Seen a new cat video on Facebook lately? If you have, chances are that you probably LOL’d for a moment there. Now, how about conveying that on the post? Would you just hit the like button, leave a laughing emoji, or a plain old LOL in the comments? Well, leave it up to good ol’ Facebook to give you more options to react.
Earlier this year, Facebook unveiled reactions on post. Instead of the trusted thumbs-up sign, users now have the option to express their actual reaction on each post. Well, almost. Reactions are so far available only on the posts and not on the comments. While it would be very difficult for technology to emulate each and every kind of human reaction in the very near future, Facebook has tried to incorporate at least six possible reactions to posts. Now, users can like, love, laugh, be wowed, saddened, or even angered by your post. All they have to do is hover on the ‘like’ button and click on the appropriate choice of reaction. Luckily, no dislike button for you, so relax.
So, how do these reactions affect your marketing strategy and how well are you geared up for this new change? Let’s take a quick look at how Facebook reactions have impacted marketers:
1. Clarity on audience sentiment
With reactions, it becomes significantly easier for marketers to measure the audience sentiment. Instead of having to sift through comments to understand audience sentiment, all it will take now is a click of a button. If you would like to know the social ROI of your content, reactions help you do just that.
According to a study by LiftMetrix, the amount of reactions has a direct relation to your industry. For example, news and non-profits get the most reactions. The audience has started to discover the angry and sad reactions as well. Luckily, the good thing about that is, that it’s not necessarily a bad thing for your page content. For example, take a look at this post by BBC about the Orlando shooting a few days ago.
66 people showing extreme sadness and 28 communicating anger towards a terrible tragedy. These reactions are not negative feedback for BBC content since the audience is not hiding the post, reporting it as spam or unliking the page. So, every reaction is a good reaction for now.
2. Relevance of “Likes”
Likes haven’t lost their relevance, at least not yet. They still let you know if your audience is engaging with your content. And the reactions are still bundled with the likes, so any reaction is better than no reaction. Most audience members might just be ‘liking’ your post out of sheer habit, but as reactions catch up with your audience, you can gauge their sentiment and improve your content strategy further for your audience’s benefit and that of your social ROI. For example, the Mother’s Day #ThanksBaby campaign by Pampers received more that 51,000 ‘likes’, of which more than 4,000 were ‘wow’ and ‘love’ reactions.
3. Impact on negative reviews
Although, a little too early in the day to say that, but hopefully, users would probably prefer to use the angry reaction instead of leaving a negative review on your post. That could be helpful in times of technical trouble, for example, where your customers or users cannot access your services for reasons beyond your control. A word of caution here though, we don’t know yet how these reactions will affect your organic reach in the future and if Facebook has any plans to link them at all. So do address the negative feedback as well while you can and try to bring your audience on your side.
4. Understand your competitor’s content
Since page posts are public, you have access to your competitor’s posts and the reactions of their audience to their content. Reactions will help you measure the acceptability of content better. This understanding of your competitor’s content can help you get a better understanding of what kind of content can work for your page. For this to work, you might want to look at a few competitors, not just one to get better insights though.
5. Tracking reactions to restrategize
Tweaking your content strategy can help you understand which kind of posts gets more reactions. Is your audience showing more ‘love’ or is it a good idea to test their anger at some social evil and get them behind a cause close to your organization? Make a note of these reactions over time to see if you can find some evangelists for your content. After all, your social ROI and your brand visibility depend on these Internet evangelists.
Samsung, for example, tweeted a set of ‘reaction emojis’ wearing their VR gear soon after the launch of Facebook reactions. The post not only acknowledged the new Facebook feature by Samsung, it also reinforced the same with Samsung’s young audience. The post conveyed how the customers react when using Samsung’s products, and they can now share their reactions with the brand, all in one tweet. Setting aside everything else for a moment, it tells us that someone really smart is in charge of Samsung’s digital strategy.
— Samsung België (@SamsungBelgie) February 25, 2016
While emojis have been available on most platforms, it won’t be wrong to say that social media platforms have only just begun to explore humanizing feedback from users.
Snapchat, Whatsapp, Twitter, and now Facebook’s ‘reactions’ is yet another step in adding a touch of realism in communicating with real people in the digital world. And as marketers, it will be wise for us to keep finding more ways to humanize engagement with our audiences as the Pandora’s box of emojis opens up the doors to the future.
The author is Managing Director at Mapplinks.
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