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Small Business Marketing with Facebook Search

If you want to improve your small business marketing, there’s just no way you can ignore social media any longer. And if you’re not sure how to get started integrating social media into your small business marketing plan, I suggest heading over to Facebook.

Small Business Marketing with Facebook SearchFacebook (FB) is so much more than a “chat session” as one of my clients recently described it. Facebook marketing has become an excellent tool for getting your content in front of millions of web surfers and for driving traffic to your website.

In fact, according to comScore’s recent data, there were 621 million Facebook search queries preformed in June 2010. That’s a 63% increase from the number of FB search queries performed in January 2010, and it’s almost half the searches performed on Bing. Facebook users are actively searching for specific content and information; why not make sure your content is presented?

There are more than a half billion registered FB users around the world, which presents an obvious opportunity for spreading your small business marketing message. And, with just a little bit of effort, the information you present on Facebook can actually appear on the “real” search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Ready to add this marvelous (and growing) tool to your small business marketing arsenal? Here are a few tips for optimizing your Facebook efforts for the best possible search results:

When creating a Facebook fan page or business page, put some serious thought into your page name and URL. Remember all that keyword research you did for your website? Well now is the time to pull out that file folder and review the words that are relevant to your target audience and your service offerings. You’ll want to incorporate these keywords into your About Me box and the Overview section of your page.

By utilizing the relatively new Facebook Markup Language (also known as FBML) you’ll be able to add your own images, graphics, and text that also make use of your targeted keywords. (Not familiar with FBML? This might be a job you want to pass on to your web master.)

Keep your list of targeted keywords handy. You’ll want to refer to these every time you add photos, create a discussion topic, even write status updates. And when linking to your FB updates from off-site pages, you’ll want to incorporate these keywords into your anchor text.

Be sure to review the new Facebook Questions feature. Here’s another chance to rank well in FB search for your chosen keywords, as well as present yourself as an expert (which, after all, should be part of your small business marketing plan). Popular questions are ranked more highly, so put some thought into the questions you create; make them alluring and engaging. And remember, there’s no rule against answering your own question; just be sure to use your keywords.

Want to get your “regular” website listed in the FB search results? Make sure you’re listed well in Bing since the Bing search engine powers Facebook search. Don’t forget to add the Facebook LIKE button to your website; early indications show that this technique does affect your Facebook search results.

And remember, it’s OK to link to your Facebook page from external sites. Be sure to use relevant anchor text, and give off-site users a reason to take the extra step of visiting Facebook to see what you have to offer. Keep in mind, for many web surfers, having to log into FB with a username and password may be a drudgery that just isn’t worth it at the moment, so be sure your linking efforts are extremely enticing.

Optimizing your Facebook efforts for better search performance is very similar to optimizing your website for better search engine rankings. It takes a little time, a little know-how, and a little work, but in the long run your efforts will surely pay off.

Karen Scharf, small business marketing consultant, works with small business owners and entrepreneurs. She offers several papers, reports and checklists, including her FREE 4 Simplest Tactics for Increasing Your Customer Base and Growing Your Bottom Line. Download this and many other small business marketing tips now.