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Facebook Reactions Feature – how will it change your social media marketing?

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Yesterday, the Facebook Reactions Feature rolled out worldwide after a short test in Spain and Ireland. They’ve now enabled users to react more widely to posts – removing the monotony of the traditional ‘Like’ button and ensuring that users can express themselves more widely.

Users are excited – but there’s been a mixed reaction from Markers. Here, we’ve discussed how it will change social media marketing strategy and have summarised it for you below:

  1. Analysing your posts just got better

We’ve realised that the Facebook Reactions Feature is going to change the way that our analytics reports look – quite drastically. Instead of having one column to show vague likes, there’s going to be an expanded list and this should easily show the true reaction to a post. This will be tricky to report at first, with Facebook clarifying Reactions as a subset of the ‘Like’ button and not setting each of the reactions apart in their analytics yet, but it’s something worthwhile to note down.

If a post receives plenty of the ‘Sad’ emotion, then marketers know that this isn’t the right thing to show their target audience and they should look at re-adjusting their strategy and focus. These Reactions are a new way for brands to know exactly how their posts are performing.

Facebook themselves have weighed in on this conversation about the Facebook Reactions Feature itself, stating here that: “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.”

This means, in short, that the algorithm and general Reach of your posts has not changed… yet, simply your ability to see wider reactions on each post has.

  1. Crisis management has never been more important

As mentioned above, Reactions can and should have a huge impact on the way that you’re communicating with your audience and adjusting your overall social strategy. Customers are no longer stuck in a box, trapped by their desire to quickly respond to a post but finding that the ‘Like’ button is too difficult and the comment posting process too lengthy. Reactions has changed that, and users will be pleased, but brands may not.

The broad spectrum of these responses does include negative emotions, such as Sad and Angry. That means it’ll be easier for customers to respond negatively to your posts and it may certainly encourage more of that.

The point here is that the feedback will be accurate. Brands need to, on the whole, learn that social media can be a brilliant platform for pushing their own messages but it also needs to be a platform for listening. Instead of taking a negative reaction on a post as a bad thing – they should begin to use this as a spectrum for change, learning and improvement.

What this does mean, is that companies are going to have to create crisis management strategies to deal with these reactions. It’s never been more important for businesses to put the customer and their feelings at the forefront – Facebook mirrors that with reactions, and businesses need to be ready to embrace the Facebook Reaction Feature in all of it’s glory, both positive and negative.


  1. Facebook will change – but don’t let it quiet you.

This brings us on to the final point, and that’s that brands should be always watching how the platform changes. Reactions could have a huge impact on how brands choose to communicate with their audience. Instead of Facebook becoming a platform for expression and learning, it has the potential to become stifled, with brands afraid to experiment in fear of negative reactions.

This is something we wholeheartedly disagree with and we certainly won’t be advising our clients to play it safe. With social, someone has to lead and leading comes from experimenting with something new for the first time.

Remember that your audience wanted this Facebook Reactions Feature, plenty of them called for it for years and years. It would be a shame to adjust your social marketing in a negative way – creating boring posts for fear of any negative reaction. It’s about experimentation and learning at this point, as the audience and brands get used to the feature, and we’re happy to take those small steps with you.


Follow Shauna Madden:

Shauna is the Head of Content for Social Heroes. She has spent several years spearheading PR campaigns for giant companies in the North of the UK with incredible results.

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