John Cockburn

Social Media: Why Facebook’s new Graph Search will change social media marketing

May 10th, 2013

When I was growing up, I remember a phrase my dad would use as a delay tactic on making big ticket purchase decisions that often frustrated my mother.

“I’ll ask the boys at work,“ he would reply.

My dad’s insistence on consulting people he perceived as experts before making a purchase is telling of human behavior – customers prefer to make decisions based on information, not persuasion.

I mention this because a shift to information over persuasion is coming to social media, driven by Facebook’s new Graph Search tool.

The way Graph Search works is simple … it filters our search results by what our friends and neighbors have previously liked and shared with us.

From a business intelligence perspective, the implications of this new function could be far reaching, given Graph Search allows users to formulate their perceptions of goods and services based on reviews from people they know and trust, potentially sidestepping most marketing efforts.

Here’s an example of Graph Search in action using the surroundings of our office here in Jacksonville Beach to put this into further perspective …


With Graph Search, relevance is king

Imagine you’ve just bought a beach cruiser and you’re searching Facebook to find the best spots for fun and entertainment in Jacksonville Beach.

Now, let’s say you search for “fun places to bike in Jacksonville Beach.”

Graph Search will present options your friends or other bicycle enthusiasts in a given geographical proximity have liked and shared.

From a customer’s perspective, this makes total sense.

Would you prefer to sift through a laundry list of options presented at random, or evaluate choices your friends and other biking enthusiasts are recommending?

Is Graph Search the death of marketing on Facebook?

Does this change mean marketers should avoid using social media as a marketing channel? Not at all.

What the change means to me is Graph Search opens up the potential for a new frontier in marketing as companies will now have to find the right mix of creativity and incentives as they battle for check-ins and likes to maintain relevancy in consumer search listings.

In short, the future winners in social media marketing will be the companies who are perceived as truly genuine in messaging by letting customers do the bragging for them.


Related Resources:

Introducing Facebook Graph Search (via

Social Media Marketing: Is in-stream e-commerce possible

B2B Social Media Marketing: 5 career killers and how to overcome them

Social Media Marketing: Social metrics from “likes” to ROI

Marketing Research Chart: Top metrics used for measuring social marketing impact

Categories: Social Networking Evangelism Community Tags: , , , , , ,

  1. May 10th, 2013 at 11:52 | #1

    Thank you so much for sharing this information! It really speaks to the idea of focusing on customers instead of ourselves, on explaining how we can help instead of simply pushing our product. Because, if Facebook’s Graph Search is any indication (and I think it is), the customer is king.

  2. May 10th, 2013 at 23:22 | #2

    I’m still trying to get use to FB graph search.

    Agree with you…it’s going to change things.

  3. May 13th, 2013 at 09:20 | #3

    I just started to get good data from the graph search, so far I’m finding it very useful.

  4. May 13th, 2013 at 13:02 | #4

    Move over YELP…

  5. May 13th, 2013 at 23:54 | #5

    Nice post but even I am getting used to graph search and sometimes its annoying me..!!

  6. May 17th, 2013 at 10:24 | #6

    Learning Curve and here you pointed out very interesting aspect of Graph Search!

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