One of the unchallenged assumptions of marketing is that greater personalization implies greater relevance. If brands or marketers can tap into the ever-shifting zeitgeist of their intended audience to deliver that perfect message, they’ll likely capture not only the hearts and minds, but also the wallets, of their marks. It is within this framework that Facebook CEO Mark “Zuck” Zuckerberg implores businesses to try and grasp the possibilities of the social network’s new Graph Search social search engine.
With Graph Search, Facebook is giving users an easier way to tap into the “private” information of friends and family and navigate its massive trove of user data (nearly one-quarter of a billion photos and over one-trillion connections). Facebook is gambling on the idea that for most people, relevance is closely linked to affinity, and affinity to connection. In other words, people are more likely to act on a recommendation or form a connection with a brand suggested by a friend or a family member than by a stranger.
Graph Search is still in beta, and as such not yet available to all Facebook users. However, given Zuck and crew’s robust promotion of the tool, I suspect it will be rolling out to all Facebook users sooner than later.
If this holds true, digital marketers will need to add a new acronym to their arsenal. Along with PPC and SEO, we’ll need to make room for GSO (Graph Search Optimization).
More importantly, if Facebook delivers on its promise with Graph Search, businesses will have a powerful new tool to form connections that matter.
To illustrate this idea, brands will be able to use Facebook Check-in Deals in concert with Graph Search to get their SoLoMo on. With Facebook Deals, businesses can promote discounts and offers to people who visit their place of business and “check-in” on the social network via Facebook Places.
Businesses with a physical location should like this idea for two reasons: a) Facebook users have 130 friends on average, and b) over 200 million people use their mobile devices to access the social network.
Facebook has four different types of Check-in Deals that local businesses can offer consumers:
Individual Deals – When one thinks of Facebook Deals, this is the traditional option that comes to mind. Businesses can offer this type of deal to launch a new product, offer a gift with purchase, get rid of excess inventory, or simply get more people into their store.
Loyalty Deals – As reward for recurring business, Loyalty Deals can be claimed by customers after a certain number of check-ins. Brands are able to set the number of check-ins required (between 2-20)before a deal is granted.
Friend Deals – To me, the Friend Deal is the most intriguing option, especially for the entertainment or service industries. It gives businesses a chance to offer discounts to groups of up to 8 people when they check in together. To claim the deal, customers must first introduce the offer to their friends and family.
Charity Deals – With this option, businesses can make a specified donation to the charity of their choice when a user claims the deal. Charity Deals are a great way for brands to show off their social community activism.
What are the GSO implications of Facebook Deals? When executed properly, Facebook Deals will help businesses rank higher in Facebook’s Graph Search. This is because the site’s social graph algorithm takes into account the number of user “likes,” tags, comments, and recommendations when ranking a business.
GSO benefits aside, Facebook Deals represents the type of SoLoMo integration that businesses are increasingly reliant on as the world continues to evolve toward an integrated digital marketing environment.Follow @chrshorton