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In case you missed it, last month Meta announced the trial of their brand-new meta subscription tiered service for verified users. The goal is to offer businesses customised support tailored to their specific needs, with an increase of benefits at higher subscription levels.

Currently, the service is only available in a few countries with the trials starting in Australia & New Zealand and slowly rolling out to European countries. Meta has yet to release any updates or data about the success of these new packages leaving us to ponder how well this will work long-term, especially with the mixed reactions on social media. 

Meta’s Newsroom explained their reasoning for this decision to offer more flexible support for businesses. During initial testing, we also heard that business needs for what a subscription toolkit can deliver vary depending on a brand’s goals and activity on our apps. So with this test, we’ll expand from one subscription plan to four to support a wider range of business needs with our tools.” It’s interesting to see the reactions to this and we’re looking forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on business, but it does beg the question of how it will impact small businesses – keep reading to hear our thoughts, but first, let’s take a look at what these packages include and how much it will cost. 

What do the new Meta Subscription Tiers look like? 

Business Standard (£12.00/month)Verified Badge.Impersonation ProtectionMeta Verified Support Chat and EmailEnhanced Profile Search Optimisation
Business Plus: (£36.00/month)Verified BadgeImpersonation Protection Meta Verified Support Chat and EmailIssues resolved quicklyEnhanced Profile Share 3 business addressesShowcase 3 other profilesSearch OptimisationMeta featured account2 Links in Reels per month
Business Premium: (£96/month)Verified BadgeImpersonation Protection Meta Verified Support Chat and EmailIssues resolved quicklyRequest to call agentEnhanced Profile Share 3 business addressesShowcase 3 other profilesSearch OptimisationMeta featured accountIncreased features4 Links in Reels per monthEmployee Impersonation Protection – 2 EmployeesCustomised Message Chats
Business Max (£280.00/month)Verified BadgeImpersonation Protection Meta Verified Support Chat and EmailIssues resolved quicklyRequest to call agentActive case monitoringEnhanced Profile Share 3 business addressesShowcase 3 other profilesSearch OptimisationIncreased Meta featured accountIncreased features6 Links in Reels per monthEmployee Impersonation Protection For 5 EmployeesCustomised Message ChatsAccount Review

These are just the introductory prices; after the first 12 months, Meta plans to increase them. While the idea seems beneficial and potentially effective for businesses that can afford it, there is a concern among smaller, independent businesses and creators. Some are already shifting their focus to LinkedIn and other platforms over Meta.

What does it mean for small businesses?

There will be a natural pressure to choose the highest tier to compete with larger brands and names to avoid losing out. Although the idea seems promising, with the recovery from the cost of living crisis in the UK and the struggles small businesses are already facing, there is rightly, a valid concern about what this means for smaller businesses, creators and marketers.

Larger companies with higher budgets and resources have the potential to do extremely well with more features and tools offered, widening the gap between them and smaller businesses that are already working with tighter budgets that are constantly being stretched thin to keep up. 

Small businesses rely on the hard work they have put into building their community and customer base through organic reach and may feel pressured to make space in their already small budget to keep up – which may mean removing their budget from other areas. Something will have to give. This worry isn’t just about the cost of the tiers but also the long-term effects of marketing efforts and a dip in return on investment having to compete with accounts that provide less value but have a larger budget to truly benefit from the scheme.

Is organic reach and marketing a thing of the past?

We can’t help but feel that this service undermines the concept of organic reach and genuine connection with consumers which is what social media marketing is all about. For the most part, it’s been a level playing field where businesses could engage with their audiences and build real relationships with them and vice versa for the audience. Quality content, consistency and community building create authentic engagement, trust and customer loyalty giving smaller businesses the same opportunity as larger businesses at a lower cost. 

By prioritising higher-paying subscribers, there is the chance this could take away the organic reach offered to smaller businesses at a higher scale than we’ve seen before. The bottom line is people don’t use Meta platforms to pay-to-play. That’s why we have ads which can be easily tailored to your budget without going beyond your marketing budget and without negating the importance of giving back to your community and authentic marketing. 

Where do we go from here?

As it stands, it’s still in the early stages. We can only hope that the algorithm and features available to us now completely free, aren’t impacted as much as we fear and we will continue to get the level of support, organic reach, engagement and accessibility to Meta Platforms. 

Will we be investing in this service? No, we won’t be, and we’re not the only ones. Many large creators and businesses are saying no, as well as small. Overall it seems as though many are in agreement this is a bad move on Meta’s part and it may end up not happening at all. 

We think they need to review whether their platforms as they stand could handle the influx of businesses paying for visibility, as well as the negative impact this will have on smaller businesses who don’t have the budget to go big and the impact it will have on consumer interest in the app at all…there are already enough ads and suggested posts on our feeds. Do our followers want more? We should be able to choose what we see. 

We’ll be keeping an eye out for any more updates but in the meantime, here’s what you can do to keep building those genuine connections with your audience.

  • Create original, valuable content 
  • Build authentic relationships with your audience and nurture them
  • Provide quality service from beginning to end of the buyer journey
  • Keep showing up and advocating for yourself and your brand

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this and whether this is something you will be investing in. Let us know.