What Facebook’s ‘Reactions’ Feature Will Mean for Social Media Managers

As we know, Facebook launched their new ‘Reactions’ feature a while ago as an alternative to the ‘Like’ button. It allows users to show a wider range of emotions through six different emojis, which will mean new possibilities for social media managers once they go live globally. Here’s what we expect the feature to mean for your brand’s Facebook page.

To begin with, the new feature has been launched in Ireland and Spain to be tested and tweaked, before releasing it to the rest of the world.

“For many years, people have asked us to add a “dislike” button. Not every moment is a good moment, and sometimes you just want a way to express empathy. These are important moments where you need the power to share more than ever, and a Like might not be the best way to express yourself,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook when the news went public.

The feature enables users to go love, haha, yay, wow, sad, and angry – and although that’s still a limited palet of sentiments, it certainly allows for more appropriate reactions than ‘Liking’ your friends’ sad news or upsetting world events like the fugitive crisis.

But, of course, it also includes a number of benefits for the Facebook Corporation – and for those of us who work with PR on social media.

Already, the Facebook Corporation possesses a considerable power in their ability to see what people like, and what they spend more time looking at when scrolling down their news feed. ‘Reactions’ make it possible to actually see what people feel – and that holds potential for the targeted communication business too.

Better analytics
Most importantly, the feature will make your followers’ emotions visible through Insights:

“We see this as an opportunity for businesses and publishers to better understand how people are responding to their content on Facebook. During this test, Page owners will be able to see Reactions to all of their posts on Page insights. Reactions will have the same impact on ad delivery as Likes do,” product manager Chris Tosswill stated in a press release.

In other words, ‘Reactions’ will give you a better idea of how your posts are performing in terms of how they make people feel, and thus allow you to adjust accordingly. In fact, with the only existing alternative to a Like being a comment, many people prefer not to engage in posts they don’t like – and even though ‘Reactions’ open up for negative feed back, they also open up for valuable information about your audience. This brings possibilities for truly getting beneath your followers’ skin.

Ad-wise, as is stated in the last part of the quote above, ‘Reactions’ are a subset of the like button, meaning that a ‘sad’ emoji will impact your posts and ads in the same way a ‘like’ does it. Hence, negative sentiments will still count as engagement. Since posts and ads perform better the more engagement they receive, highly unpopular content will get higher rankings in users’ feeds too. In this regard, we predict a lot of speculation from brands in terms of getting more impressions through controversial content – like these guys did a while ago.

Call to action
‘Reactions’ will also involve some changes in the way you call to action. For instance, are we supposed to ask our followers to ‘love this’ and ‘yay that’ now? Why not! Being a new feature, we need to explore and experiment with its potential for engaging followers – and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.

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