Facebook isn't just the most popular social media outlet for individuals, it's a valuable resource for small businesses looking to connect with an audience online. Brand reach on Facebook has helped countless small businesses attract new customers and build a personal connection. Facebook earned $7.68 billion in Q1 of 2017 alone with its advertising platform. Unfortunately, one of the keys to brand reach for small businesses is going away.
Facebook has announced a new algorithm that effectively kills its organic reach on the platform. This will likely have a disproportionate impact on small businesses, and here's why.
What is Organic Reach?
Organic reach is "the total number of unique people shown a post through unpaid distribution." In simpler terms, this occurs when brand content or ads appear on a user's Facebook newsfeed without paying for it to appear there. This has been vital in helping small businesses put a product or service in front of potential customers, widening brand appeal.
Loss of Interest
First and foremost, small businesses will struggle to capture the interest and attention of customers. The changes to the algorithm that determines what content shows up in the newsfeed of users means that Facebook is going to continue focusing in on the most relevant content, but is doing so while prioritizing on paid ads over organic ads and appearances that occur more naturally. (See final point)
With falling interest as fewer people see ads and brand content, small businesses will struggle to generate consumer engagement. Connecting personally with customers on Facebook is key for small businesses because it helps to differentiate the brand in a cluttered marketplace. Engagement also allows small businesses to personalize the experience of each user, showcasing the heart and personal side of the business that often attracts new customers.
Struggling to Overcome the Competition
One of the biggest drawbacks to the loss of organic reach is the inability of small businesses to overcome the competition. Organic reach allowed small businesses with limited financial resources to expand brand reach online without investing thousands of dollars at a time on marketing campaigns. Without organic reach, establishing contact and driving engagement with target customer bases will be difficult. Worse, it could drive some of these small businesses out of business if the competition cannot be overcome and revenue falls as a result of visibility in the marketplace.
Strain on Marketing Spend
The toughest pill to swallow in all of this for small businesses will be the financial one. For those small businesses that wish to carry on, determined to connect with followers and reach new consumers on Facebook, spending more money may become the only option. Facebook has proven the ability of its paid ads to generate interest, drive engagement, and help small businesses overcome the competition in a marketplace. Unfortunately, small businesses and startups have shallow financial pockets. Forcing these entities to dip into those limited funds leaves smaller companies to make tough choices. Should new employees be hired, or more money sunk into Facebook ads?
How to Cope
Thankfully, there are ways that small businesses can cope with the loss of effective organic reach on Facebook. Start by focusing on a more diverse marketing campaign that takes advantage of other marketing verticals. Reach out across other social media, such as Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, and improve upon personalization with effective marketing such as Pay Per Call.
Read More: How to Use Social Media to Get New Customers