Facebook page likes were once the equivalent of newsletter subscribers. You could build a following, post regularly and stay in front of your audience easily. But with organic reach at an all-time low (some studies show as low as 2 percent of your page likers actually see your posts in their newsfeed), that’s no longer the case.
That said, are they worth pursuing? We run droves of Facebook ads for advisors and from our vantage point, there’s still value in building up a respectable number of page likes before running lead-generation or website traffic ads.
1. Page likes are digital social proof. When you view a Facebook page you look at the number of likes and instantly form an opinion. This is the epitome of Cialdini’s concept of social proof. Given that our research shows 95 percent of affluent investors research advisors online during the decision-making process, likes matter.
2. Facebook ads perform better on high-credibility pages. The other day a Facebook ad caught our eye. But before downloading the white paper, we decided to head over to the company’s Facebook page to learn more about the firm. We immediately discovered that the company had an extremely low following and low engagement on their posts. Our perception of their credibility instantly changed. The result? We became skeptical, abandoned their offer and kept scrolling.
We run hundreds of Facebook ads for financial advisors. We’ve found that Facebook pages with a larger following, on average, have better performing ads. All else equal, we can take two identical ads, target identical markets, and get drastically different results.
3. “Friends of Likers” ads are the closest you can get to testimonials without breaking the rules. Most advisors start building a Facebook page by inviting their personal friends to like it. Next, they invite clients to like their page. Once they have an established base of people who like their page, they can run ads to target the friends of their likers. The beauty of this type of ad allows their friends see that your likers like your page. It’s an endorsement without being an endorsement.
4. If you give Facebook the type of content it wants, you can actually reach your fans. We wrote an article recently about countering Facebook’s massive drop in organic reach. Our point being that you can still reach your likers if you give Facebook the type of content it’s looking for—think live video, minimal text, less third-party sources and more personal posts. The algorithm is changing and your content strategy should as well.
Just to be clear, we’re not saying you should spend all of your time and budget building Facebook page likes. We’re saying that it’s a great foundation for a successful strategy. Once you have a credible number, it’s time to move into some lead-generation and website traffic objectives.
@StephenBoswell is President of The Oechsli Institute and Co-author of Best Practices of Elite Advisors. @KevinANichols is the Chief Operating Officer for The Oechsli Institute and Co-author of The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors.