Social Media Tips: Could Facebook Graph Search Make "Likes" Relevant?

This is the second article in a series on Facebook's Graph Search. You can find the first part here.

While conventional wisdom has dubbed ‘likes’ one of Facebook’s less important metrics, the way Graph Search calculates its results could return a page’s like count to prominence.

“I’ve been telling people yes, take a look at your likes, but don’t place too much emphasis on them,” said Toby Bloomberg, director of social media integration for Cox Digital Media. “Place more emphasis on the engagement factor. But now likes are becoming critical, because that’s what’s bumping you up in the search algorithm.”

Despite the importance of likes to Graph Search, engagement-focused metrics will remain relevant, said Tim Peter, president of Tim Peter and Associates. “Your guests aren’t going to take the action of liking something they don’t have a strong positive response to,” he said “However, unlike stuff I’ve said in the past, Graph Search is the part where likes become more valuable to the hotel than they have previously.”

Graph Search is still in beta, and the relative weight of likes it uses in determining its search results could change even after it goes into wide release, said Peter.
“There’s been some evidence that over time Facebook will use other signals along with likes to refine search results,” Peter said. “Doubtlessly, someone will try to game the system by buying likes. Facebook is likely to get very smart about this. If a hotel in Peoria, Illinois, has tons and tons of likes from a place that is not a likely feeder market for Illinois, it’s more likely that that’s bogus data.”

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