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Can we use Facebook Reactions to deliver a better experience to our audience?

31 May 2016 | 01:09 am


As marketers we are consistently challenged to understand more about our customers, but following the recent implementation of Facebook reactions could we go one step further and begin to understand the emotional and psychological make up of our fans?

And if we could harness the power of this data, how could we use this to deliver a better experience for our audiences?


The development of Facebook Reactions

I am sure we have all wanted to dislike a post at one stage in our Facebook lifetime, there is even multiple petition pages dedicated to the introduction of a dislike button. With the ever-growing number of requests to be able to express more than just a ‘like’, Mark Zuckerberg hinted at a Q&A session in September 2015 that they were very close to having something ready for user testing that represented a ‘Dislike’ button.

And in February this year Facebook announced the launch of Reactions:

“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. That’s why today we are launching Reactions, an extension of the Like button, to give you more ways to share your reaction to a post in a quick and easy way.” – Sammi Krug, Product Manager

reactions-image-en_us (1)


So how do reactions impact on our Facebook posts?

Traditionally, likes were a key influencer on the organic reach of a post - so how do reactions impact on post reach? Does each reaction have a different effect? Let’s be honest who wants’ to see things that make us angry all the time?

Fortunately Facebook have answered all our queries in a recent blog 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.”

So for now, we don’t need to worry about how people are reacting to our posts. This gives us a perfect opportunity to begin to gauge what our audiences think of our content and start experimenting on what type of content gains a greater reaction among your specific audience.

However, we need to keep a very close eye on this. As Facebook learns and develops a greater understanding of reactions we may see that certain interactions are noticeably impacting on the performance of a post in a different way to others. In the meantime Facebook recommends you to continue using their page post best practices…


The adoption of Facebook reactions

Reactions usageA recent report from eMarketer highlighted that the uptake in the new Facebook reactions has been relatively slow, with only a 3% share of reactions made up of ‘Love’ ‘Haha’ ‘Wow’ ‘Sad’ and ‘Angry’ with the ‘like’ remaining the dominant interaction with 97% share of reactions.

However it is important to consider that Reactions have only been available globally for 3 months and the speed in which people adopt change often varies. Some Facebook users are yet to realise how to access and use reactions. Perhaps hovering over the Like button isn’t as obvious as some of the other engagement features on the page?

It will be interesting to keep an eye on how this post reaction share % develops over the next year.


So… How can we start to use reactions to deliver a better experience?


Experiment with the power of emotion

Is a post that is designed to produce mutual anger more likely to succeed in comparison to a post that generates a ‘Wow’ reaction?

A popular study from the University of Pennsylvania on ‘What makes online content viral?’ identified Anger as the most viral emotion when it comes to sharing content. (A blog post on Moz summarised the study excellently here)

But of course these reactions may have different impacts across different audiences and therefore it is essential to design and create content that inspires a variety of reactions from your audience. From this you will then be able to measure and monitor how different emotions impact post performance.

This will also allow you to keep updated of any changes to the way reactions impact on your organic reach.


Keep an eye on consistent ‘reaction-ers’

The ability to monitor who is reacting to what and how they’re reacting will also provide us with a new angle for insight. For example, someone who is consistently ‘Love’-ing your content may be worth interacting with on a personal basis and may make a great brand advocate.

At the same time it is important to keep note of increasing use of the ‘Angry’ reaction on your posts as this may act as a signal of customer feedback.

As Facebook have alluded to, this is only the beginning for Reactions and as they develop and mature we may be able to extract deeper insight into our audience such as psychological and emotional profiling. We will certainly be keeping a close eye on the development of reactions and would love to hear your thoughts on how they have helped shape your Facebook delivery?


Lewis Jones – Digital Manager

Follow me on Twitter: @_JonesLewis

Connect with me on LinkedIn

CrowdControlHQ is the UK’s leading social media risk management and compliance platform built for Enterprise. Try our platform and see for yourself how effectively you can track and harness the power of Facebook Reaction across your accounts.


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