It’s a familiar plight: Your friend has posted something candid and revealing on Facebook—maybe something about a sick relative or a tough situation at work. You want to offer your support, to let them know you read their post and are thinking about them—but hitting the like button on such a sobering post seems wrong somehow.
Good news: Facebook has taken a big step toward addressing this dilemma, augmenting its familiar “like” button with a range of new, modulated “reactions.” When you post something on Facebook, now, your friends have the option of expressing their feelings about your post in a number of ways—like, love, anger, sadness, “wow,” and “haha.” (Facebook has not unveiled its long-rumored “dislike” button, which is probably for the best.)
You’ve probably noticed these new reactions already—both on your personal Facebook account and perhaps on your business page. This last point raises an interesting question: How will Facebook’s new reactions change the game for commercial Facebook pages? After years of competing for Facebook likes, will your small business now need to aim for “love” or “wow” reactions? And will it somehow count against your Facebook stats if you get a lot of sad or angry emotions?
What Reactions Mean for Your Facebook Analytics
While these new reactions have already changed the Facebook user experience, they haven’t actually changed the algorithms—at least not yet. Facebook has stated that all reactions are treated equally: When a user reacts to one of your company’s posts—whether with like, love, anger, or “wow”—it means they want to see more of your posts, and the Facebook algorithms will respond accordingly.
In other words, reactions won’t adversely impact organic search results or newsfeed placement—so there’s no reason for companies to fear or prioritize different reactions. Algorithmically speaking, all reactions are good reactions; so long as you’re getting some kind of engagement, that’s what really matters.
New Insight Into Your Users
That’s not to say that reactions aren’t meaningful to marketers. While they may not change algorithms, they do provide new insights into your users—what they think of your content and even your brand.
For example, the more carefully modulated reactions can provide new opportunities for customer service. When someone responds to your post with sadness, that’s a good opening for you to reach out directly and ask how you can provide a better user experience—sort of like the companies that directly respond to complaints on Twitter. By having a more precise reading of what your users are thinking, you can better tailor your response to them.
There are also potential avenues for better targeting—ad campaigns running just to the people who give you “love” or “wow” reactions, for example—though such innovations are still in development.
The bottom line: Facebook reactions are no reason for concern—and in fact, they may be something you’ll grow to love in due time. Keep tabs on who’s responding to your Facebook content—but also how.