How Facebook’s New Graph Search Will Change The Way Residents Find Apartments
This past Tuesday, Facebook announced Graph Search, its attempt at creating a more robust, natural language social search engine to help all of us “find people, places, and things and explore Facebook in a whole new way.”
What does Facebook Graph Search mean for property management companies and all those Facebook pages you’ve set up for apartment communities? What exactly can people search for?
I, for one, believe Facebook just created a new way future residents will search for apartments.
Here’s an example: Let’s say that I’m thinking of moving to Boston and I happen to have many Facebook friends who are from there or live there. Rather than start my apartment search on Google or an ILS, I use the Facebook Graph Search, which allows me to use natural language search terminology like the following:
“Apartments in Boston that my friends have liked” or “Apartments in Boston near my friends.”
You can’t type that in Google and expect good results. Only in Facebook can you do this. So if your Boston-based apartment communities do not have their Facebook pages optimized for the new Graph Search, they may not be included in the search results.
Welcome to the Facebook way of searching for apartments.
To help you make sure that you don’t miss out on this wave of social searching, here are five steps you can take today to optimize your apartment community Facebook pages for the new Graph Search.
1. Make Sure Your Facebook Page is Complete
This seems like a no brainer but it’s the most important part: complete and update the information in the “About” section. Make it as complete and thorough as possible. And if you haven’t claimed a custom Facebook URL, consider getting one.
2. Add Geo-Targeting Data
Graph Search has geo-targeting built in, so if the address section of your apartment’s Facebook page is not complete or accurate, you’re lost (literally).
3. Post Engaging Content and Get People Talking
Engagement on Facebook has always been important, thanks to EdgeRank, but it matters more than ever with Graph Search.
“Engage, because the algorithm, given two choices for a search, will pick the higher engagement one to list first. In their words, “Results are ranked by people you care the most about; the rest are sorted by mutual friends and other signals in the Facebook system.” That means EdgeRank, which is composed of freshness, relevance, and closeness.” (Source: Christopher S. Penn, Shift Communications)
4. Grow Your Resident Fan Base
It pains me to write this because I’ve never been a fan of collecting likes for the sake of collecting likes. I prefer quality over quantity. Graph Search is forcing me to rethink that mindset. According to Penn, “If you have the right, relevant audience, then when people are asking friends of friends about your industry, Graph Search will connect them.” And that means getting more people, and the right people, to hit the like button.
5. Encourage Resident Brand Evangelists to Share Content
Brand evangelists are nothing new in the multifamily industry. Resident referrals are an important part of apartment marketing and many communities are harnessing the power of social media to run referral campaigns. With Facebook Graph Search, social media referrals will be more organic because people who share your posts will automatically, and unintentionally, be referral marketing on your behalf. You need to post engaging content and encourage your fans to share and share often because rest assured, Graph Search will pay close attention to all those shares.
Hands down, Facebook owns consumer engagement like no other social platform, and the new Graph Search places even higher priority on engagement and geo-targeting. Make sure your apartment community Facebook business pages are ready and fully optimized.
Once you’re finished with your Facebook Graph Search optimization for your business pages, now might be a good time to update those Facebook privacy settings on your personal page. Just sayin.
(If you’re interested, Facebook has a waiting list for the Graph Search beta group.)
What’s your take? Did Facebook just create another way to search for apartments? What are your thoughts on Graph Search.