Facebook’s Graph Search: Good news for #highered pages?

FB signFacebook’s announcement on Tuesday of a new feature that lets users search for information that has been shared with them could be good news for college and university Facebook pages.

At the least, the new function should give us a reason to keep our Facebook sites updated with fresh content.

Called Graph Search, the new search feature was introduced Tuesday in limited preview, or beta. Facebook’s announcement of the tool notes: “If you have a Page on Facebook, Graph Search can make it easier for people to discover and learn more about your business.” PR Daily’s coverage of the news suggests that the more brands update their Facebook pages, the more likely their content will appear in a person’s Graph Search results.

“It appears Facebook is making a push to further encourage brands to invest in cultivating relationships with their fans online; the more popular the page, the more often it will show up in search,” writes PR Daily’s Michael Sebastian.

Perhaps most important — for all of us, not just brands — is that with this development, “Facebook finally has a search technology that works,” writes Adrian Covert in CNNMoney’s coverage of the announcement.

I haven’t had a chance to investigate Graph Search yet, but it sounds like it could help brands extend their reach within the Facebook universe. That is, if brands use the tool in the right way. Keeping content fresh and relevant on Facebook will be important. Those brands that ignore their Facebook content could find themselves ignored by users who Graph Search for information on their friends.

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Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

3 thoughts on “Facebook’s Graph Search: Good news for #highered pages?”

  1. It is not clear yet how the algorithm will function, which is the challenge to me. How do you structure your content so that is more searchable? Does it just depend on Edge Rank? I think the biggest potential will come in our ability to search our fan base to find influencers and advocates and target them with specific content. But in true Facebook fashion, there is never enough information given to let us know how to use the system well. I think we’re heading to a time on Facebook where we are going to have to concentrate on developing an invested network that shares content, not just comments and likes. As long as we know that people make decisions based on the recommendations of friends more often than anything else, I want to develop a network of sharing fans. And, I want to pay more attention to sponsored stories. I think there is a place for both sponsored stories and Facebook ads, depending strategically on the content and goals. The big limitation of this tool is that it only allows you to search your own graph. My understanding is that you won’t be able to get search results from outside your graph, and it will still depend on the privacy settings and information given by your fans.

    1. Great observations, Chris. As you state, there’s not enough information yet from Facebook to help us understand how this will all play out. The CNNMoney story I link to above describes Graph Search as one step toward making Facebook the equivalent of a “modern-day AOL” — essentially a closed-system social network. It will be interesting to see how things develop.

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