On January 15th, Facebook announced a feature launch that dramatically changes the way consumers use the world’s most popular social networking site. Facebook Graph Search (FGS) is a natural-language search tool which, to date, has only been released in Beta. Currently, not all Facebook content is searchable, and only a small group of people have been allowed to try the new tool. Luckily, on Friday, I had the opportunity to be a part of this Beta group.
I began my experience with FGS by searching for some popular segments, “restaurants my friends like”, “friends who work at Dominion Enterprises”, and so on. Facebook was smart to release this in a limited Beta, because not all of the data is searchable. However, that did not deter me from helping the dealer community get a head start on preparations for this new search tool.
The good news is that FGS offers dealers a huge opportunity.
Right now, many dealers struggle to market themselves well on Facebook. Many dealers still use personal pages (friend profile) for branding purposes, instead of a business page. Unfortunately, personal pages are nearly invisible within FGS.
Why is that?
Individuals search for businesses using categories on FGS. These categories are created by Facebook just like the old-fashioned Yellow Pages. Select them well, and you can create far more visibility for your business.
Here’s an example of a dealer using a personal page, instead of a Business (Fan) page:
Unfortunately, due to the personal profile used in the example above, this particular dealership cannot be found in any searchable business categories. Facebook thinks this dealership is a person. It is only through business pages that dealers can choose categories to identify themselves. Additionally, many dealerships listed as businesses are only identifiable under a single category. This severely limits indexing opportunities.
A search on FGS for “car dealership” brought back some local results. These dealers have done a good job of setting up business pages which are listed in the proper category: “car dealership”.
Notice in this example that Bob Pulte Chevrolet is not only categorized under “car dealership” but also in a second category for “automotive repair”. This allows Bob Pulte Chevrolet to pull up in another search:
There’s a problem when searching for specifics such as oil changes or tires, as evidenced below:
In the same way that some dealers don’t properly index their websites for fixed ops, I struggled to find franchised dealers who had added categories for “oil lube & filter service” or “tire dealer”. Not surprisingly, the same problem exists when searching for “car parts & accessories” or “auto body shop”
All of these searches on Facebook Graph Search were within fixed categories that Facebook has defined for automotive businesses. Unfortunately, most franchised dealers were only listed under one or two categories. Below is a rare example where three categories were listed for a single dealership. Hudiburg Toyota has done this very well and is prepared for FGS.
Facebook Graph Search will only become more important as the technology is refined and additional users are brought on board. In order to take advantage of this new marketing opportunity, dealers need to follow three simple steps:
- Check to see if your dealership is listed as a person or business.
- If the dealership is under a personal “friend profile” page, convert it to a business page right away.
- Once listed as a Facebook business page, select the relevant business categories. Identify your dealership in such a way that individuals can find both vehicle inventory and services.
Get it prepared today.
What do you think..will Facebook Graph Search soon become important to your dealers digital marketing investments?