Facebook Social Graph for Business

After attending the PwC Social Media event last week I was left pondering about what could be done with the Facebook Social Graph.  

If you’re like me and still uncertain about Facebook Connect logins on professional sites I’ve noted a few business (still B2C, or masses) uses here that Chris Porter (Facebook Business Manager) presented. Then some I think should be explored.

There are many B2C companies leveraging mild integration to help with peer recommendation.

Levis, when you’re purchasing their jeans, feed up info from Facebook friends that have purchased, commented or reviewed a style or size. My immediate reaction was fairly bloke-ish. Women can now see which of your oddly shaped friends fits those jeans and avoid them, or know not to buy the ones your gal pal just got for that special event. Useful but only if you’ve got loads of friends who are into the brand.

A concern I have is for the SME, up and coming or alternative brands. For the masses, your decision to buy X product is supported by the rest of the follow (like) me clan jumping on board. Facebook will again drive top brands higher.

CNN use simple integration. Without logging in to Connect on their platform, but being logged into Facebook, articles your friends have shared – feature on the home page. Again augmenting the most popular articles but in a way enlightening if your friends’ interests vary.   

The best use I’ve seen so far is that of airBnB.com – using Facebook Connect, to authenticate – your search is fed some useful information from your friends. They list places available in the area you are searching, ratings and comment from users, and note when they are your friend. They also trawl for linkages. Admittedly I checked my home town here, but if a trusted friend is a connection of the owner, your confidence in the place (or ability to check it out) is solidified!

If this was adapted to business travel – a hybrid step to full B2B – we could see:

  • How many times that airport transfer company missed a pickup (and your friends moaned on Facebook)
  • Who has great fast WIFI, in the lobby of their hotel – and doesn’t charge for it in rooms
  • And which rooms don’t get road noise.

Of course this all counts on friends commenting on services or products. Of course we are just eating a pasty, photographing their cat or having a bad day, you know, “what everyone uses Facebook for”. This may take a while to work.

It also needs people to feel more comfortable about friend-ing for business. The mindset of Facebook for friends | LinkedIn for work will need a shake up too.

My next question – why not use LinkedIn to recommend a business partner and their service to this level (outside of LinkedIn). We could get around those fake testimonials all over the web and have real recommendations for X service or product from ‘reliable’ sources…

I would love to hear your views!

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