It’s time for those of you who have been ignoring Social Media to play catch-up. Hopefully, it is not too late. bit.ly/Vc2P1M
— Speak Social (@SpeakSocial) January 22, 2013
Facebook is in the midst of an interesting saga. They went public with Google–like expectations, but not the strategy in place to fully capitalize on the amazing amount of data that they captured. In a move that some might call “if you can’t beat them, steal a couple of their guys and copy them,” Facebook announced its new graph search, not so much as a Google clone, but as a re-interpretation of online search itself.
This is actually where I, and many others, predicted early on that Social Media would go. The Facebook graph seems like an obvious evolution, even though it is still very much in Beta. Here is Facebook’s take on things:
“Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. The main way we do this is by giving people the tools to map out their relationships with the people and things they care about. We call this map the graph. It’s big and constantly expanding with new people, content and connections. There are already more than a billion people, more than 240 billion photos and more than a trillion connections.”
As I have said publicly, Facebook is not in the business of altruism. At the end of the day their intention is to make insane amounts of money, not to warm everyone’s day with cat photos. In other words, how do we get people to buy more products and services on this platform? Marketers worth their salt clearly understand the importance psychographics when studying their target audiences. Facebook has a clear advantage over Google, but only if they can leverage their data in the right way.
This is how Facebook explains graph search:
You could start with a simple search like “find friends who work at my company.” That’s nice, but then Facebook lets you add in “who like to ski” — a cross reference of the graphed data to get some truly interesting results.
Other ideas include:
Or I am a movie production company, and I want to know influencers who like movies close in style to mine within a certain age demographic. Or I want to find seemingly unrelated trends in the people that go to my restaurant, like maybe the majority of them listen to the band Weezer.
It’s pretty obvious how this data could allow you to tweak your strategy for better overall customer experience and more targeted potential customer reach.
So what does this mean for your business? Well, it means that if you are not already working on your Social Media presence, you are late to the game. I have stressed this point for some time now, and unfortunately a lot of those I spoke with thought it was a sales tactic because our company handles Social Media marketing.
Those brands that did listen, and started building their audience by taking the time to fully utilize and grow their Social presence, will start to see a payoff. Those that ignored Social, because they didn’t see the immediate benefit, made a decision not to invest in the future.
It’s a tragic mistake to be short-sighted, because the ultimate result affects the online findability of you verses your competitor.
If you think it’s only Facebook taking this approach to the future of brand relevance online, think again. Google also integrated Social into their search criteria, in a big way. The folks at Google inherently understand how consumers search for products and services, they are too smart to have this evolution leave them in the dust.
Consumers spend their money based almost entirely on emotion. This should be no huge revelation to anyone. The more we can understand the true pshychographics of our ideal consumers, the better we can reach them in ways that provoke a response.
If this seems like a bunch of esoteric fluff to you, then I recommend you just stick to billboards.