Remember when Facebook was just the coffee in our lives – you use it three or four times a day, during the break, and you quite enjoy it, even if it makes you feel a bit agitated? Before turning from coffee to a rather hard drug we have to assume all day every day, Facebook was seen as a quasi-innocuous medium to snoop around friends’ and ex boyfriends/girlfriends’ lives; we had fake identities, nicknames and silly Hotmail and Yahoo! email accounts, and, above all, we used to laugh at pages users would come up with, way before brands would realise the potential of it. Therefore, we wouldn’t think twice before giving away an impressive amount of “Likes” to pages called ‘Can this Potato get more fans than Justin Bieber?’, ‘”Drunk, I’m home from the honey, I’m not pub.”’ and ‘”Ya i am reaching in 5 minutes”.*1 hour later* “Im almost there, only 2mins”’.
Good ol’ days.
Now, the Dark Lord Baron Zuck von Facebook came up with a way to monetise on all the personal info we gave away during these years: say hello to Facebook Graph Search.
What is it? “People use search engines to answer questions,” Zuckerberg said “But we can answer a set of questions that no one else can really answer. All those other services are indexing primarily public information, and stuff in Facebook isn’t out there in the world — it’s stuff that people share. There’s no real way to cut through the contents of what people are sharing, to fulfill big human needs about discovery, to find people you wouldn’t otherwise be connected with. And we thought we should do something about that. We’re the only service in the world that can do that.”
Check Mashable for more info. What is the inside story? Wired says this: ‘Rasmussen (the engine’s father) joined Facebook’s existing search team. The company already had truckloads of information, but it was hard for users to access. Who are my friends in New York City? What books are my friends reading? Is there anyone nearby who loves Wilco? What’s an Italian restaurant that people really like? The new search product would answer such queries. But Rasmussen’s team faced a tough quandary: whether to focus on the most popular kinds of questions — or take on the tougher challenge of building a smarter search engine that would let users ask Facebook pretty much anything.’ (Wired feature no longer available).
So, apparently, these are the challenges brands will have to face, in order to ride the big wave, and make a few quid out of it:
- Facebook Graph Search looks pretty user-centred. Therefore, brands will have to come up with a more personalised and tailored Facebook experience, and try to obtain and use UGC (User Generated Content) even more.
- Companies will have to read the situation in a much deeper way, identifying and pinpointing top influencers. Then, they’ll have to make them talk about the brand. Socialbakers already offers a feature that helps page admins understand who the most active and influential fans are.
- Facebook will become a way to discover new things – e.g. restaurants or bars your friends liked, in a certain area – or to find out who’s doing what where, who is single, and so on and so forth. Therefore, brands will have to adjust their strategies, and integrate lessons learned from other platforms, such as Foursquare, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and even some dating websites’ tricks.
- Search will go local. No more global pages with 434m fans, one language, all aboard. From now on, one size doesn’t fit all, and pages will have to go smaller, local, and parochial.
- Perhaps the most important thing brands will have to consider is that “Likes” are coming back, BIG TIME. There will be an important shift from “Share” to “Like” again, as the latters influence heavily the results on Facebook Graph Search. Read more here, on Business Insider.
- Finally, there will be no excuses anymore: brands will have to create better and stronger content – better content, more likes, right? Right.
The last thing: in case you are not the CEO of a brand, nor the admin of a brand page, and this post worried the hell out of you and your fear for your privateness, you poor little vulnerable Facebook user, whose only fault was to give away too many information about yourself, your family, friends and anything you know, like, and do, then you can change your privacy settings, following the instructions you’ll find on CNET’s article ‘Now’s a really good time to update these Facebook privacy settings’.
What do you think?