On 2/24/16, Facebook released “Reactions,” an evolution of their network’s “Like” button.

Mark Zuckerberg described the feature in a post:

Not every moment you want to share is happy. Sometimes you want to share something sad or frustrating. Our community has been asking for a dislike button for years, but not because people want to tell friends they don’t like their posts. People wanted to express empathy and make it comfortable to share a wider range of emotions.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the right way to do this with our team. One of my goals was to make it as simple as pressing and holding the Like button.

The result is Reactions, which allow you to express love, laughter, surprise, sadness or anger.

Love is the most popular reaction so far, which feels about right to me!

Here are a few ways that nonprofits can effectively leverage Facebook Reactions:


Avoid emotionally-bland posts

Don’t be afraid to produce emotionally-wide-ranging content. “Positive” content may look like volunteer appreciation, while an emotional appeal or petition request may constitute “negative” content. Remember, an “angry” or “sad” reaction is okay if it moves people to action!

Ask your community how they feel

Even before Reactions was released, it was a good practice to avoid passive content, i.e. content that doesn’t ask a question. Don’t be afraid to include “How does this make you feel” in a text, photo or video post! Sometimes people need a little nudge.

Include calls-to-action like “If this makes you angry, tell your senator” or “If you love this, give (sponsor/volunteer/donor) a high-five the next time you see them!”

Remember, Facebook – like all social networks – should be more of a conversation, not a bullhorn or billboard.

Examine reactions and apply to future posts

Feedback on your content is now more robust than ever. Be sure to put that data to good use! If you find some content is eliciting stronger reactions that result in action, scale up that content and discard what isn’t working. Don’t be afraid to reach out to fans and followers whose reactions surprise or concern you. Reactions can be a powerful surveying tool!

Are you getting interesting reactions from your nonprofit’s Facebook posts? Are your fans and followers using the feature? Let me know in the comments below!