social media how to

Are you looking for new ways to grow a following on Facebook?

Do you want to see how your competitors are engaging with the same audience?

Marketers can use Facebook Graph Search to research engaging campaigns based on what’s already being shared.

In this article you’ll discover three ways to use Facebook Graph Search to improve your campaigns.

use facebook graph search

Discover how to use Facebook Graph Search.

Why Facebook Graph Search?

Facebook has made a series of changes to Graph Search. Now search results are indexed by Facebook (rather than Bing) and include people, posts, hashtags and locations. They include both friends and people in your extended network (i.e., friends of friends, people with similar interests and people nearby).

The important thing about Facebook Graph Search is that it’s a semantic search engine. That means it tries to give you results related to the context of your search terms.

For example, if I search for “Orange is the New Black,” I get results that show status updates primarily from my friends and the pages I’ve liked that have mentioned or discussed the show.

The semantic part of that search is that Facebook knew I was most likely looking for the HBO series, not a citrus fruit. Facebook was able to analyze the context of the phrase and only bring me relevant results about the book and/or show.

orange is the new black graph search results

Search results for Orange is the New Black with Facebook Graph Search.

So how does this affect you as a marketer? Facebook’s Graph Search opens up a new world of opportunities to target users. Insight, research and discovery are intuitive with the new setup—you can target and filter audiences and optimize your interactions with them.

#1: Check Out Competitors

Searching for your competitors—or even your own brand—in Graph Search will show you all of the talk throughout the network.

There’s a wealth of information to search for like company name, products or services, hashtags, comments, users, press and reviews.

Do a search on several of those options to find out how your competitor is engaging with people. Are they commenting on or liking related posts? Is that interaction done via their page profile or by personal profiles from people within the company?

Knowing how competitors interact with people to increase their brand recognition gives you access to what’s working for your competitors, and just as importantly, what isn’t.

Before investing in a paid campaign, research the advertising styles of your competitors. Check out what’s getting shared and commented on, and what’s leading fans to create content of their own.

sale post by a competitor found in graph search

Research successful competitor tactics with Facebook Graph Search.

If you find that users are responding to discounts, you can begin to use that tactic yourself. But it’s not enough to create discount codes. How will you get those codes in front of the right users? Look at where competitors and users are posting or sharing to figure out the right place for your message.

As you analyze your Graph Search results based on competitors, examine your data closely and look for patterns. If you see that they (and users) are engaging heavily in one area, make sure you’re there too. Target your marketing and push for your brand to be where the action is.

#2: Look for Overlapping Interests

An integral part of content marketing is figuring out what your audience likes, aside from your brand. Knowing that information gives you new paths for engagement that will deeply interest them on many fronts.

The new Facebook Graph Search helps you find those interests. For example, do a search for “posts by people who like X” (where X is your brand name) and identify the common themes among the posts. Watch for interesting or surprising topics and look for additional keywords to search for.

For example, you may find that your audience is talking about Dancing With the Stars. You may not normally associate that popular TV show with your brand (and so you wouldn’t search for it), but it’s obviously important to your customers and leads.

OK, you’ve been surprised. What can you do with that information? Try to discern how your audience is interacting with the show (or whatever topic) within Facebook.

orange is the new black graph search results

Graph Search results for Dancing With the Stars.

Keeping with our DWtS example, you may find that the same video of dancers dressed as the Mario Brothers keeps coming up. Now you know that your audience enjoys and shares humorous videos and updates.

Armed with that knowledge, you can think of ways to integrate that kind of content in your upcoming campaigns. The main idea here is to engage with your customers on their home turf.

Do another Graph Search for people in a certain location and find out if they have more than one interest in common, which can reveal trends in small subgroups.

Take that information and work on filling holes in the market and creating shareable, engaging content. When you can identify a complete profile of people in a subgroup it’s much easier to design content suited to their needs.

combination location search

Do a combination search to find interests shared by fans in a location.

By pinpointing your target audience and their interests, you’ll be able to provide content with optimal relevance and engagement potential.

When your market feels like you care about and understand them, you’ll be able to cultivate loyalty and encourage brand participation—and isn’t that why you’re here?

#3: Research Hashtags

Hashtags aren’t just for Twitter and Instagram—Facebook users include them in their updates as well. If you’re looking for a way to unite people around your brand and intrigue those who aren’t yet a part of your community, hashtags may be the thing you’re looking for.

If you’re already using hashtags, do a Graph Search to see who’s using them and how. If you’re not using hashtags, you can still glean some good information from Graph Search.

If you’re not sure which hashtags to search for, head over to Twitter and see what the trending topics are, and then come back to Facebook and plug them into Graph Search.

trends on twitter

Find trending hashtags on Twitter to plug into Graph Search.

When you’re analyzing your audience and their behavior, the most important thing is to look for trends. If you see posts across your network using the same hashtag, even if the tone or point of view of the posts varies, you’ve stumbled upon a gold mine.

If there is already discussion surrounding the hashtag, then jump in and be part of the conversation. Work the existing engagement to your advantage and tailor your interactions to match the discussion.

Over to You

Why reinvent the wheel? Use Facebook Graph Search to see what is and isn’t working for your competitors and your shared audienceUse that knowledge as a jumping-off point for your next campaign.

Sometimes you can get so locked up in your product that you may forget your audience has outside interests. If you take the time to find those interests, you can use them to guide your marketing tactics.

The bottom line is that Facebook Graph Search is more than an improved feature. It gives you insight and access to what your fan base is looking for.

What do you think? Are you using Graph Search? How has it helped you reach your audience more effectively? Please leave your comments below.

how to use facebook graph search for marketing

Tips for using Facebook Graph Search to improve marketing.

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  • Cristiani Claudio

    Doesn’t work here

  • Thanks Cristiani! Try running it with “People” rather than “Women”. That should work. might be a small change 🙂

  • OSINT Hunter

    FB has shut down most of the way graph was working. The “people who work at” or other searches like that do not work anymore.

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  • Shawn Sabeti

    Although this article is great it’s limiting in that you can’t do graph searches via Brand pages, meaning unless you add all the fans of your page to your personal account you won’t be able to see their content as you aren’t connected to them in any way.

  • Thanks! That’s a very good point Shawn, and that’s why it’s important to take advantage of what you CAN do with a few marketing hacks (say, what selected people post about your competitors, etc.)

  • Bas van den Beld

    Hi! I commented here yesterday, but that comment seems to have not gone through, commented amongst others about searches that you can still do, like divorced people who like Pizza etcetera, which can help you target better.

    Did it end up in spam? (Don’t want to repost if so 🙂 )

  • How do we access this? I looked at the Graph Search page which had a non working link, and there are no results in the help centre. I’m in Australia if that makes any difference.

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  • Ivo

    So Graph Search still works for some people? I was an early user, and it stopped working a few months ago.

    The syntactic search is now completely gone. I can only search for text strings which have to be exact matches in Posts, People, Photos, Pages, etc. For example, “New York” or “Maroon 5”. But something like “women from New York who like Maroon 5” or “photos by friends that I am tagged in” fails to produce results, as if the concept never existed.

  • Same here. Trying to find out what happened.

  • Try changing your language settings to English (US)

  • Victor Gonzalez

    Hi Lior what marketing hacks are you taking about can you share please?

  • Louise

    I also have a problem with Graph Search not working. Does anybody have any news regarding this? Is there anyone who can still do a Graph Search? I would really like to be able to use this feature.

  • Hey Louise! Graph search now lets you search anything within your network such as posts, links, friends, photos, pages, places, etc.

    Depending on people’s privacy settings you should still be able to run queries like the “People who like Maroon 5 from New York, New York” example.
    Did you try this one?

  • Maybe

    “Orange is the new black” is a NETFLIX series, and not HBO. A little research goes a long away. How am I supposed to trust anything the author says. Smh!

  • Wasn’t/Isn’t there a way to see types of pages that people like if they like anohter? Meaning, people who like Office Max, also like Staples and FedEx… Or did that go away?

  • Hey Shari!
    There’s a way to target an audience by Page likes via FB’s Ads manager.

  • Zhang Lingyun

    How are the results arranged? When I tried “Pages liked by people who like [my page] and live in [the location]”, it only shows the Pages liked by one person that fits my category. How can I filter the search result to find the most popular pages among my targeted audience?

  • Nick

    Hi Lior, unless it’s a person or company name, all searches come up “No results for your query” – is this because I’m in the UK and graph is a USA only function?

  • I guess its not working anymore. RIP Graph Search.

  • Teresa Alonso

    Hi Yogesh! Try to change the language of your Facebook dashboard to English (US).

  • I read on Wikpedia that this feature is no more available. I think, it’s not working in few countries then. What do you think Teresa?

  • Teresa Alonso

    Maybe in some countries, Yogesh, but I’m using it right now from Spain. Anyway I had to change the language to make it work.