What brand managers should know about Facebook ‘Reactions’

Marketers will now have a variety of consumer reactions to consider when posting on the social media platform. Here’s how the tech company’s latest feature can affect virtual relationships.

The days of simply “liking” a Facebook post are officially over.

The social media mammoth announced a global rollout of its redesigned “like” button—Facebook Reactions—on Wednesday.

“Love,” “haha,” “wow,” “sad” and “angry” are five new Facebook buttons that users can click when responding to a post. Readers can choose from these ‘Reactions’ on top of liking, commenting or sharing Facebook posts.

Here’s how Facebook’s product manager, Sammi Krug, described Reactions’ debut in a statement:

We understand that this is a big change, and want to be thoughtful about rolling this out. For more than a year we have been conducting global research including focus groups and surveys to determine what types of reactions people would want to use most. We also looked at how people are already commenting on posts and the top stickers and emoticons as signals for the types of reactions people are already using to determine which reactions to offer.

Krug says that the user feedback thus far has been positive.

On the marketing side, Socialbakers’ communications manager Ryan Hatoum says Reactions will give brand managers more insight into their audiences.

“[Brands] are going to have a lot more data to play around with when it comes to understanding how their content is performing, and how their audiences are receiving it,” he says. “[When you] add in the fact that using Reactions is simpler and easier for people than typing out a comment, it’s likely that brands will be getting more engagement than they would without the feature.” RELATED: Escalate your social media game at Ragan’s Disney best practices summit.

Hatoum says Facebook giving consumers access to an ‘angry’ button may head off a crisis.

“Reactions could help with foresight on social [media], including getting a heads up on things like social marketing crises,” he says. “A ton of ‘angry’ Reactions would reflect that a brand released a controversial piece of content. It’ll also be interesting to see how the ‘like’ Reaction is used versus the ‘love’ one.”

As Facebook users increase use of the tool, PR pros will have a better understanding of how to digest the information. “It’s way too early to tell right now how consumers will use it,” Hatoum says. “That context will be necessary to understanding how to read the data.”

How do you see Facebook Reactions impacting your brand’s social media presence?

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