For months now, there has been a pretty significant shift in Facebook brand marketing. Facebook strategy has slowly moved from focusing on gaining page likes to building community engagement in order to build EdgeRank authority.
As brand strategists, we have all scrambled to find ways to optimize our posts and use advertising creatively to earn that all-important spot of real estate in a Facebook user's news feed so that they will engage with our page and see more of our posts.
Facebook page likes have become much less important to digital strategy since we were able to use ad units to pay to get our page posts, events and offers into news feeds regardless of the user liking our page.
With Facebook's Graph Search announcement yesterday, we may be about to see another shift back to focusing in on page likes. Graph Search is based on discovering people and brands based on the likes of others. If Graph Search is successful, it will be much more important that your page is liked by the friends of a person searching for your product or service. Engagement will continue to be important for a number of reasons, but the page like will be back in play as a primary Facebook marketing metric.
All this being said, don't go changing up your Facebook strategy too much today. Graph Search is only in the "accepting invite request" phase and we don't yet know how long it will take for Facebook to roll the feature out. Additionally, Facebook has a very mixed record of successful roll-outs after they make a big announcement.
Everyone remember the "Social Inbox?"
So, my advice going forward is as follows:
- Continue your current Facebook engagement strategy, but be cautious and work in a few extra like ad units to your mix here and there.
- Familiarize yourself with the sponsored result ad unit if you aren't already using them. It probably isn't much of a stretch to think that Sponsored Result ads will play a much larger role in Graph Search than they do in normal Facebook search now.
- Make sure that your website is optimized for Bing. Facebook noted in their Search Graph announcement post, that they will be supplementing search results with Bing results much like they do now. The additional focus on Facebook search may make Bing search results a bit more important.
- Pay close attention to this site and others and watch for Graph Search developments in the future. Be ready to switch things up if you see a shift to likes take place.
Image Credit: Facebook