If you own a local business -- let's say, for example, it's called Robert's Pancake House -- you want to make sure that people in your community happen upon it when seeking a reputable pancake establishment to patronize. And more than ever, potential customers are using social media to evaluate businesses that provide services: hotels, barbershops, nail salons, restaurants, etc. If you haven't already optimized your company's Facebook page for the site's search function, you've already fallen behind the field.

Luckily, John Rampton over at Forbes has some tips for making sure that Robert's Pancake House reigns supreme in the ultra-competitive municipal pancake market. His tips are summed up below:

1. Your Facebook business page title and website URL should match. Facebook search prefers brand consistency.

2. Fill out your profile completely. Facebook pulls many of its search keywords from the About section so make sure not to skimp there. Writing about yourself on Facebook is the easiest thing in the world. There's no excuse not to include all necessary information.

3. Post lots of quality content. Likes, shares, and comments are currency for businesses on Facebook. The more you have, the more the site's search feature will prioritize your page.

4. Interact with your audience. "Engagement" is more than just a buzzword. Here's what Rampton says:

"Remember, you want to converse with audience on Facebook, and not just shout sales pitches at them. A great do that is by engaging and interacting with them. The more this occurs, the better opportunity you have to improve your search ranking."

5. Finally, use Facebook apps to expand the ways you connect with customers.

Rampton expands on all these points in his article (linked again below) and wraps everything up with a simple truth: social media marketing is a necessity to survive in today's business world. Customers, especially the younger ones, are going to do their research before deciding on who to give their business to. Making sure they  can find you online is really half the battle.

Read more at Forbes

Photo credit: Bloomua / Shutterstock.com