Effectively Navigating Facebook’s Social Graph


Ahoy! Just when you thought you properly charted your content marketing course, Facebook rises up like the mythical Kraken and wrecks your strategy! (Okay, it’s not really that bad. Facebook is more like a wise sea turtle pushing brands to be better and realize new possibilities…)

Don’t despair and abandon ship, Facebook’s recent changes and tweaks to the “social graph” have actually opened up some exciting new opportunities for content marketing via the popular social platform! Let’s recalibrate your compass, evaluate your map, and explain why the latest changes can guide your brand towards rockin’ new discoveries!

First of all, content marketers may now use website link campaigns via Facebook and harness the power of the social graph while effectively driving engagement to branded content. Instead of simply running display ads on Facebook, you can now develop an engaging article on a responsive design website and drive relevant audience traffic to your valuable branded content. This approach will reward you with high levels of content engagement, with users spending an average of over four minutes on each article.

Facebook’s sophisticated social graph is giving brands visibility and access into users’ online lives (social connections, activities, and interests) through tracking, targeting, and linking together a more extensive array of online relationships. This move adds value for the average Facebook user and savvy marketers alike. With the tools and data analysis available from the social graph, Facebook users benefit by gaining faster access to desired content, while advertisers can more precisely target valuable consumers.

Facebook has already been popular with marketers for its highly targeted Facebook ads, where advertisers can reach audiences based on users’ own interests and demographic data collected by Facebook. The social graph enables content marketing to become more localized, more customized, and more responsive to day-to-day changes in the audience’s preferences.

Many platforms other than Facebook allow targeting by geography, gender, age, and languages. However, the key differentiation of Facebook targeting is the combination of precise interests and behavior targeting. The ability to target interests and behaviors allows marketers to drive much higher levels of user engagement and higher levels of click-through rates. Traditional online display ads have click-through rates of less than 1%, but targeted Facebook campaigns are capable of driving click-through rates above 5%.

With that being said, one of the most common mutterings surrounding the current content marketing environment is that “Brands are becoming publishers.” With the evolution of the social graph, you could just as easily say, “Brands are becoming more human-like.” That’s because Facebook’s social graph treats brands and Facebook Pages as “social objects.” Everything your brand places on Facebook can be “Liked” by Facebook users, “Shared” with new audiences, and become a point of connection for new branches of your own brand’s social graph.

With the social graph, there is increasingly no difference between user-generated content (wedding photos, Facebook status updates, personal YouTube videos) and brand-generated content (blog articles, branded videos, promotions, etc.). Your brand can become “real” and more tangible to your audience, just like your audience’s existing Facebook social connections.

The social graph is linking people to more of the brands, experiences, and social objects that they care about—and smart brands will find a way to capitalize by engaging with more personal content marketing. Brands that focus on developing and producing engaging content will be rewarded with higher levels of engagement and earned media uplift.

Numerous opportunities have opened up to help companies create better content. Using the combination of precise interests and behavior targeting, brands can have a better understanding of what types of content their audience actually wants to see. You can learn more about what other interests your audience has in common, even if those interests are not directly related to your brand. Remember, people are multidimensional.

As the social graph continues to evolve and improve, it’s imperative for marketers to understand the social graph in order to engage and focus on appropriate audiences. In the coming months, we should see examples of brands utilizing better targeting, more customized content, and more creative methods of interacting with audiences.

With the social graph, content marketing will become more personal, more complex, and more real.