Lab Notes

Know Your Audience with Facebook Graph Search

Part one in a three-part series on understanding and reaching the right audiences in a fragmented media landscape.

If you could know anything about your audience, what would you want to know?

What are their favorite interests and hobbies? Where do they actively get information you could provide? What are they passionate about, and does it differ for people who like your competitors?

Using Facebook Graph Search, this kind of information is easy to get. And though it’s only a basis for building understanding, it’s a nice step forward for many businesses.

Because if you don’t know who you’re trying to reach, you will struggle to provide meaningful content and support.

Without those two things your ability to remain connected to your audience diminishes, which is how you end up just another noisy interruption they turn off, if algorithms don’t filter you out first.

How about an example of using Facebook Graph Search

Ok, let’s pretend you own a business called Late Night Waffles.

You opened your first location on a college campus about a year ago, and have a decent following on Facebook and Twitter. Your goal is increasing awareness and driving more foot traffic through your current audience.

In short, you’re trying to grow your business through knowing and delighting your audience: Waffling College Students. We all waffled at least a little in college, but some more than others, and that’s who we want.

So you take to Facebook Graph Search to start your search:

Facebook Graph Search

From this search, you get a firehose of results that this audience is highly correlated to like, some of which feel actionable and some not:

Facebook graph search results

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 4.07.57 PM

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 4.08.21 PM

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 4.08.33 PM

Knowing these interests can help create a basis for testing social content college wafflers will enjoy. But it should breed all kinds of ideas beyond just what you post in social.

Social should fuel new product ideas, like creating a bacon waffle, or starting to make fresh cookies for takeout. How about a Halloween ‘Costumer’ giveaway? Or a free waffles deal for people who wear Packers jerseys the day after a playoff win. You might not be a Packer fan, but you’ll be high-fiving your way into their hearts and stomachs.

But let’s keep digging

What kind of music might these kids like? Let’s search:

Facebook Graph Search Results

So now you have some ideas about music to play, or ticket giveaways to run, or perhaps with some of the smaller, more local musicians listed, you could bring them in for a concert night.

Obviously a small business won’t get Carrie Underwood or Atmosphere, but some of the other results are small-time local bands. It’s a possible opportunity for partnership because you share a common audience, and you give them value in different but complementary ways.

Plus, if you’re targeting your search around what your current audience likes, you can ask to confirm they’d like such an event, then promote the event on the channel feeling pretty confident they’ll come.

How about Athletes, TV Shows, Books, Games, Interests, Sports, or Political Views? Just adjust your search and comb through for insights. All of it can be a basis for creative content, messaging, and tactics that drive to the business growth you’re trying to achieve.

Want to learn specifically about your current Facebook channel audience or a competitor’s? Search for:

‘Pages liked by people who like <your business>’ or ‘Pages liked by people who like <competitor business>’

Facebook Graph Search Results

There are many other ways to use Facebook Graph Search for business, and again, it’s only a basis for testing and refining.

But having this information at your fingertips will help your social media team strategize what will truly resonate and drive the high-value behaviors you’re looking to create.

Now that you have another way to learn about customers, what’s next?

We’ll be moving on to Big Waffle Co., which has 800 locations throughout 25 states. They know a lot about their current customers but need to learn more about their potential new ones.

How do they think through where their varying customers spend time online and make decisions about where to eat?

We’ll get into that next week in part two of our social media series, From Awareness to Advocacy: Understanding Your Audience’s Decision Making Process.

But for now, have you used Facebook Graph Search for business? If so, please share your ideas and experiences in a comment below.

At GoKart Labs, we specialize in Invention & Business Strategy, User Experience & Design, Web & Mobile Software Development, and Digital Marketing. To find out more about becoming a client, call 612.454.4012.

Paul writes about modern marketing practices for today's fragmented digital world.

No comments, yet. What do you think?