace scalable local marketing should be aware of Facebook’s Graph Search moving to mobile, because it will have a tremendous impact on many local social campaigns.

Graph Search was introduced to Facebook users in March 2013, and returns highly personalized content from the searcher’s own personal network by tapping into a searcher’s social graph to find people, photos, videos, pages, places or anything shared publicly or with the person conducting the search on Facebook. This change in tactics results in a more engaged local user, increasing the importance for your team to have a local brand strategy that caters to Graph Search.

Opportunity abounds for businesses that have prioritized local Facebook marketing through Graph Search as local Facebook pages, in many cases, outperform national brand pages. According to a study from Mainstay Salire, local pages produce an average of five times more marketing reach and eight times more engagement than national pages. Because of the local nature of the search results, brands can also use Graph Search to maximize social signals and search visibility for their locations.

Following Consumer Trends, Graph Search Goes Mobile

Facebook started testing Graph Search on mobile in February, which makes sense because it delivers recommendations based on a user’s network, and answers questions that are local in nature such as “What’s a good hotel in Atlanta?” Or, “Where’s the best pizza place in downtown Seattle?”

By tying results to GPS or location data, Graph Search becomes even more powerful for users and local marketers alike. Graph Search mobile can provide “nearby” results, show addresses and provide directions to most any location. Combine these results directly with reviews, and every bit of information a consumer can hope for appears right in the palm of their hand.

Graph Search Mobile also creates instant opportunity with consumers on mobile devices. Business owners should encourage visitors to “check-in,” “like” and “recommend” their business pages via the Facebook app immediately rather than hoping for interactions later, when the consumer reaches their desktop computer at home. The increased interactions should boost a business location’s potential ranking within Graph Search, helping it appear in more search results.

Local social search is the next evolution of local marketing with Graph Search leading the charge. It’s a smart move by Facebook to bring Graph Search to mobile and it presents a ripe opportunity for local marketers. But CMOs must understand how best to utilize it to win local marketing battles.

With that in mind, here are four questions to ask your local marketing team for a quick litmus test:

  1. Are we leveraging local Facebook pages? If not, why?
  2. How has their performance changed since March 2013?
  3. What have we done to capitalize on Graph Search?
  4. Facebook’s doubling down with mobile, what have we done to prepare?

Jay Hawkinson is senior vice president – emerging products for SIM Partners.

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