Haven’t heard about Open Graph yet? Rest assured, you will. That’s because it’s a true paradigm shift in the way brands can take advantage of Facebook. And just like all major leaps forward in social marketing, brands that are ahead of the curve have already put Open Graph to use. And yes, it’s still in beta form right now.
Open Graph was introduced in September at the f8 Developer Conference. It allows for much deeper engagement with your brand community. Here’s the primary difference: With ordinary FB pages, a fan can ‘like’ your page, app, picture or video. But with Open Graph, all the members of your community get to see what other people are interested in – and in real time. It immediately goes much broader than standard FB interaction.
Perhaps the easiest way to demonstrate the power of Open Graph is to look at how Amazon is using it right now. You can see the app they’ve developed on the right side of your ‘personal recommendations’ page on Amazon. Once you’ve allowed the connection, it takes you to a new page that’s really quite remarkable – and one important thing to note – it’s not on Facebook! (Instead the new page keeps you on Amazon’s website.)
Here you’ll find friend birthdays, popular book, movie and music purchases made by your friends, reading and film recommendations from friends and even shopping recommendations based on what you and your friends enjoy. This is a type of community-meets-your-brand interaction that has simply not been seen before. And the potential is substantial, to say the least.
Let’s say you have a travel company. You could create an Open Graph app so people in your community can compare trips, hotels, destinations, or even the weather in Bali right now. Or maybe you have a winery that wants to stand out from the pack. An Open Graph app would allow people to compare various wine and food pairings, varietals, vintages, and recent events they’ve attended where they loved the wine that was served.
Now here’s the tricky part. Open Graph is not for the faint of heart. This is not a plug-and-play application. You’re not going to want to try and create this in-house. It will require a budget and an outside marketing resource that is both creative and capable. Facebook has laid the groundwork, but it will take a savvy team to bring it to life for your brand. Unsolicited endorsement: we’d love to be that team.
There will be dozens of smart new uses of Open Graph by leading brands in the months to come. They will exponentially increase interaction and depth of engagement among fans. And remarkably, this can all take place on your web site again – and not on Facebook. The only question is, are you going to be a leader with Open Graph, or a late-to-the-party follower?