How to Use Social Media for An Adoption Search

Adoptees Searching with Social Media Need help

Making Google Work for You When Finding Your Family

I’m going to preface this post by first explaining that I am trained professionally to know how Google and the various search engines work. I once had the illustrious title of “Director of Social Media” before I quit that to come back to AdoptionLand full time. And I know how to make search work for me. Google “Birthmother blogs” and you’ll see my point.  I can get all geeky in my explanations, but I’ll just quote myself from my Adopting Social site and leave it at that:

The search engines, Google, Bing, to a degree Yahoo, all want to provide the best experience for the people searching. That’s why they have all gotten more based on personalization and local areas so you can find what you want faster and better. Check out this fun explanation from Google on how search works if you want a basic overview.

The point I am trying to make is that when it comes to manipulating the search engines AND adoption I kind of know my stuff. At the intersection where the two cross; I don’t think there is anyone in the country who knows it as well I do. Not trying to be ego girl. It’s just a fact.

So if you want to use social media to help find your family; LISTEN TO ME. These tips will simply make your adoption search more successful. They will also be helpful for others to understand would they want to help your search be successful, so even if you are NOT searching yourself, be a good helper in AdoptionLand and continue reading. OK? End preface.

Use Sex of Adoptee, Birth Date and Location as Keywords for a URL

Ok so the first things that need to be understood are what is going to get your search found by the right person should they be searching for you. There are usually three things that are identifiers in an adoption search: Sex of the adoptee, birth date and location. These three things are usually known by both parties and not likely to be altered. The key word here is “not likely” as sometimes they can be; especially the birth date, but we’ll assume that they are correct.

Hence, the birth date, sex of the adoptees and the location are going to be the most important KEYWORDS of a search.

Keywords, or key phrases is a geeky way of saying the most important facts that often become a search, as in a Google (or Bing or Yahoo)  search. IE:  the words that someone types into a computer search to see what results are returned. The idea being that if you are a “Female Adoptee born April 24, 1968 in Mineola New York”  you can be found by someone searching for “Baby Girl born NY 4-24-1968”.

So IF you are going to start a blog to help you search name the BLOG something like: “Female Adoptee 4-24-68 NY” so THAT is in the URL like this: http://Female-adoptee-4-24-1968-NY.blogspot.com/  On the same token, should you decide to create a Facebook for an adoption search; use the same three identifiers like this: https://www.facebook.com/12.25.1976.Male.Adoptee

Create a Blog for the Adoption Search Information  /  Facebook Page for Traffic

Now in the internet world, using a blog as the center point where everything feeds out of is best.  What is nice about a blog as a base is that you do have one place where you can update information. Also, as people want to help, they tend to ask the same questions over and over again. So having a blog where you can link directly to information makes you much more efficient.

The other thing is that a blog is MUCH more searchable through the search engines. While you can set a Facebook page to be public, a person still has to have a FB account to see anything. Plus Facebook and the search engines are always fighting and change what they allow and do not allow,  whereas a blog will always be open to search.  The search engines are tools that you want to work for you, so a blog is a great way to harness that.

However, starting a new blog from scratch even for an adoption search does mean that you have to get others to know about it. So in addition to a blog, a  Facebook PAGE is probably necessary just because the traffic is already there. You use the Facebook page to promote the blog.

Now, I do not mean creating a new PROFILE, but creating a free Facebook PAGE connected from your own profile is great. Not a group. A PAGE. So while signed into Facebook; click here https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/?ref_id=398851213494719 and fill that out.

Now the whole idea of a search is to get as many people as possible to see your information and to know that you are searching for family; so this is not the time to worry about stalkers, scammers, and hiding your email. If you have privacy concerns, make a new Gmail address just for the search so you can give that our all over. Keep your own Facebook profile how you like it, but make the PAGE public in every way. Let other people share it. Let others post to the page. Let people message the page.

Use a Good Picture for Your Adoption Search

If you don’t have a good picture, take one. If you have a decent hand, go the poster board route and put your information on the image, but if you have chicken scratch, use a computer to add the information on your picture or around it.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR CONTACT INFO ON THE IMAGE! The idea is that you want the picture to be spread all over, right? And that means that there is a chance that the picture will take on a life of its own and travel wildly; so what good is a image that is not longer connected to you?

On the same note,  name the actual IMAGE FILE with the sex-birthdates-location. Google will often index photos and they will be available on their own in image searches and so if that happens, you want the image to show up if someone is searching. So before you upload the image ANYWHERE, on your COMPUTER  right click and hit “rename” and call your image something like “female-adoptee- 4-24-68-NY-searching”. Use dashes for spaces because that is what Google reads dashes as. Then no matter where you image goes, it will be searchable under that.

Of course you will want to have the image on the blog, but when you add the image to facebook, use the “edit” feature and add more information there: Add a link to the blog and the URL of the FB page. AS people share the image, the information will go along with it.

It is also a VERY good idea to keep those important sex-date-location info at the VERY top as COPY. I don’t know how many times I have spent too long peering into a tiny photo and trying to remember the birthdates so I could share with the right info. I really just want to be able to copy the important dates and past them in my status updates, but you cannot copy and paste copy from a image.

Moving your Adoption Search Image Along in Facebook

Try to ONLY add the image once and DO NOT delete it. If you delete a SHARED image, then ALL the times it was shared, will disappear too! Instead of uploading it again to move it along, share it again. Share it often.  This also has to do with the internal Facebook Algorithm that determines how many people will see a post by the numbers of interactions attributed to it.  You can also take the URL of the IMAGE and post that as a share. Essentially you are again sharing the image which will increase the amount of engagement on the post itself which will bring it in front of more pairs of eyes. On the same note, you will want o talk to people on your image (and the page) when they comment. LIKE their comments, say thank you!

Now, you will also want to INVITE everyone you know to like you page and share the image. A good way to do that is to create an Facebook event and very clearly tell people what they can do to help. Not everyone knows how to use Facebook the best way or can understand it, so easy peasy is best. “Please LIKE  the PAGE and SHARE this (add the URL) Image to your wall. If you want, you can also invite more people from your network  to this virtual event. I would really appreciate the help”.

If you go to other groups and pages on Facebook to share, then again, use the ORIGINAL IMAGE and SHARE it. If you cannot share form one page to a group, then copy and paste the URL, so again, people see the original upload.  Don’t add a new picture, you want to be able to look at the original image and see how far it is getting. In the midst of an adoption searches dark days, seeing 204,321 shares can really give you a new dose of hope.

Use Facebook Tagging to Your Advantage

I don’t see people outside the marketing world use this enough.

What’s “tagging ” you ask? When you are typing a status and you use the @ sign.. and that pulls up a list of names of friends or pages.. and you pick one and it links to them? That’s “tagging”, but it is also good to use to expose things to wider audience.  Like If there is an adoptee search photos for that said Mineola birth ( which is MY birth info by the way. I did not want to screw up anyone else’s search with a fake date!) , then tag Mineola, New York.

Tagging on facebook to help adoption searchesYou can tag just the state involved. You can tag the hospital. You can often tag the adoption agency. Take some time and search through Facebook to find other pages that are relevant to your search parameters and have your PAGE like them. Maybe the high schools in the area that your birth mother might have gone to? Or the businesses that your father might have worked for? When you tag another page then YOUR link usually (depending on their settings) will show up on THEIR page and you get more eyes on your search!

Also, use hashtags. Granted hashtag are more about Twitter, but Facebook does recognize them too; #adoption, #Findmyfamily #ISO #Searching #Adoptee

Promoting Your Adoption Search on Facebook and Online

Now once you do get your pages up and running, then you will want to promote the search within the adoption community. There are many adoption support groups and pages on Facebook, but please don’t go posting all willy-nilly. Make sure that the page is for searching and take such posts. You will also have to do a little at a time otherwise you tip off the internal Facebook spam control and your profile can get “in trouble and banned from posting for a time period. It’s much better to spread it out as then you keep the information up in front of people’s faces on the news feed.  The more you have comments, likes and shares on one post the more people see it as it will return to the top of the feed when it gets new activity on it.  SO rather than a ton of effort in 2 hours, keep doing a few a day. Keep at it. Consistency is key.

It also helps to go outside of Facebook and comment on other things like news stories relating to adoption or adoption blogs, but just don’t be spammy. Contribute something relevant and use the URL to your FB page or the site in your signature ie:  Nice comment that makes sense, signed June; Female Adoptee from NY Searching for Family; Help me Find My Birthmother at http://www.yourURL.com

And DO list your image on AdopteePhoto.com and make sure you have done the basics in an adoption search as listed here on the search page.

Going back to Adoption Search Keywords

Blogger calls them labels. WordPress calls them tags. The search engines call them keywords. And they rock. Basically a keyword or a key phrase are the important words used on a page that will let the search engines know what any one URL should be indexed for. In other words they help get your found in Google.

Now in this example, we have been using my birth info, so the MAIN key phrase is: “female-adoptee- 4-24-68-NY”, and that is on the blog URL and the FB page and the image name. Great. But what if my non existent birthmother looks for “baby girl born in April on long island”?  Goggle can only be as smart as I tell it to be!  So we help it along. Make your life easier and type up a word document with key terms that make sense for example:

Baby girl born April 1968, April 24th girl adopted, Searching for new york adoptee 4-24-1968, Looking for 1968 adoptee,  Adopted girl born in new york , Date of birth april 24 1968, Adoptee born april 24 1968, Adoptee born 4 24 1968, Adoptee born 4-24-68, Mineola new york adopted girl,  Searching for long island adoptee, Looking for birth mother of girl born 1968, Mineola, New york, Long island adoption 1968, female adoptee searching

Notice the variations of the same? Just try to imagine all the different ways that someone MIGHT use Google to search for you and write it out. And yes, the proper way (aka how Google likes it best)  is the First word capitalized and then separated by commas.  Now there are some words that one should try to include because the searches that occur for them are higher than others. Now you can use the Google Keyword Planner tool yourself to look them up, but I already did and they are in order so here they are.

Family search is, by far, the one to include for sure. Over 135K people search using that phrase EVERY month! If you want to understand how the numbers work, please check out this post that explains it more how people search and find information online.

Keyword Avg. Monthly Searches
family search 135000
birth records 8100
lds family search 6600
adoption records 1300
find my past 1300
adoption search 880
how to find birth parents 880
family history search 880
find family members 720
find my family tree 720
find birth parents 720
find my family 590
finding birth parents 590
biological parents 390
find my dad 390
find family tree 320
birth parent search 320
birth mother 320
biological mother 320
birth record 320
finding family 260
looking for birth mother 260
find biological parents 260
find my birth mother 210
find my birth parents 210
finding biological parents 210
my family search 210
find my mom 210
find birth mother 170
how to find my birth mother 170
find birth records 170
find a family member 170
find your family 170
find family history 170
finding family history 170
adoptee search 170
birth mother search 170
birth mothers 170
birth parents 170
finding birth mother 140
looking for birth parents 140
adoption registry connect 140
searching for birth parents 140
find my parents 140
how do i find my birth parents 140
how to find your biological parents 140
how to find your biological father 140
search family history 140
find adoptive parents 140
find adoption records 140
uk birth records 140
birth records search 140
trace family history 140
trace family tree 140
how to find birth mother 110
how to find your birth mother 110
how do i find my birth mother 110
free adoption records search 110
finding family members 110
family finding 110
adoption search registry 110
how to find biological father 110
find biological father 110
how to find my biological father 110
search family 110
adoption records new york 110

Got questions or issues? Bring ’em on.

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

4 Comments on "How to Use Social Media for An Adoption Search"

  1. I am helping a person to set up a search for her birth-mother. Can one use a birth-name as ID on a Facebook page if one’s adopted name is different ? If it is possible, surely there is a greater chance of finding a birth family ? There is no intent of fraud, since the adopted name and married name can be mentioned in the profile. What do you think ?
    Many thanks for your help.
    James Smith

    • Hi James,
      I do believe even under the TOS of FB once can use a “nickname” or has a place to list the “maiden” name. so those avenues can be used. I think the “maiden” name or nick name shows up in parenthesis on a profile and I THINK it is still searchable as a name that way.
      The other idea is that one can build a FB page for the birth name? So the adoptee would have a normal FB profile under their adopted name, but create a page with the birth name and then BOTH are search able that way as well. It probably easier to manage than if one had two profiles and had to sign in and out.
      And I would NOT worry a tiny bit about “fraud”. Really.

  2. I am looking for daughter who will be 22on the 17th. I read your info on how to do it but it’s overwhelming. I really would appreciate your guidance.

    • I’m kind of unsure of what guidance you are looking for? This kind of IS my guidance of my best tips for a social media adoption search. Perhaps it would be best if you try to go through it again (and again if necessary) and try starting the process. I really don’t know how to explain it any simpler, though pretty much you can Google ANYTHING like “how do I start a blog” and you will get TONS more information. I’m just unsure of what it is specifically that you are wanting.

      I also have more tips on searching here: http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/adoption/searches/ I don’t SEARCH myself, but always suggest that people get in touch with a search angle if they need help. They are MUCH better at searches in general.

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