Using Facebook Graph Search to Find New Customers

Did you know that Facebook Graph Search can help you find valuable information that could lead to new customers?

Many people say that Facebook is losing its market share to the likes of Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. However, the research says otherwise:

*As of mid-2013

  • 71% of adults use Facebook – 63% of them visit the site daily (
  • 94% of teens have a Facebook profile (
  • 81% of teens say they use Facebook more than any other social platform (
  • 45% of people use Facebook to log in to websites or mobile apps (

The numbers don’t lie!

So now that I have you back on the Facebook bandwagon [at least for the moment], let’s get to the good stuff – how to use Facebook Graph Search to find new customers.

What is Facebook Graph Search?

The Facebook Graph Search is Facebook’s internal search engine allowing users to type in keywords and phrases to find relevant information within the network. In the simplest possible way, it’s a Google to search inside Facebook.

However, unlike Google, Facebook Graph Search uses search terms to connect you to relevant Facebook profiles and pages. This can provide a plethora of useful information to marketers.

Let’s take a look.

If you begin to search “Companies in….”, Facebook will automatically populate related search terms.

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Notice that Facebook populates the queries related to your personal information such as location.

Another example is when searching for something specific, like “Photos…” – Facebook fills the in the search bar with automated search terms relevant to the first word.

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The results will show content that is relevant to you – your area, your interests, your friends.

You can see how a simple search can bring you valuable personalized, localized information about target audiences.

So how exactly do I find new customers?

First off – you should begin by using your personal Facebook profile (as opposed to your business profile) to use Facebook Graph Search, otherwise your searches will be highly limited. Now begin to experiment with the search terms. You can begin by searching things like “People who like…” – again, search terms will auto populate. The search terms will be related to you (notice: Good Monster page is the first that is listed)

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When you select an option, the results will show everyone that likes that page or topic (i.e. Birthdays). The people who are in your network will appear first, followed by more distantly connected people and finally, those that are not connected to you at all.

Search Queries

When using the Facebook Graph Search bar, Facebook uses several queries to trigger it’s search results. Quite simply, type in “People, Places and things” to find the content you want.

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The following is are some (but not all) query categories that will help you direct your searches and allow you to identify useful marketing information.

  • Page Name
  • Person
  • Interests (Food, Music, Movie, Games)
  • Places
  • Businesses
  • Topics
  • Gender
  • Age

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What are you marketing?

As a marketer, you have very specific messages that you need to get to a very specific audience. You might be a B2B company – who sells to a consumer brand – looking to use the Facebook Graph Search to identify the demographics that follow your customers. You can then help boost your customer’s brand or educate certain demographics about the industry through promoted posts. Or you might be a shoe retailer that wants to see what other interests your fans have so that you can identify high-quality prizes for a contest. Whatever your business goal, the Facebook Graph Search will give you insight into what your PNC’s (potential new customers) are interested in.

Fan Research

Fan research is probably the most valuable use of Facebook Graph Search. Using the search queries to find out what your fans (or someone else’s fans) are interested in could give you insight into what gets people jacked up!

What to type: “Favorite interests of people who like PAGE NAME”

This will populate a list of that page’s fan’s favorite interests, as well as links to those pages. Just like that, while you have a list of your fans (or maybe a competitor’s fans) interests.

Another use is to do gender specific-research. You can use the search queries to find out what women are interested in, or what music they like the most, or what places they visit the most.

What to type: “Favorite interests of GENDER who live in CITY, STATE”

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Competitor Research

Another use for the Facebook Graph Search is to do some competitor research. You can search for men or women that like a certain page, in a certain area. You can search to find out what other pages they like, or where they visit. The possibilities are endless!

What to type: “GENDER who like PAGE NAME who live in CITY, STATE”

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Here’s a sneaky little secret: You can combine search queries to look for photos of competitors’ fans. Then you can share a relevant photo of theirs on your page and insert a welcoming message like, “Looks like you are having a blast in this picture <INSERT NAME TAG> – if you stop by our location this week you can enjoy a free <INSERT PRODUCT> on us!”. This is to be used sparingly and only for those that are Facebook power users or influencers – otherwise, it might get a little creepy.

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Potential Partners

Get creative when using the Facebook Graph Search bar. You can look for potential business partners or affiliate businesses. Think about ways you can get the word out to new customer bases.

See what other pages your fans like – reach out to those pages and offer to cross-promote their page to your fans.

What to type: “Pages liked by people who like PAGE NAME”

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One huge use of Facebook Graph Search is to find out where people are visiting – whether it’s your business, a competitor’s business or a city. It uses check-in information to show you who is going where. From here you can narrow it down to gender, or even age ranges.

What to type: “People who visited LOCATION and are between AGE RANGE”

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Just when you thought we were done! One more awesome query is to search for Facebook groups. You can use this to join “Open Groups” that might be valuable to your industry (note: you will have to join these groups as yourself, not your business).

What to type: “Groups that fans of PAGE NAME joined.”

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The End

So there you have it – a bunch of ways you can use Facebook Graph Search to find new customers, what they are interested in and where they visit.

One tip of advice – write down and answer the following questions before you begin your research:

  1. What demographic are you trying to find/attract (gender, age, location)?
  2. List your top 10 competitors.
  3. What other industries are aligned or related to yours?

Oh and one more thing: try different search queries, you never know what you might find!



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