So you created your business’ Facebook fan page. What now? How do you market it? What’s the next step? Although Facebook features, like News Feed stories, invitations, and page suggestions all help spread the word on your fan page to users around Facebook, sometimes these tools just aren’t enough. Optimizing your fan page for the search engines can help attract more fans, aid in online reputation management, and also increase brand awareness. Here are a few obvious and not-so-obvious ways that you can tweak your page to get maximum visibility in the search engines.
In setting up your page, one of the most important things is selecting the appropriate page name. The best strategy is to use your business’ brand name. You do have the ability to use a keyword or two here, but it’s extremely important to not appear spammy. If a keyword will help your fans find your page and eliminate confusion with similar brand names, then that might be useful to include, but really try to keep it to a minimum. You also don’t want the fan page name to be too long that it gets cut off. Be very careful during this process as once you select your page name, you cannot change it. Once your page has at least 25 fans, you’ll be able to choose a vanity URL for your page. Here, you have a bit more leeway to use keywords in the URL. Again, the best practice is to use your brand name, but if you can sensibly fit a keyword there, then go for it. Remember, this is a direct URL to your page, so you want to make sure it is not too long and is easy to remember.
Once the page is set up, make sure to fill out all relevant information in order to make the profile as complete as possible. The “About” box that appears underneath the profile photo is a great place to write some engaging content on your brand, as well as stick in some of your keywords. Choose wisely though, because you’re limited to 250 characters here. Next, make sure to fill out all the fields under the “Info” tab. You’re able to use descriptive, keyword-rich content here, and the more information you provide about your brand, the best opportunity you’ll have to increase awareness.
Next, you’ll want to make sure you’re making full use of the capabilities of your fan page. Installing applications like Static FBML and Social RSS are great ways to give your page a customized feel and even more unique content. Social RSS essentially imports the RSS feed from your company blog into its own tab on your Facebook page, keeping your fans aware of additional content channels. Static FBML allows you to build a custom landing tab for your Facebook page. It’s an excellent way to add unique, crawlable, keyword-rich content and give your visiting fans a uniquely branded experience. While Static FBML, has been known as an advanced tactic for Facebook marketing over the past couple years, it is quickly becoming a standardized procedure for brands that are committed to developing their presence on the social networking site.
Now that your page is all set up, you can optimize the way you share content on your page to give it the best chance to be found by the search engines. First is in attaching links to your page status updates. Whenever you click the small “Link” icon, you’ll be presented with a box to paste your link to “Attach” it. Facebook will then present the link underneath your status update and give you the ability to edit thumbnail photo, title, and description. It’s extremely important to optimize each for your audience, but remember that the “Title” element acts as the link’s anchor text, so include those keywords if it makes sense to. As you know, there are also other kinds of content that can be shared on your Facebook page, like Photos, Events, Discussion Forum, and the brand new Questions application. These types of content are very engaging and should all be posted with unique, keyword-rich titles, descriptions, and captions when appropriate.
As you may have learned in doing SEO for your website, quality inbound links are like gold. This is why, if you want to increase the ranking of your Facebook page in the search engines, you’ll have to build links to them as well. Start off by placing links to your page on your company site, company blog, partner sites, etc. The more places you can get links to your Facebook page, the better. Another way to build more links, is to get more fans. You see, each person’s profile links to the Facebook pages that they “like”. So with each new fan, comes another link to your page. Going further, each interaction that you have with your fans, is another opportunity for a link to your page to show up in that fan’s News Feed. Even when mentioning another business’ fan page, a user, or event in a status update on your fan page, try to “mention” them using the “@” drop-down. This only works if your personal admin profile is a fan of, friends with, or RSVP’d to the event. Depending on the privacy settings of these other pages and profiles, when you “mention” them, your post will appear on their page as well. Not only will this help in generating links to your page, but will also spread the virality of your page among Facebook’s users.
As Facebook continues to grow in users and in importance as a marketing channel, it will become increasingly important to optimize your brand’s presence on the network. By doing so, you can not only increase visibility on the Facebook platform, but also within the SERPs for searches for your brand name and related keywords as well. For us SEO-ers, the era of social media is now, and it’s time to start putting our skills to good use.