Facebook Graph Search: What Healthcare Marketers Need to Know

As Facebook Graph Search continues to roll out to new users, healthcare marketers are wondering how they can use it to increase their visibility.

Here’s what you need to know about Graph Search.

Graph Search is a social search engine that connects a user’s network of relationships (social graph) in a way that has never been done before.

It produces completely unique and highly personalized search results in real time to each and every single user on Facebook. Searches made will first go through the user’s network of friends, likes and subscriptions, while searches made that are not in their network will be answered by Microsoft Bing.  “Hospitals my friends have been to” or “Hospitals my friends like” would be the type of inquiry that the Graph Search is looking to answer.

Facebook makes a great move here. They already have a huge database of over a billion users with all their likes, interests, relationships, associations and even trusted friends! What they have done is to turn Facebook into a practical, useable and searchable database. Instead of combing through an individual’s profile to see what they like, you can search any topic and see how many of your friends like that particular thing while being provided with many other related results.

Facebook graph is a social search engine that pulls on people’s desire to share and discuss ideas, thoughts and interests. But on the other side are business pages where brands and business owners want to be seen by consumers.

Graph Search has connected the two sides in a unique way and the term being used to describe this is “game changer”. For example you can check to see which of your Facebook fans work at a competitor’s organization.

While the feature is still in its infancy, healthcare marketers should be exploring different ways to use it. Here are some tips:

#1. Complete your Facebook Page

Do this by updating any missing information such as address, ‘About’ section and a vanity URL.

#2. Promote your page

Use these tips to get more ‘likes’ as Facebook gives higher visibility to pages with more fans.

#3. Check your About section

Use highly descriptive keywords on your ‘About’ section to improve your chances of being found.

#4. Tag your photos

Tag your photos with rich keywords, the name of your organization, and the location where they were taken and encourage fans to like them. Photos are indexed by Graph Search and tagging them with appropriate keywords will help to increase your Pages visibility.

#5. Claim your place

If you have your page set up as a Page Place, Facebook will try to display your page when someone ‘checks-in’ to your location.

But if you have not claimed your Page Place, someone else may unknowingly create a place for you when they try to check in with their mobile phone. If they use the wrong business name (e.g. ‘clinic’ instead of ‘hospital’) then you will not get credit for check-ins that rightfully belong to you and will thus miss out on ‘social proof’ that makes your brand more visible.

Healthcare tips

While brands across the board are still trying to figure out how Graph Search works, healthcare marketers should be exploring it with their HIPAA lenses intact. Protect patient privacy at all costs and be cautious as you use Graph Search to gather information and create identities within this new untested sphere of social connectivity.

Remember too that potential “grey areas” are possible with Graph Search since many Facebook users do not fully understand the privacy settings and agreements they signed up for. Everything “public” is searchable and can be directly connected to brands, consumers and others who use Facebook.  Anything posted that may have been lost in time is only a search away.

Over to you: Have you started using Facebook Graph Search? If not, do you think it might be useful for you in the future?

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