7 practical steps for SMEs when Facebook turns off organic reach

We’ve all now read about Facebook’s intention to effectively ‘switch off’ organic reach for company Facebook pages. So what should SMEs without big paid-media budgets do? Here are seven practical tips.

As discussed previously, the change Facebook is making will demand that brands boost (i.e. pay to promote) their content in order to reach people in the news feed. Otherwise the post will only be visible on the brand’s own page and in some form of ‘company updates’ newsfeed… which frankly few people will visit.

We’re led to believe the change is due imminently, so how should SMEs get on the front foot and prepare? 

fb-cogs

1. Review your strategy to free-up budget
Start refining your social strategy to free up some/more media budget. If you’re creating ten pieces of content a week, but only able to promote a couple of them, cut back and redirect that time to media spend. Ask how much of the content you currently create is great work? Use this opportunity to take a step back and raise the bar for your creative.

2. Find ‘some’ budget
Ok, so that sounds ridiculously obvious, but the emphasis is on some. Don’t get caught in the same trap as many organisations who think they must put at least £500+ behind a post to get anywhere. Obviously the more you spend the more people you can reach, but a well-directed £20 can achieve plenty for an SME (see examples below).

3. Get smart with content variations
Facebook’s paid media algorithm likes content that’s recent, so posting once a week with a chunk of media spend it isn’t going to cut it. Can you get smarter about the way you create content? Can you make existing assets work harder? What about using different Facebook formats (e.g. carousel, slide-show or image posts) as variables using the same base content?

4. Match your message and the audience
Arguably Facebook’s most powerful feature is its sophisticated audience targeting. In a ‘post organic’ world how can you match your message more closely to the right people using this feature. That way you can focus on a smaller audience (so less media budget required) but absolutely maximise how relevant you are.

5. Pushing back on random requests
How often do you get a request to “just stick this up on Facebook would you?” Without organic reach these requests must now have supporting media budget… which may reduce how many of them you receive (saving you precious time).

6. More time on test and learn
You’ll need to squeeze every bit of value out of your paid media investment, so get really serious about test and learn. Are simple GIFs performing as well as videos? What happens if the first 2 seconds of your video has a text overlay? Does a big button saying ‘subscribe now’ make a difference?

7. Streamlined measurement 
Although there will still be some ‘viral reach’ (i.e. from people sharing your posts) you can simplify reporting by focusing predominantly on paid performance… with viral reach as an added bonus. And by posting less frequently you should have more time to to spend properly analysing your performance.


So while the change will clearly have an impact, it presents a good opportunity to pause and refine your approach for the better.

What’s your take on the changes? Would love to hear them below.

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