Facebook Social Graph the Pros and Cons

I am often asked, how do you keep up with all of the changes that Facebook constantly implements? The truth is, I take most of Facebook’s changes in stride, because it makes my career feel consistently new and exciting.  Yes, sure, I’ve been known to do a heavy sigh or two, because sometimes they will roll out a change when I literally trained a class room full of people to do things one way, and the next day it’s different. Another favorite is when I’m about to do a technical training and Facebook rolls out a new change the morning of and I have to teach it that day.  That is why I was so excited when I was able to put my name on the new Facebook Social Graph’s waiting list, it would give me sometime to learn it before I taught others.

A few days after I put my name on the list, I opened up Facebook and my Facebook toolbar had changed. I actually screamed in excitement. Unfortunately, my husband did not share my excitement over the Facebook Social Graph’s pop up appearance on my wall and didn’t appreciate my screaming.

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Note: The white box is gone and all of my notifications are moved to the right.

I posted a Social Abundance Marketing Facebook update immediately and promised everyone a blog post. Now that I’ve played with it, I can now let you know some the current pros and cons I see.

Pros:

1. Facebook’s Social Graph is clearly more targeted to what your friends and you like. It’s search is no longer as random as it used to be. Before if you searched for something in Facebook, you would not always get what you were searching for and could get lost in a world of too many choices. I would often give up and go to Google.

2. When running ads for a business page you admin,  you can search publicly to see which of your friends of friends have liked your page. This helps you decide whether your friends of friends are in your target market. It also helps to find out what other interests your  friends of friends have, for better precisely targeted ads.

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Doing a public search on the friends of friends who like Social Abundance Marketing. I can find out from there what other things interests the friends of friends.

3. On the Facebook Social Graph, you can narrow your original search to highly target who or what you are looking for. For instance, in the picture below, I did a basic search for my friends who like pizza places in Louisville, KY. In my first search, I found out one hundred of my friends liked pizza places in Louisville, KY. I then narrowed my search to only include my female friends that were married, and liked pizza places in Louisville. It seems that I narrowed it down to 22 girlfriends. If you click the view grid button on your narrowed down search, it will bring up your friend’s profile pictures in large blocks, which is very visually appealing,

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According to Facebook’s Graph Social narrowed down search, I have 22 friends who live in Louisville and like pizza places.

 

4. Another pro of Facebook Social Graph is going beyond what pages your friends have liked. How about actually seeing where they have visited? In the example below, you will see I can find out which of my friends like American food and what restaurants they have checked into. I am more likely to ask my friend how it was or pop over to try it, if I see a lot of my friends have tried a particular restaurant.

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Want to see if your friends do more than like a page? Find out which businesses they have also visited on Facebook’s Social Graph.

5. My last pro for this post is, if I wanted to find out quickly what was going on at a place and did people look like they had a good time, I can now search photos tagged with a business page. For example, I did a search for photos of North End Cafe today in Louisville and found great pictures of food and happy customers.

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Want a preview of some products or atmosphere? Do a picture search of the business you would like to find out more about.

Now, to be fair and open minded… I have to look at what possible cons the Facebook Social Graph can have. In order to do that I have to think as a marketer and a person who likes my privacy in certain aspects of my life. Facebook has collected so much data since their start 9 years ago, and for a marketing side, this is a dream come true. As a person who likes their privacy, it can be a nightmare if I didn’t know how to set my privacy settings.

Cons:

1. The world will be able to search any time you were tagged in a public picture’s venue. So, if you were tagged in a photo at the local bar and it was not a memory you want people to know you for I would suggest untagging the public venues name.   You may want to review all your photo tags and make sure each of your pictures put your best foot forward.

2. Remember, all those pages liked early on in your Facebook account? Maybe, you have forgotten about how inappropriate some of them were, because they hardly show up in your newsfeed,  Again, before the Facebook Social Graph is taken out of beta and rolled out to the public, you may want to start doing a clean up of the pages you may not want your boss, mother, husband, or big brother to know you liked.

3. As for a marketing con, if you are a page owner and you don’t have many groups of friends or friends of friends that have liked your business, you are not going to score high up in the hundreds of other pages groups of friends have liked. It has always been in important to buy ads that target your fan’s friends of your page. Now, this is more important than ever.

4. It has never been wise to like all of your competitors pages and friend them personally. When ads are taken out by your competitors you don’t want your personal friends targeted. In the case of the Social Graph, you don’t your friends of friends or friends being brought to a competitors page, because you liked your competitors page. Imagine this scenario, your competitor does a search for friends of friends who like their page, and you come up. They will then be able to do a refined search of your friends who like their page and come up with some very targeted posts based on your friends interest to win them over.

5. I continue to want to click the Facebook notifications on the left hand side of my toolbar and they are now have all moved to the right hand side. I’m sure just like learning how to write 2013 instead of 2012, I will eventually get used to it.

I was trying to find an another con, but I really like Facebook’s Social Search, so it’s tough for me to do so. I think the social search will be a gold mine of useful customer information if you have the time to connect the dots and use the information within your marketing strategy.
How will you use Facebook’s Social Graph for your business, leave an answer in the comments section.

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