Facebook marketing isn't just about launching campaigns to promote your business — it's also about customers spreading the word for you. And Facebook's new keyword search feature can help.
The social networking giant is rolling out its new keyword search feature today (Dec. 8). It will be part of the site's Graph Search function on both iOS and desktop devices (Android to follow).
Launched in early 2013, Graph Search expanded Facebook's search capabilities to search beyond names and filters by using specific phrases. Keyword search improves this capability by making it easier to find exactly what you're looking for, Facebook says. [Why Your Business Needs to Be on Facebook]
Here's how Facebook's new keyword search works and what it means for your business.
Semantic search vs. keyword search
Facebook's new keyword search feature aims to make it easier and faster to find the most relevant content right when you need it. It lets you search all types of posts — such as status updates, photos, videos, news articles and more — using simple keywords, just as you would for a Google search.
Before the update, Facebook's Graph Search (beta) used what's called "semantic search." Unless you were searching for specific users' names or business pages, semantic search required the use of complex, preset phrases to search for content.
For example, to find friends who live in a certain city, you'll have to type in something like "My friends who live in Los Angeles." It gets even more complicated if you're looking outside your network or doing a business search — for instance, "My friends of friends who like Joe's Coffee" or "Recent photos liked by my friends who like Joe's Coffee."
With the new keyword search, users no longer have to use algorithm-based phrases. A simple keyword or phrase, like "Joe's Coffee," will instantly bring up all content related to that business.
What it means for business owners
Facebook's keyword search feature has enormous potential for business owners. Its main benefit is that the feature makes it easier for potential customers to find your business.
Facebook users constantly post about businesses they frequent and restaurants and food they love. If their friends were looking for recommendations or more information on a business, all they'd have to do is type in what they're looking for, like "food trucks" or "bike repairs." And if customers already love you, you can rely on their word of mouth to bring customers your way.
Plus, Facebook's keyword search is mobile-ready, allowing users to search anytime, anywhere on an app they already trust and use the most. Many experts believe this new feature will end up competing with the likes of Yelp, Google and other business and review sites.
Currently, Facebook's keyword search will only deliver search results based on users' privacy settings. That means that if you search for "yoga classes," it will only show content that your friends have chosen to share with you. This includes posts, likes and comments. It currently does not include public posts or Pages posts, though there are plans to make public posts available in search results. Once that is in place, this new feature can allow businesses to better monitor what's being said about them on Facebook and help drive engagement.