Brafton recently reported that Facebook launched a Discover Facebook Pages feature that could help brands find new social followers, and it also brings the site one step closer to offering a developed internal search mechanism. Now, the company has announced an update that lets users see liked articles in Facebook's search type ahead.
In the Facebook Developers blog, product manager Namita Gupta explains, "[If] your friend clicks "Like" on an article at a news site, the article will appear in your News Feed and can now also surface in the search type ahead," she says.
The All Facebook blog reported on a test drive of this feature it uncovered earlier this month, indicating that top article results for users' Facebook searches were ranked according to the overall number of likes and the number of friends who liked a news story. This suggests that Facebook is positioning itself as a player in the search market, and it has the power of social suggestion to help set its results apart.
Search engines are well aware of the power of social information in delivering results consumers will find relevant. As Brafton reported earlier this month, search portal The Find.com provides "like-based" results when users sign in to their Facebook accounts and Bing Social culls Facebook users' comments to answer consumers' queries.
If likes are the new links, marketers should remember that content is king in Facebook marketing – just as in traditional search marketing. By creating compelling articles that can catch likes, businesses can boost their page ranks in the socially-conscious components of existing search engines and in results offered on Facebook – which is quickly moving toward search credibility in its own right.
Plus, garnering likes will boost brand loyalty, and this could translate into sales. According to ExactTarget, nearly 20 percent of consumers say they are more likely to purchase merchandise from a company after they become a fan of its brand on Facebook.