Chances are you are familiar with using Facebook's Search form to find friends, but there are more uses and specific options that you can use to improve your marketing
With Facebook's Advanced Search you can narrow the results with the following options:
Posts by Friends
Posts by Everyone
Posts in Groups
The above options are shown on the left side of the screen after doing a basic search. You can narrow down by clicking on any of the them.
I'm going to work down the list explaining each search option. But, before I do that, one quick note, there is no way to orient the search results. You just get whatever Facebook has decided is the most desired way of looking at them. When this is important, I'll explain it.
OK, now lets look at each option...
All Results shows a few items from each option with links to focus in on individual options. This is the default Facebook search, and really only has value in drilling down to a tighter search.
People is how you search for new friends. It's not hard, you just type in your friend's name, and Facebook will show you people with that name. The results are oriented with people sharing friends with you are at the top.
If the person you're looking for doesn't share friends with you, you can add terms like the city and state, employer, or schools they attended.
If you know email of the person you're looking for, try that in the Facebook search box first. If the email address matches a user, it will save you the hassle of drilling down through the results.
Pages shows you Facebook Fan Pages with the search term in the title. This is a way to find pages you can share information on to attract people, and do joint ventures with.
Remember, you can use Facebook as a page, and then comment on other pages to quickly and easily attract new fans to your page.
Facebook Groups are centered on specific topics, and this option will only bring up groups with the keyword in their name. Use Facebook search to find groups relating to your topic, and then join the discussion. Posting links to your fan pages in groups is a quick way to get new fans.
Apps is short for applications. Facebook applications are simple tools that integrate with Facebook. You'll find things for your fan pages and games and quizzes to share with your friends. As a marketer most of these apps have little value and can be ignored.
Events shows either physical events or online events. Because there is no way to sort the results they are almost worthless. You do see the number of confirmed guests, but without knowing who's promoting the event, you cannot draw conclusions.
Web Results shows Bing search results. Most webmasters only pay attention to search results on Google. With Facebook using Bing for their Web Results option, optimizing websites for Bing is becoming more important.
Posts By Friends allows you to find topics your friends are writing about by searching for words in their posts.
You'll see posts containing the keyword ordered by most recent first. This is a great way to make sure you're commenting on posts relating to your topics.
Posts By Everyone shows every post on Facebook containing the keyword with the most recent ones first.
While you might think you can use the posts by everyone option to find new friends, if it's a widely used term you'll be overwhelmed by the search results. The real value in looking at posts by everyone is to gauge interest in current events.
For example as I'm writing this article, eBay just raised their fees. I know I'll be writing an article, and Facebook search allows me to see how people are responding to eBay's changes. When I scroll through the results, the comments point out areas to address in my article.
Even better, I found one person with an interesting take on eBay's changes and sent him a message asking if I could get more information for my newsletter readers. This simple research will improve my article.
Another reason to search posts by everyone is to find out if people are talking about you or your company. This allows you to respond to complaints before they get out of hand, and identify people who are championing your products.
Posts In Groups is the last option. This allows you to see if people in groups you belong to are using your keywords.
I recommend you spend about a half hour playing with Facebook search. Click on the different options after entering a few keywords to get an idea of how each one works.
Terry Gibbs is the author of "The Marketer's Guide To Facebook," and writes a regular newsletter covering Facebook and Internet Marketing
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