FB-f-Logo__blue_1024Back in January, Facebook users everywhere prepared for yet another major change to the world’s largest social network. Graph Search, Facebook’s personalized search engine, was introduced as the site’s third pillar (along with Timeline and Newsfeed) and was expected to revolutionize the Facebook experience.

Okay, maybe revolutionize is a little strong but, Graph Search did look pretty awesome and 6 months later, most of us are still waiting to get our hands on it!

After this week, the wait looks to be over.

Learn more about the Graph Search roll out and get caught up on all recent top stories from the small business marketing world in this week’s news roundup.

1. Facebook begins Graph Search roll out

Nearly 6 months after announcing Graph Search to the public, Facebook has finally begun rolling its friend-based search engine out to all English-speaking users in the U.S.

Graph Search has been available to a limited audience since January, giving Facebook plenty of opportunities to collect feedback and improve the tool before releasing it to the public.

These are some of the improvements that have been made:

● Speed: Graph Search is faster at suggesting potential searches and displaying results
● Query understanding: Graph Search understands more ways of asking questions
● Results: Graph Search does a better job at showing the most relevant results first
● Interface: The search box is easier to see and use

Facebook says that Graph Search will roll out to all English-speaking users in the U.S. over the next few weeks and they have plans to introduce mobile Graph Search in the future as well.

Bottom Line: With Graph Search, Facebook introduces a new way for users to find relevant content and information on the social network.

Here’s how Facebook explains the new search experience:

Graph Search results are personalized and unique for everyone, based on what has been shared with them. For example, if you search for “Photos of San Francisco,” you’ll see photos your friends took there and shared with you, as well as Public photos. This means if someone else does the same search, they’re going to see different results because they have different friends, and different photos have been shared with them.

Graph Search also helps users find more personalized results when searching for local restaurants, stores, and other businesses in their area. Back in January, Danielle Cormier, Corporate Community Manager here at Constant Contact, provided some helpful tips for how small businesses could take advantage of this new search tool:

1. Make sure your Facebook Business Page is complete and up-to-date.

2. If you have a location or a local place Facebook Business Page, update your address to make sure you appear as a result when someone is searching for a specific location.

3. Be sure your Facebook Business Page has the correct category.

4. Begin to ask people to check-in at your business on Facebook.

Read more about Facebook’s Graph Search.

2. Instagram finally lets you embed photos and videos on the web

Instagram announced this week that it will now allow users to embed photos and videos on other sites outside of Instagram.

You can embed a photo or video by logging into Instagram on a desktop web browser and clicking the “share button” on the right-hand side of the screen. You will than see an embed code that you can copy and paste on your website or blog.

Bottom Line: Giving users the ability to embed content on the web is an important step for Instagram. Right now, a huge percentage of users on the site are already using Instagram as a tool for creating images and videos for their own marketing efforts. With this addition, Instagram is making it even easier to share content in the places your customers and prospects are interacting with your business online.

3. 56 percent of social media users suffer from FOMO

According to a new survey conducted by MyLife.com, 56 percent of people are afraid of missing out on events, news, and important status updates when they are away from social networks. This feeling is often referred to as “Fear of Missing Out” or FOMO. In the last few years, FOMO has become an increasingly common ailment.

Here are some other interesting findings from the latest survey:

  • 27 percent of participants access social media as soon as they wake up
  • 51 percent of participants visit or log on more frequently to social media than they did two years ago
  • 61 percent of participants between the ages of 18 and 34 have multiple social media accounts

Bottom Line: While most people can live without feeling separation anxiety from their social media networks, there’s no question that sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are playing an increasingly important role in our everyday lives.

Your customers are more social than ever, and thanks to the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, are constantly connected throughout the entire day. If you haven’t started building your social media presence, now is the time to do it.

Check out our free guide to help you get started.

4. 90 percent of customers will recommend brands after social media interactions

A new study conducted by the Internet Advertising Bureau, found that 90 percent of consumers would recommend a brand after interacting with them on social media.

The study focused on FMCG brands Heinz, Kettle, and Twinings. More than 4,500 survey responses were collected from each brands’ social media page over a 2-month period.

In addition to generating recommendations, social media interactions also look to have an impact on consumer purchasing decisions as well. 4 out of 5 participants said they would be inclined to buy from a brand more often after being exposed to their social media.

Bottom Line: If you’re using social media to market your small business, you know that measuring the impact that sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest have on your bottom line is not always an easy task. You may have even found yourself wondering if all the time and energy you’re putting into these sites is even worth the trouble.

But the fact is that when done right, social media marketing presents an enormous potential for businesses, both large and small. Your fans, followers, and other social connections are some of your biggest supporters. These are people who know your business, appreciate the work you do, and are likely already recommending your products and services to others.

Back in 2011 we conducted a similar survey for our small business audience and found that 56 percent of Facebook users are more likely to recommend a brand after “liking” their page on Facebook. 51 percent of fans said they would be more likely to buy from a brand after liking their page.

What do you think about Graph Search? Let us know in the comments below.