What is Facebook’s Open Graph and how does it work?

open graph(Image by Engageinteractive)

 If you’ve been wondering what Facebook’s Open Graph and Graph search is or what it means; this post will answer that. Facebook ‘s Open Graph was introduced in April 2010, what the platform does is let you do more than just connecting your site to Facebook by using a new set of programming tools that let’s you use information in and out of Facebook.

 

It lets you integrate apps into the Facebook experience, which increases engagement, distribution and growth. It has since been open to third party applications. For example if you logged on to Spotify using your Facebook login, the music application uses the open graph technology to post what you’re listening to onto your news feed so that your friends can comment, like or listen to the song too. This is so much more engaging than regular updates.

What it essentially means is that any website where you see some kind of call to action to login via Facebook –That brand is using Facebook’s Open Graph.

 

As Facebook evolves, it is becoming an entire encyclopedia of sorts for a user’s actions, his photos, the songs he listens to or an article he recently shared or viewed. These are stored in Open Graph as Stories. These stories when grouped together provide a detailed list of a user’s interests, hobbies etc. These insights make it a very powerful tool for effectively reaching consumers and for fostering engagement.

 

Open Graph requires time to build an app that likes an object and publishes a story to Facebook. Open Graph can be broken into 2 parts- User Actions and Open graph Stories.

 

User actions are indicators of a person’s interests because the user’s activities and behaviors are based upon those interests. Although it isn’t stored indefinitely, the actions are reflected in real time, making it good for effective understanding of the user in the present situation.

 

Open Graph Stories drive social recommendations on news feed and are powerful drivers of engagement as users would trust their friend’s recommendation more than ads.

 

Kiss-metrics explains it beautifully in the chart below, as per the graph, each Open Graph Story includes:

  1. A user or Actor– The person who published the story
  2. An action– The activity the user performs
  3. An object– The object the user interacts with. They are publicly accessible web pages hosted on the Internet. They are public information.
  4. The App– publishes the story on the user or actor’s behalf. Every story is generated by an app used to create it.

 

For ex: lily (user/actor) listened (action) to Katy Perry (Object) on Spotify (App). If there are no common actions available that meets your needs, custom actions types are possible to create.

 open-graph-framework

 

 (Image by KissMetrics)

 All apps that want to use Open graph must go through a review process for the stories they create. You should give users proper notice and controls and the content that your app publishes have to be accurate and well structured. Facebook has a set of guidelines and review actions to ensure that you meet their requirements.

 

The reviews of every action are based on 4 areas- User Experience, Usage Instructions, Language and Test environment. Here’s how to Get Started with Open Graph. For Custom Stories, creating Object types and Creating Action Types just follow the step-by-step instructions.

How your Business can use Open graph:

 

The utility of Facebook’s Open graph is not just for advertisers but for users to see all things that their friends are doing. Apart from Open Graph stories being published automatically, users can search for actions in open graph using the newly introduced ‘Graph Search’

 

Graph Search, which allows users to search for friends’ activities on open graph including check-in’s, status updates and events. For Ex: If you want a review of a new restaurant you can look up ‘friends who have been to China T’

 

It will be a valuable tool for user’s to explore activities their friends are up to and find people with similar interests. Facebook has not as yet discussed how Graph search will work for marketers in depth but here are a few ways that businesses can prepare their Facebook presence for the adoption of Graph Search (Available only to a few users for now, it will soon be widespread and inevitable)

  1. Increase your Facebook presence: To maximize the likelihood of your business appearing in a graph search, create a strong Facebook presence, using the Facebook advertising approaches such as Fan acquisition and user engagement.
  2. Encourage actions: Check –ins are one of the easiest actions to take, it will help recommend a business like no other as it passes on from user to his friends and they to their friends. Businesses can ask customers to check in at the entrance or even at point of sale, and you could also offer deals for repeat customers too.
  3. Create an effective Facebook page for Graph Search: By ensuring that your page is up to date, adding photos and using a good cover photo, posting compelling, authentic content, using fun and creative videos, giving a lot of attention to visuals and being as responsive as possible, you could increase the chance of appearing in a search.

 

Open Graph is essentially about the collection of stories and actions that people post to Facebook and they portray a more detailed user behavior.Moving forward, you will have to join the waiting list for Graph search and follow the development so that your marketing efforts grow as Graph search evolves.

 

 

 

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16 Kickass Facebook Marketing tips

Facebook

 (Image via WeSEE)

 Facebook continues to reign as the no 1 spot for both personal connections and businesses.; from being a meeting place for friends to share thoughts, opinions and images, it has grown to a great venue for marketing both products and services through customer interactions and self promotion.

With close to 9 million users, Facebook has become an increasingly useful tool and it is almost imperative to have a strong presence.

Whether your brand is just starting out or well established, launching a campaign on Facebook can be daunting. It doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive and there are a few things that you can do for your brand without being overwhelmed by data.

So get your engines revving, here are our 15 tips

business on Fb

 (Image via WesEE)

  1. Identify your Audience:  You need to know who your customers are in order to connect with them. Who are they? What do they like reading? How active are they on Facebook? Once you know these, move on to step 2 of creating a marketing strategy.

2. Create a Facebook marketing strategy: Cover areas like Audience, Internal resources, Content Integration, List of content to distribute, Measurement, Budget and Timelines.

3. Create a Facebook Business page:  Go to Facebook to create your company page. It’s a great spot to develop your company brand identity and to show your human side as well. Provide fun, informative content, share things that your audience will like and that is in line with what your brand stands for. Also include keywords in your profile so that new and existing customers can find your page.

4. Set Goals: Set daily, weekly and monthly goals with a list of how often to post, what kind of content to post and link your company blog to Facebook

5.    Email your database- Once your page is live, send emails to your database letting them know that liking your page will give them access to events, promotions and tips. Ensure that it is exclusive to your page and will add value to your customers

 6.    Promote your page and posts:  Add Facebook links to emails and ‘Like’ buttons to websites and blogs. Also promote to your friends and friends of friends to get more views and likes. You can also make use of FB ad’s to get more reach.

 7.    Use a third party platform to distribute your content: Making content on a full time basis for all your social networks can be time consuming. Leverage social media management tools like Hootsuite.com , Bufferapp.com and Socialoomph.com which allow you to publish once and distribute everywhere and at scheduled times. You can integrate Twitter, Google plus and LinkedIn company pages within an easy to use interface.

 8.    Find out when to post: Use Edgerankchecker.com to find out the best times to post on Facebook, what keywords to use, how often to post etc. be consistent with your posting , be relevant to your audience, and be excited about it! Your audience at the end of the day is here to have fun. So engage them the right way.

 9.Utilize Facebook groups: Facebook groups can be made public or private, use it to become a social friend, be there to answer queries and make yourself an asset of the group.

10. Use Facebook page insights: See which updates did well and why. What kind of content does your audience respond to better? Use these insights to provide a report and export it to excel for future reference. Be sure to check out Mari smith’s Facebook page for new changes to page insights.

 

11. Got great customer service? Show off your skills! Respond to all your customer’s comments, queries on time all the time. Convert negative feedback if any to positive feedback by addressing the issue. Always maintain a professional and positive tone. Ensure that you always wow your audience by making their experience with you better.

 

12. Provide Localized content: Make your fan’s experience better by providing a discount or walk- in promotion at your area. Provide content that is geographically suited to your audience. Geotarget your posts even if you don’t have multiple locations.

 

13. Host Facebook contests:  Create engagement, excitement by running contests, promotions to increase fans and awareness. The results are fast and can even be dramatic. Prepare by researching third party app providers (contests can’t be hosted through Facebook itself; you can’t ask for ‘likes’ as entries) then direct users to the app from your Facebook page. Decide on a prize that will excite your audience, promote your contest through either paid or non-paid options.

 14.  Use Facebook advertising:  Implementing Facebook advertising into your marketing strategy is one way of increasing likes or driving website clicks. Compared to other online advertising options, you can see a difference in your page’s engagement metrics and ‘like’ count without costing you the earth. You can also narrow your ads to a particular audience- based on demographics or interests or even those who have ‘liked’ your competitors page as well. Set ad budgets and built in ad performance tools.  Facebook doesn’t release information about their ad CTR’s so it’s difficult to know how successful Facebook ads really are. But, according to the infographic by Wordstream.com Facebook ads generally have a CTR of 0.051%, and an average CPC of $0.80; however, a business’s Facebook advertising cost can vary a lot depending on the targeting options set and competition.

 15.  Always keep content current: Keep content fresh, regular and update profile photos; cover photos, links to other pages and contact information to optimize your page for search engines.

 16.  Use Facebook promoted posts and Sponsored stories: Promoted posts will increase your chance of being seen in your user’s news feed. They are shown to existing fans with an option of reaching friend of fans.

A sponsored story is a kind of Facebook ad that shows a user’s interaction to the user’s friends. So if a user likes a certain page, his friends also like the page. The aim is to have a user take the same action as that of his friends. The difference is that sponsored stories get preferred posting, appearing on news feeds and on the right side bar.

 Other tips include: 

   1.Use the right image size

   2. Use cover photos

   3. Don’t forget to organize your tabs: doing this will really boost return traffic and get a good impression with your visitors.

 

While there is no one size fits all formula for using Facebook, start small and work your way up.

There , that wasn’t so hard was it? They’re small, easy tips that will do wonders to your page.

Let us know how it works for you!

-Social Pandora