Facebook Rolls Out Reactions: What Businesses Need to Know Right Now

Written by David Somerville - 25 Feb 2016

Yesterday (Wednesday 24 February 2015), Facebook rolled out Reactions globally to all users – instead of simply ‘liking’ a post you can now respond with Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry.

Facebook Reactions Gif

This follows months of testing and speculation among users as to what the alternative to the Like button would be. And is seems that both users and marketers have reacted in a positive way (I’ve mainly seen Like, Love and Yay, as opposed to Sad or Angry).

But what does this mean for you and your business?

According to Sammi Krug, product manager at Facebook, the impact for businesses with a Page is a positive one:

“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….

“We will spend time learning from this rollout and use feedback to improve. Overall, Pages should continue to post things that their audience finds meaningful and continue using our Page post best practices.”

I agree with Sammi in that it is a really good opportunity for businesses. However, you do need to take the Reactions to your posts with a pinch of salt. You cannot account for users on your page:

  • Clicking the wrong reaction
  • Maliciously clicking negative reactions on every post
  • Clicking for the sake of it and not thinking about what they really feel about a post you’ve made

How Reactions can impact the way your brand is perceived

It is important to ensure you check whether the sentiment of the Reactions matches what people are saying in the comments on the post.

If a user is particularly positive or negative about something that your business has posted (or even something unrelated) then they will tend to leave a comment. And it’s these comments that are crucial to gauging reaction to your activity and brand in general.

It is vital for brands to ensure that they monitor and respond quickly to all user comments as part of their customer service strategy. It is already apparent that the brands that are getting left behind are those not dealing effectively with customer responses on their social media channels.

Dr David Sewell, our head of innovation, had this to say when we asked him more about the Reactions roll-out:

“Facebook itself is interested in understanding human interaction and has been trying to decipher the sentiment hidden in complicated comments on posts.

“Facebook will no doubt be using these new Reactions to help them determine sentiment within comments and as a consequence build a better understanding of human communication.

“In the near future, this knowledge could help advertisers frame messages to match sentiment segments, as well as audience demographics.”

What should you do now?

As Sammi mentions in the second part of her statement, Facebook will be testing what happens with Reactions and you should do the same. At Fresh Egg, the one thing we talk to clients about the most is the importance of looking at what your data is showing you. Test posting a variety of content (both in terms of messaging and format) and then learn from it.

The first thing to do is head to your Facebook Insights dashboard and familiarise yourself with what changes have been made here.

What you will notice (as shown in the image below) is, if you click on each individual post, there is now a summary of which reactions you have had to that post.

Facebook reactions on dashboard


The next thing to do is to get posting! Post your content as usual, but regularly check your Insights report. If you see something getting a particularly strong reaction one way or another, then post it again and see what happens. By using the data from a number of posts over a period of time, you will be able to more clearly see whether there are any specific patterns or trends that emerge from the Reactions. You can then tailor your social media strategy accordingly.

There is a chance that Reactions could even start to contribute to the News Feed algorithm. This means your Page fans could see more (or less) of your posts, depending on the responses received and the potential increased engagement. Now there are more options for users to react to your content, you may well see your engagement levels rise. This is something that we will start to understand more over time, so don’t expect an immediate change.

The introduction of Reactions is certainly an interesting change from Facebook and I, for one, would give it a 'Like'.

For more information on how Fresh Egg can assist with your social media strategy, including the provisions of best practice training for your team, please get in touch with us .