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Does Facebook Owe it to Nonprofits to Fix Organic Reach?

Social Sonar - Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Here’s something to consider while debating whether Facebook’s moves to limit organic reach are justified: Facebook wants big brands to pay to play, but should nonprofits and groups promoting social causes be hurt in the process? With more than 1 billion users using Facebook  through their mobile devices, Facebook has an audience that no sane marketer could ignore. It makes sense for big brands like Nike and Coke to for over some cash to reach your newsfeed, but what about nonprofits and online activists that use the network to promote their causes? Should they be throttled by Facebook’s changes, too? After all, many of these organizations are strapped for cash as it is, and losing a free tool with incredible potential to reach others can be a big blow.

The revolution may not be televised, but the past decade has shown that it’s often tweeted. Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms have become important places for people to share information, even when their own governments try to suppress information from reaching traditional media sources. Given that it’s so important to promoting social causes, does Facebook have a responsibility in sustaining a space where that kind of dialogue can continue to happen?

Here’s what Facebook could do to level the playing field for nonprofits:

Create a Verification Process for Nonprofits

Facebook could create a verification process for nonprofits and social causes that distinguishes them from big commercial endeavors and boost their organic reach. Facebook gets brownie points for promoting the kind of open, social platform it began as (and promoting social good), and nonprofits that have spent years building up an audience are able to reach them again.

Scaled Reach

If nonprofits and social causes can’t return to previous levels of reach, why not scale it? 2% reach isn’t enough to run an effective social media campaign, but 50% gives nonprofits a fighting chance to wield some influence again.

Offer a Few Promoted Posts a Month for Nonprofits

As it stands now, any post you want to promote will cost you. You can boost your reach this way, but without a big budget, you may soon find that social media is taking too big of a bite from your budget. Facebook could over a few promoted posts a month for nonprofits and pages that promote social causes.

Do you think Facebook owes it to nonprofits, activists and other groups promoting social causes to loosen the reins on its constricting news feed algorithm? Should users be able to see more from the pages they choose to like? Share your own ideas and suggestions below. In the meantime, make sure you check out these tips for working within Facebook’s current iteration of organic reach.