Step Up Your Social Ep. 16 — Reply All Just (Accidentally) Reminded Us About The Power of Facebook Search
One of my favorite podcasts, Reply All, just did a whole episode trying to track down something that wasn't showing up on Google. If they had remembered that Facebook, while first and foremost is a social media channel, is also a search engine, they could have saved themselves a whole lot of time and energy.
The Facebook search bar is more powerful than you probably realize. In this episode of Step Up Your Social we'll walk through some of the power lurking right at your fingertips.
Have any search bar tricks you like that we didn’t cover? Or find any surprises utilizing any of the above? We want to hear them!
Drop us a line or hit us up on social using #StepUpYourSocial.
Want to listen to the recreated version of the song? Or the original one? You can hear both in Reply All episode #158 The Case of the Missing Hit.
Or scroll down and listen to them both below.
Full Episode Transcript
\Do you listen to Reply All? It’s an awesome podcast about living in the age of the internet. Or something like that. If you don’t listen already, you should. It’s one of my favorites for sure.
Last week, they dropped an episode called “The Case Of The Missing Hit.” In it, PJ, one of their two hosts, goes on a truly epic search — and I mean epic in its literal meaning — to find a song that was big enough to be played on the radio internationally in the 90s, but somehow had [virtually] no presence on Google.
The story starts simply enough: A man named Tyler reached out to PJ for help. He could hear this song in his head, but he couldn’t find it on Google, even though he remembered many of the lyrics. It’s a weird concept in today’s age, where we can find virtually anything online. And yet the song was nowhere to be found… with one weird exception. Years ago, a guy who lives in Trinidad and Tobago had asked about it in an online message board, referencing several of the same lyrics that Tyler remembered. But of course, he too, was trying to track down the song.
This proved that Tyler hadn’t made it up, but it also didn’t help PJ solve the case of the missing hit.
To solve the case, PJ did what any normal person with a budget and an obsession does: he helped Tyler recreate the song in its entirety from memory. Tyler took a song he hadn’t heard in more than 20 years and he coaxed it out of a group of session musicians. PJ then took that recording and talked to… well everyone!
He spoke with numerous music critics from Rolling Stone, producers, radio show hosts from the era, even the lead singer of the Bare Naked Ladies, as the song in question had a very BNL type feel too it.
Google failed them, so PJ took his query to the world. And in the end, all this time, energy and effort amounted to… nothing. Everyone he spoke with had a great idea about how to try to solve the problem. Every great idea took PJ down another rabbit hole. And every rabbit hole ended as unceremoniously as it had started with, “sorry, I just don’t know.”
Then something the Trinidad and Tobago guy had said in his original post sparked something in PJ and he plugged a few lines of the song into Facebook’s search bar. Immediately, not only did he find the song… he found the songwriter who had written it in the first place.
So much time and energy and effort could have been avoided if PJ (or Tyler for that matter) had remembered that while Facebook is first and foremost a social media platform, like virtually every other social media platform you know and love, it’s also part-search engine.
So let’s talk about a few other things the Facebook search bar — that simple little bar right at the top of your account — can do, that you might not have realized:
First things first, type something — anything — into the bar on desktop, and you’ll be brought to a search page. From there, you have a slew of filtering options both on the top of the screen and on the lefthand side.
On the top of the screen, you can choose to only see posts, people, photos, videos, market place, pages, groups, apps, events and links. So the next time you’re trying to find a Facebook Page and you can’t quite remember what it’s called, instead of scrolling and scrolling and scrolling, try filtering instead.
On the lefthand side of the screen, you have a whole other bunch of options. You can opt to see posts from anyone, or only yourself, your friends, your groups or pages, or only content shared publicly. You can even choose a source, to see if a friend, group or page has talked about an issue you care about.
Want to see all posts? Of course you can do that. But you can also limit your search to only posts you’ve already seen. Which could come in super handy if you’re looking for something you saw, but can’t remember where.
You can limit your search to only show content tagged in certain locations or posted in a certain year — or even in a certain month of a certain year!
So yeah, right off the bat, you can see that while Facebook might not be Google, there’s more to its search then simply keywords and scrolling.
Now let’s get into some of the less obvious things you can do with Facebook search:
Once upon a time there was an easy way to see which of your friends lived in which city. Then Facebook got rid of that helpful feature. But good news, they replaced it (they just forgot to tell anyone). Looking for friends in a particular city or state? Just type in “my friends in [wherever]” and Facebook will show you a list.
Looking for a bar, a pizza place, or a spot to get your oil changed? Type in “pizza places near me” and Facebook will show you a list, with a map. Just like Yelp, but without ever leaving Facebook.
Want to know if your friends liked the pizza place you are considering? On the top menu bar, head over to places. On the lefthand side, select “visited by friends.” You can also filter by “open now” and price!
Want to know which events your friends are going to (or should we say so-called friends, since they’re apparently going out without you!)? Type in a keyword. On the top menu, go to events. On the lefthand side menu, go to “popular with friends.” You can also search for events based on location and date, to find things to do today, tomorrow, this week, this weekend or next week.
While their Boolean search isn’t as powerful as Google, you can employ it to some degree. If you don’t know Boolean by name you might know it in practice. Boolean search is a method of search that lets you filter or exclude terms by using all caps AND, NOT and ORs. So type “social media” AND “Madison, WI” into Facebook (or Google) and you’ll only get content back that mentions both. Switch AND with OR and you’ll find content mentioning either. Go with NOT and you’ll find content mentioning the first term but not the second one. This can be pretty helpful when trying to narrow your search.
Now it is worth mentioning that while Facebook search is powerful, it’s far less powerful than it used to be. Google “Facebook search bar tricks” and you’ll find tons of articles telling you about a bunch of features you can use. But alas, Facebook killed a lot of them off when they did away with their Graph Search. This feature let you see which of your friends liked which pages, and which posts had been liked by a specific person. Guess it was all just a bit too invasive for a company so worried about your privacy. #LOL
But there’s still plenty you can do with the Facebook search bar.
Have any search bar tricks you like that we didn’t cover? Or find any surprises utilizing any of the above? We want to hear them!
Drop us a line at stepupyoursocial.com or hit us up on social using #StepUpYourSocial.
In the meantime, don’t get stuck like Tyler and PJ. Start appreciating the power of Facebook search today!
PS: want to hear the song PJ and Tyler recreated, as well as the original? I’ll have links to them both at stepupyoursocial.com.
So Much Better by Evan olson (Original Version)
Taking pictures of your customers/fans/community will help you tell your story in real time. It will also help ensure you have great content to use for years to come.
There’s no shortage of stock photography on the internet, but none of it has your team members in it, or your customers wearing/using/engaging with your products, or events taking place in neighborhoods where you live.
You don’t need to be an amazing photographer to build a photo library, you just need to pull out your smartphone and start taking pictures. If you have multiple team members, you should all take photos regularly to ensure as many different shots as possible of any given event, sale, party, etc.
But that’s where things gets complicated. If several members of your team are taking photos, then those photos are spread out across several different phones and devices.
There are many services out there that aim to solve this problem. Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Photos… all of them can do it. But they are all clunky and slow, and therefore unlikely to be used regularly and reliably. And if you aren’t sharing all your photos, the system isn’t working.
Here’s the good news: If every member of your team uses at least one Apple product, Shared iCloud Drives are the simplest solution you can imagine to solve this annoying problem.
Adding photos to a Shared Drive takes three clicks of the screen. Literally. And then everyone with access will have all shared photos and videos right on their phones and other Apple devices.
To add a photo(s)/video(s) to a Shared Drive, simply open up the media on your phone you want to share.
Then click in the share box in the bottom left of the screen.
Optionally: you can add text or message to accompany your photo. I highly recommend you do this, both for your own sake, and for the sake of your team members. Say where you were, what you were doing, who is in the photo(s)/video(s) and any other information your team should know.
You can add a message or a note for an individual piece of media, or a group of pictures/videos. Whatever you choose to share will be commented on individually or as a unit.
When you open up the Shared Drive, you can toggle between Photos and People.
Shared Drives are a great tool for placing all media at the fingertips of everyone on your team. You can have as many as you want too, so maybe have one accessible to interns or revolving staffers, and another for senior staffers/stakeholders. Or you have different Shared Drives for different parts of your team. Whatever works for you and your organization.
Have questions? Hit me up. I’m here to help you and you team get started building your Digital Media Library.
Check out some other iPhone tips and tricks.
Have any favorite secret iOS tips, tricks, tools or hacks that you love? Share them in the comments!
With a Facebook Note, you can add a cover photo, as well as pictures and GIFs throughout your posts.
You can also format your text with bold and italics, bullet and numbered lists, hyperlinks and much more.
So instead of just another boring picture, your post can look like this:
If not, the biggest story in your varied timelines is probably about how the US is systematically removing children from their parents, many of whom came here seeking asylum (and all of whom came seeking a better life).
The parents are being given no information as to where their children are being taken or when — if ever — they will get to see them again. To make matters worse, we are now learning that the US has lost children (thousands of them 😞😱😡) that are supposed to be in the system, and that many of these children are getting sold to human traffickers.
This morning, Ivanka Trump tweeted a picture. The caption: “My ❤️! #SundayMorning”
Ivanka is not just President Trump’s daughter, she is also a senior member of his administration.
A tweet does not live in a vacuum. A digital intern would have looked at this tweet and recommended to Ivanka she not post it, when the story of the weekend is lost children.
But post it she did. And so the Quote Tweets rolled in:
In other words: you can ignore the people; but rest assured, they are not going to ignore you.
Both of these platforms require precision with limited text. Sometimes it's easier for people to follow what you are trying to say by turning your short text into more than one paragraph.
For a long time, I didn't know how to do that natively (in the app). So when needed, I'd draft my tweet or Instagram post in notepad and then copy and paste it into the platform.
And that worked just fine.
But it's annoying.
Then one day, I noticed something that had been right there at my fingertips all this time. It's so obvious, I felt silly for not noticing it. I didn't want to tell people about it, because I assumed everyone else already knew. But I recently shared it on social and so many people let me know how excited they were. This little trick (if you can even call it that) solved a problem they had struggled with for years. Clearly it wasn't just me missing this little Twitter and Instagram hack.
So many people told me they found it helpful, I just had to throw it up on the blog.
So without any further ado, if you want to hit "Return" (or "Enter") when composing a tweet or an Instagram post, just hit the "123" button. (The same one you hit to get to your number keypad or your punctuation.) And the "Return" key will be right there waiting for you. That's it.
My wife and I live in Madison, WI. Madison is our chosen home — neither of us have families in town. My parents and her mom were able to join us in person. But that still left a lot of loved ones who couldn’t make it in for the occasion.
In the days leading up, my brother asked if I could Skype him in for the event. I said sure. Then one of my cousins made the same request and I realized that Skype was not going to work.
I wanted to stream the celebration for my family, but I didn’t want it to be open to the general public.
So here’s what I did: I created a private Facebook event and invited in those we wanted to join us remotely. This included family and friends in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida, Washington, California and even Germany. It included two grandmothers in their 80s/90s who were both thrilled about becoming great-grandmothers!
Once RSVPing that they would attend, I instructed the invitees to head over to the event page at the appropriate time. I then used Facebook Live to stream the entire ceremony directly into the private group.
They could all access it, and I didn’t have to worry about anyone else joining in, or someone sharing it to their networks and it becoming a public affair (I set the privacy settings to only stream to those “attending” the event).
The stream was one-way, but not the conversation.
I set up the phone on a tripod near our in-home guests. When everything was over, I went back and looked at the video. There were about 15 cyber-guests, but they had left a combined total of 99 comments! So after everyone had gone home and the kitchen was cleaned, we got to re-live the event through their comments.
One of my cousins even let me know that she wasn’t able to make it to the event in real time, but that she was able to watch it later that day on her own time.
As can I and any of the other invitees!
What’s The Point?
If you read my blog regularly, you probably realize that this isn’t a typical post for me. It’s a bit more personal than I normally delve. That said, the point of this post isn’t really to tell you about my intimate family affair. The real point of this post is the importance of understanding the tools in your digital toolkit.
My brother and cousin wanted me to Skype them in. Which would have worked for one or two people… but not a dozen!
Facebook Live would have been great for those we wanted to join us, but it would have been hard to keep it intimate and private.
A private Facebook event was a perfect solution to bring in the family, without having to broadcast it to the world.
Everyone who attended raved about how “fun” it was and how great it was that they got to be there. Never mind the fact that they were all thousands of miles away. They all had a front row seat, right alongside our parents and our local guests. And not only that, they could chat with each other throughout, without worrying about disturbing the ceremony.
In the words of one of my aunts: “This is all so cool that we can be so connected!”
While this story is about how I brought my family together, ask yourself when such tools might be helpful for bringing together your audience or community. Maybe you have an upcoming meeting you want to share with top volunteers. Or you want to announce a new product line to your VIP customers. Perhaps you want to give access to some of your fans, without opening up your conversation to the world. Our smartphones and social media platforms are full of amazing tools. Understanding them might just be the difference between bringing your community together… or not.
Want to start using Facebook Live, but not sure how to get started. Check out my free Facebook Live Checklist.
Not sure which digital tool might be right for your upcoming event. Be in touch and let’s figure it out together!
Ever see an ad you were interested in, but didn’t have time to dig in? Maybe it was a post from your favorite digital storyteller and strategist, walking you through some awesome Facebook feature you definitely want to learn about, just not at this moment 😉. Perhaps it’s a picture of your baby nephew, who’s just too cute for words and you don’t want to lose track of all those awesome pictures of him in his adorable little onesies.
Facebook has you covered.
Anytime you see anything on Facebook — ANYTHING! — you can “save” it, offering you easy access to it whenever you want to go back to it in the future.
Go to any post on Facebook and click the three dotes in the top right hand corner.
How Do I Find My Saved Folder?
For example: You know those “On This Day” posts Facebook shows you, reminding you about that time you became friends with that person you don’t even know 8 years ago? Well sometimes there are days or people we might prefer not to remember (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind anyone?). Click “On This Day” and then go to “Preferences” in the top right corner. You can choose people or dates to be excluded from those otherwise fun and helpful Facebook reminders!
Okay, so back to your Facebook Saved Folder
You can even search within your saved items!
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