Facebook recently announced it was changing its newsfeed algorithm, reducing brands’ ability to access free brand messaging—so-called organic reach. What does this mean for brands? Chad Pollitt, VP and co-founder of Relevance.com, an online publication dedicated to helping marketing and communication executives with online visibility, offers some perspective.

1. Smart Move, Facebook

“If you can get brands on your social network and they pour a lot of resources and content into it and build these massive audiences, then you can take away their ability to reach their audience, they’re not likely going to abandon that platform because people are still there. So as a social network, you have to create a mechanism that enables them to reach their audience. And that’s through their paid channels. They’ve been able to slowly crank down the volume on brand organic visibility, forcing brands to pay for access to the audience they’ve been developing for years.”

2. The Organic Reach Wasn’t Great Anyway

“I believe it was Ogilvy who figured out earlier this year that Facebook’s organic reach was declining at half a percent a month and that it was down to 6 percent. And that measurement is for large brands with tons of followers. The measurement is even lower for brands that are smaller. Their reach is sitting right now at 2 to 2.5 percent, so it’s even worse for them.”

Chad Pollitt

3. You Can Use Paid Social More Effectively

“You have a better ability to test different things and the targeting is much better. Let’s say you have 10,000 fans on Facebook. You’re assuming those 10,000 fans meet your target demographic. Well, that’s just an assumption. When you use their paid products, you can actually sculpt that persona that you want to target with that content, which is valuable for brands. In theory, you get more bang for your buck that way, you get a better return on investment. If you’re a small, local business, with Facebook’s paid products you can geo-target, and you’re not going to need massive budgets.”

4. Don’t Forget Twitter…

“Brands are likely going to have to use Twitter’s paid products as well and they’re adding a lot of stuff to their paid product inventory. You can actually put a ‘buy button’ in your tweet. So somebody could purchase something right from Twitter from a company—and you don’t even have to be an ecommerce company, you could be a small local flower shop. By using tools like that, business owners can call people to action right there on Twitter.”

5. …And Earned Media 

“Social media is definitely a very powerful channel, but it’s not the only channel. I’m a firm believer in producing quality content that helps your target demographic, and producing it on a regular basis. Consistency is key. It’s not that you can produce 20 articles and infographics a week. You pick a number that you can manage and you consistently do it. And while you’re creating it, you think about the channels you want to promote it on—your earned, owned or paid. On the earned side, there’s a change that’s happening in PR today. A lot of Internet marketers are not only pitching the media content they produce, they’re pitching influencers in particular industries that have mass large audiences. So that whole earned bucket of content promotion is growing right now in an exponential way and it’s really in vogue for marketers. And the reason it’s getting bigger is partly due to social media eliminating some of its reach.”