Much like Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, Facebook’s organic visibility is a nostalgic element, reminiscent of happier times in which we create magic, reach, and fantasy without laying out money. Think of your newsfeed like the dress before the ball. Like the mice and birds who create Cinderella’s gown, a team of engineers in Menlo Park, California, have crafted the “perfect” newsfeed experience, which may not include posts from your business. Welcome to the “Reachpocalypse," and yes, it keeps getting worse.

I started this blog as a quick and dirty bullet point list of tips and tricks to build and maximize your business’ Facebook marketing. I quickly realized that there are SO many pieces to uncover from Edgerank and algorithm to posting strategy and content. In order for small business owners to make the most of this new found Reachpocalypse, I needed to get more into the nitty gritty, starting with the basics of organic reach.

How Many People See Organic Facebook Posts

The changes in organic reach—the number of people who see your post—fell from 16% in February 2012 to 6.51% in March 2014. Social@Ogilvy shows reach falling even further to 2% when pages hit more than 500k likes. The full report can be found here. More recent data suggests, on average, pages are hovering within the same numbers. In other words, only about 6.51% of your total followers see your post.

In addition to reach, engagement is a key player in understanding how Facebook operates. If you find yourself asking, "Why doesn't my post have any likes?", you're talking about two things. First, who sees your posts, and then second, of those people, who engages with your post.

Social Bakers shows post engagement rate for pages with less than 10k likes is 0.65%, with the engagement dropping for pages larger in size.

It’s easy to be disenfranchised by the less than stellar engagement rate your posts receive, especially for those businesses that started on Facebook prior to 2012. However, your numbers may actually be on target. Here’s how to calculate them:

For businesses with 2k likes, which isn’t uncommon for many small businesses, the organic reach drops to 130 people with an organic engagement rate of .84, meaning less than one person will organically like, comment, OR share, leaving your post with, most often, 0 interactions.

Facebook Tips to Jump Start Your Strategy:

Embrace Mix Media Strategy.

While photographs were once king, with the introduction of auto playing video in Facebook newsfeeds, Facebook users are used to a mixed media experience while scrolling. Between October 2014 and February 2015, Social Bakers found that the organic reach was 3.7% for photos, 8.7% organic reach for videos, 5.7% for text-only/status posts, and 5.2% for links.

Track Your Analytics.

The numbers above are industry averages, and you know your customers better than anyone. While it’s likely that your posts will fall within the average, tracking your analytics on both Facebook Ads and Google Analytics will help you understand which posts generate higher engagement rates. This is important to increasing your overall organic reach. Once you understand how your customer base uses Facebook, craft a posting strategy around that.

Think Big. Engage Bigger.

There is a lot of hesitation from business owners to embrace paid reach. We want to think of social media as just that, social. While still remaining social, businesses looking to reach more than 2-6% of their followers need to embrace paid reach to fully optimize the platform they’ve spent years building upon.

Click for Facebook Ad Strategy: Why You May Be Seeing Fake Clicks + Bot Traffic →


Change the way you think about paid reach. Paid reach means paying to reach the fans who have historically helped to build and support your business.

Why wouldn’t you want to reach them and find continued success building a strong relationship with your customers? The only way forward is to embrace and start using paid Facebook reach to continue the momentum of your well loved business.

Photos by Ashley Burns

Interested in building a Facebook strategy or maybe you have more questions beyond what I covered here? Shoot me an email or fill out the form below! Let's craft something special to get your social media moving in the right direction.

Gabrielle Nickas