Facebook is gradually revealing a new feature being added to the social media mecca. Facebook Graph Search is a search engine that can help users to target specifics within their network of friends. All of the information on Facebook is being turned into a huge database, this could prove to be beneficial for businesses that are increasingly utilizing it.

How it works

For example, if a user is visiting Los Angeles and looking for a good restaurant, he or she would type in “restaurants in Los Angeles my friends like”. Based on the likes and check-ins within your network, a list of answers would show up. Users can be more specific, “movies my friends who like Harry Potter like,” if they’re looking for something to watch on a Friday night. This can be expanded to include friends of friends who have been tagged in posts.

How businesses can utilize it

When looking to set up a business, the Graph Search can be keenly used to reveal what types of businesses are best suited for your demographic. If you’re opening a bar in Akron, Ohio for college kids, use the search, “bars liked by people aged 21-24 in Akron.” This can reveal what tastes are the most popular in that area and help you customize to that group.

If your business is already established, you can search the likes of your customers, see what is trending in that network, then tailor your advertising to their likes. If you’re doing a free movie night at your coffee house, search “movies people who like Coffee Heaven like.” Now you have a better idea what flick is going to bring your followers into your establishment on that evening.

Invasion of privacy?

Privacy has been a concern for many, and Facebook explains that you have options to keep your information private, shown only to whom you want to see it. A more important issue that has been raised has been that of children under 18 being victims of online predators. Facebook assures that special privacy filters on Graph are in place for those aged 13-17 and that they understand the severity of that situation.

Now is the time

Creating anticipation, Facebook has a wait list to use the beta version of the app that is not yet a permanent fixture on the timeline. The more likes and check-ins that a business has, the more chance that they will show up during a graph search. So clearly now-more than any other time-is the time businesses should get followers as they can.