Facebook Reactions: A social media tool for business?

Giving users the chance to better convey their feelings, Facebook's new emoticons could allow you to create better-targeted, high-impact content...

What are Facebook Reactions?

After years of users calling for a ‘dislike’ button to better convey their feelings about a post, other that just hitting ‘like’, Facebook reacted by releasing with a whole range of emotional responses.

Now your customers can react with a “Like, Love, HaHa, Wow, Sad, Angry” expression on your posts.

Facebook said: “We’ve been listening to people and know that there should be more ways to easily and quickly express how something you see in News Feed makes you feel.”

Reactions can also be used to give real-time feedback on Facebook Live videos. Read our article about Facebook Live for business here.

How do Facebook Reactions work?

If you are on desktop hover your mouse over the ‘Like’ button and select your chosen reaction, on mobile you hold it down.

Introducing Reactions from Facebook on Vimeo.

If a post on your Page has garnered a collection of reactions, you can see the breakdown of how your customers reacted to your post in your Insights.

In a Facebook Live video users can comment and react live in a stream of consciousness, similar to competitor Periscope, giving real-time feedback to the broadcaster.

In terms of how Reactions will affect what users see in their News Feed, Facebook said: “Just as we do when someone likes a post, if someone uses a Reaction, we will infer they want to see more of that type of post. In the beginning, it won’t matter if someone likes, ‘Wows’ or ‘Sads’ a post — we will initially use any Reaction similar to a Like to infer that you want to see more of that type of content. Over time we hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want to see.”

Why should I use Facebook Reactions for my business?

Reactions will help you create better-targeted content to meet your customers’ wants and needs.

Reactions allows Facebook to collect data about users’ sentiments to help you understand what your customers feel about certain topics, so you can make better decisions about what to share or promote.

Ultimately this will help advertisers to show ads to an even more highly targeted audience to solicit the emotional response that they require, which some critics say manipulates users.

Facebook says: “We see this as an opportunity for businesses and publishers to better understand how people are responding to their content on Facebook. 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. We will spend time learning from this rollout and use feedback to improve.”

If advertising is not in your budget, use reactions to measure customers’ reactions to certain posts and use that knowledge to inform your social strategy. For example…

  1. Did something you posted make your customers angry?
  2. Do people Like things more than Love them? What could you do to make them Love your posts instead?
  3. When people HaHa do you see a greater connection with your Page? E.g. commenting too?
  4. How do your competitors’ customers react to their post? Is it different to how yours react?

Facebook classes any reaction as good – even ‘angry’ – because at least this way users are engaging with posts. Wholly negative reactions can be found in your Insights where you will see if your customers have clicked Hide Post or Mark as Spam.

Don’t forget to use Reactions for your brand too. Providing a new way for your brand to interact with customers or other companies, Reactions allows you to give your brand more of a personal touch in your outreach efforts.

Any drawbacks?

Customers giving ‘angry’ reactions to your posts should be monitored. These could be previously silent but disheartened users who now have an easy way to give you bad feedback. This can be good in one way as hitting ‘angry’ is less harmful long-term to your Page than negative reviews. Try to engage with those people to see why they reacted in such a way and try and turn them into happy customers.

Holly Hathaway is the social media expert at The Internet Works, a boutique digital agency in London. For more information contact the TIW team.

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