Let’s talk about Facebook for a minute. Three years ago, we were customizing MySpace layouts and working with the Fox Network on CPA and CPC programs for MySpace and other social websites. Unless you’re in the music or sexy t-shirt industry, MySpace may not be the best social network to be advertising on. At the Facebook Ads Summit I attended on October 15th, there was a segment focused specifically on optimizing Facebook Pages, a supplement to the new ad platform that I must say has been performing very well for us thus far:

Optimizing Facebook Pages

With 300 million users and over 70 different languages, it’s no wonder so many people (including my entire family) have migrated to Facebook. With an advertising platform that currently offers over 250k keywords, ad abstraction, contextual targeting (on the way), and demographic targeting, there’s plenty of opportunity to reach millions of eyes. Not to mention the new Rosetta campaign importer that’s coming out soon, which will enable you to simply import your AdWords or YSM campaigns (wow!).

But what about Pages? What the heck are pages and how are they different from profiles? And do you set one up? Better yet, how do you optimize a Facebook Page so that it shows up in Google or adds another “vote” to your local business listing to improve local search engine trust?

Let’s start at the beginning with Facebook’s definition of a “Page” according to their most recent product guide:

A Facebook Page is a public profile that enables brands, businesses, or public personalities
to connect and share with Facebook users.

Pages provide a “voice” for communicating with Fans in real-time as you post interesting
and relevant stories. When your Fans interact with your Facebook Page and the content
you share, viral stories can appear in their friends’ home pages .

So in terms of marketing, having a Page is having a beacon within Facebook that allows fans, patrons, and prospects to interact freely without the barriers of old-school communication. It’s like Twitter with 10x’s the content and no text limitations.

Optimizing Within Facebook

Let me know if you think I have this backwards (trust me, I don’t): The primary goal of having a Facebook Page is to get fans (or subscribers) and invoke interaction. The secondary goal is drive them to an offer page or get them to your target website.

How do you do get more fans and visibility within Facebook? By pushing content out tactfully. The Wall within a Page is the same as a Wall within a Profile. Therefore Page Admins can publish stories, news, and offers to their Fan’s home page streams. As it was told by a publisher during the Ads Summit, updates don’t always happen right away and she also noted that something goes on at Facebook on Tuesday’s with regards to updates, which means Tuesday mornings may be the best time to push content (hint hint).

The other internal way to communicate with Fans is by direct messages to their inboxes, which is reportedly being used less and less. Who uses email these days anyway right, right? (sorry Corey Feldman fan here).

Going back to the Pages themselves, here are some ways you can optimize your Facebook Pages according to product guide and people I spoke with at the Facebook Ads Summit:

  1. Exclusive offers for Fans only is great Fan bait
  2. When you post content, always include video or imagery. Facebook users are very visual.
  3. There are many tabs available, use them all. Tabs include the Wall for dynamic content, Info for static information, Photos for well you know, and custom Facebook applications for tabs (events, reviews, discussions, etc)
  4. Use the Boxes tab to get crazy interactive with your audience using video, discussion boards and Facebook’s version of HTML called FBML that lets you customize a rich, interactive experience. You can add as many as 10 FMBL modules to the Boxes and “Wall” tab of your Page (up to four on the Wall tab). The Static FBML application is also available as a full tab, where you can embed Flash animations.
  5. According to David Mihm’s local SEO feedback from SMX East, “including your geo area in the Title of an EVENT or GROUP on Facebook can make it rank better in Facebook search” and to “target possible customers in your area with a birthday special–the fact that the offer will expire the next day, when it’s no longer their birthday, increases the urgency to purchase.”
  6. Choose a vanity URL that contains your keywords (such as facebook.com/widgetwholesales)
  7. Also for local businesses, having the business address verbatim as it’s presented in Google Maps and Yahoo! Local could result in the Facebook Page appearing as a web reference in the local business profile page (such as the new Google Local Pages).
  8. Encourage and reward positive reviews
  9. Publish fresh content at least 2-3 times per week
  10. Check out these additional 10 Facebook Page tips from InsideFacebook.com
  11. Develop a Publishing Strategy and calendar that may include offering questions and surveys
  12. Keep your pages and strategy simple and relevant. Remember, inline content is easy to consume and people love images, videos, apps and timely information
  13. Interact with and feature brands, which may include jumping into one on one conversations, featuring fans in a conversation, resharing content, etc.
  14. Create a custom experience tag with the Facebook Connect widget, Comments widget, sweepstakes or promotions, or anything that could be link bait to potential Fans.
  15. Analyze, iterate and optimize using the Facebook Insights Tool to get “high-level demographic and geographic insights about your Fans”, and to “analyze the number of interactions and overall engagement with your Page and posts.”

Optimizing Outside of Facebook

If you don’t already have a Facebook link on your website, please grab the one below and get it on there ASAP:

Find us on Facebook Badge

A week ago I received an SMS from Mandalay Bay with “Become a Fan of Mandalay Bay on Facebook facebook.com/mandalaybay/ or Follow us on Twitter @MandalayBay.” Then a few days later the emailed followed with a similar message and not at all bundled into a typical newsletter. The messages were clear: Follow Us.

Giveaways and contests won’t produce the ideal target market when it comes to Fans on Facebook Pages, but it can draw a lot of numbers very quickly.

And then it all comes down to links. You definitely do not want your Facebook Page to show up above your target website, but getting a few new targeted links to the Page every month could position the listing as a close 2nd, and maybe your Squidoo page as close 3rd, and your LA Times or OC Register listing as 4th (you see where I’m going).

The list goes on. It’s not rocket science to use your Facebook Page to get better visibility within the world’s most-trafficked social network and to potentially get more trust from the search engines when you get links and business data shared across 3rd party websites.

How Do You Optimize Your Facebook Page?

I want your feedback. Please let us know your techniques if you’re getting great results or know someone who has. Thanks for visiting!

Feedback From LinkedIn Answers

George Best

The basic thing is that you have to create an attractive profile and submit the links of the pages of your website there, it will automatically create a meta title along with a description and then you can share those info with as many persons u know via mail

Melissa Galt

As I know it, one of the reasons to have an FB page is the SEO value that can be created in a well thought out title that not only includes the business name but also keywords. This is particularly important as FB doesn’t allow changes to the titling unless by act of supreme congress (that means repeated petitions). I run across inappropriately and inadequately title pages all the time, the fastest solution is to retitle a new page, cut and paste content and move fans over.
It is also vital (and yes another task with the million and one other social media opportunities) to keep the page fresh, content laden, relevant and active.
Together we all go farther, M

Erica Friedman

I engage with people. It’s not how *pretty* your site is that draws people in, its what you offer them – conversation, engagement, something to care about.
Social Media is not the platform – it’s the way you use the platform to communicate with people.

Jason Losover

How to get the most out of your FB page:

  • Relevant and timely content
  • Special offers/coupons/promo codes unique to FB fans
  • Feedback is important. ASK your fans when you have a question!
  • Multimedia: add photos, videos, and other interactive stuff through FBML
  • Use FB ads to drive new fans to your page
  • Eat your competitor’s lunches; advertise by targeting their fans
  • Make it conversational, not salesy or spammy
  • Use Facebook to build relationships with current customers, not to get new customers.

Michelle Yue

The key to a good facebook page is not only to get the most fans or even just to get them to link to the brand’s web page. You also want to start conversations about the brand and the experience that surrounds it. For instance, a good Facebook page for XYZ Resort in the Bahamas will not simply update fans on events and offers (that can be easily accomplished on XYZ’s website); it will ask fans questions like “What’s your favorite thing to do on vacation?” or “Tell us a funny story about your last trip to the Bahamas” or encourage them to post pictures from their trip.

Sam Beamond

Use a keyword research tool such as Googles Keyword Selector tool to determine the best keywords for you company. Then strategically lace your FB profile, fan pages etc with these keywords. Tie these keywords in with your own website too to further increase the impact. By doing this you increase the chances of your FB pages showing up in Google (or other search engines) organic search results.
Hope this helps.

Wallace Jackson

For our clients, yes. For our business we use LinkedIn primarily. Cheers. Walls.

Mike Nierengarten

“Optimizing” a Facebook fan page can mean a lot of things. Optimizing for search? For lead generation? For brand awareness? The first step in fan page optimization is identifying the objective of the fan page.
From there, one should integrate design elements using the FBML app. Create a tabbed landing page that has the same look and feel of your associated website. Consider integrating FBML elements such as suggesting the fan page to friends (WooMe example) or marketing elements such as a newsletter (Animation Mentor example). Add conversion points such as a Get More Information form or a Rewards Program sign up (again, consider your objectives).
From there, it is about finding your target audience. Hold contests (Wildfire App good for this) or offer Facebook-only deals or coupons. Run polls. Asks questions. Share insider info about your company. If you are an e-commerce company, consider selling products online using the Al Venda or Payvment apps.
Basically, treat your fan page as your homepage for the Facebook community. What can you offer your target audience? How do you want to engage with them? What action are you looking for them to take?
From there, measure and test. Look at Facebook Insights (new version coming soon) and your web analytics platform. Test a strategy and see what works. Set goals and attribute it to revenue. Measure your ROI. Rinse and repeat.

Les Martin

Write a keyword friendly headline and post.

Ali Syme

I use my Facebook page for communicating with friends and colleagues and nothing else. It’s not really a business tool (yet) but I suppose it’s possible.
You’d have to make the page public though – and then competitors can see your employees and clients and that’d simply add to their knowledge of you.