Sales and Marketing Should Be Excited About Graph Search

facebook-graph-search-marketingIn a scene reminiscent of the publicity madhouse that is an Apple product announcement, hundreds of anxious reporters gathered on January 15 to hear Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg deliver a highly anticipated, yet mysterious product announcement.

Despite speculation of a potential Facebook phone or a revamped ad platform, Zuckerberg debuted something unexpected: graph search. Although it lacked the glamour of a lot of the potential theories for what could be announced, graph search began to take shape as an intriguing concept the more that Zuckerberg elaborated.

Graph search is a huge step forward for social search, allowing users to search the billions of bits of information and over one trillion connections housed in Facebook’s databases for staggeringly specific queries. Looking for help with a website project? Just ask graph search, “Which of my friends’ connections live close by and are also into web design?” Yeah, it’ll give you results. Pretty slick, right?

So what does this capability mean for sales and marketing folks? The feature is still in beta so it is a little early to tell, but here are two likely applications.

The Largest, Most Accurate Rolodex Ever

If you have ever had to prospect for new leads, you should be salivating over graph search. Prior to the internet, finding leads was all about building a vast network of contacts. Now that everyone has moved their lives online, the problem is not gaining access to people, it’s sifting through the mountains of data to find the RIGHT people. Graph search could be a godsend for these beleaguered sales folks.

Let’s say you are running a technology business in Atlanta (admittedly a self-serving example), and you are looking for new leads. You can now search Facebook for connections in the Southeast with management positions in the tech industry. Or search for connections that attended that tech conference in Atlanta last week. Depending on how deep into your connections graph search ultimately goes, the applications are almost endless.

Networking and Building Relationships

Now if you are a consumer-facing company, the marketing applications of graph search are relatively obvious. If you have been doing social and doing it well, all your “likes” and engagement could start putting you into search results. For B2B companies trying to establish a presence on Facebook, the applications will not be as straightforward, but graph search could be an indispensable tool for networking and building relationships.

Is there anyone in your network or your friends’ networks that works in your industry? Do they also like getting coffee? Graph search could return these results to you in a few keystrokes. In a marketing game that is increasingly focused on building your network and identifying influencers, graph search could start to dabble in the space of tools like LittleBird.

Facebook is certainly not making a play to move into the professional networking space and graph search results are entirely reliant on the information disclosed by users in their profiles, but depending on its capabilities upon release, graph search could be a useful tool to add to your sales or marketing arsenals.

What do you think of graph search? Let us know in the comments below!