After years of side-stepping from Facebook relating to users calls for a dislike button, it seems it has finally reacted. Last week Facebook finally caved in to popular demand, creating ‘Reactions’– five new emotions you can subsitute ‘liking’ a post for – so that people can reflect their reactions to events and news stories on their news feed in a more meaningful way.
But is the public pleased with this new feature (given there is still no official ‘dislike’ button)? We scoured the internet to bring you the best reactions to Facebook Reactions;
Social Media Examiner
#Facebook Reactions: What Marketers Need to Know https://t.co/A0e8rc1IFE by @Kikolani pic.twitter.com/vHok5cCZwA— SocialMedia Examiner (@SMExaminer) 2 March 2016
First up, we go to the masters of social media ‘how-tos’ over at Social Media Examiner with a great post on exactly how to use Reactions, including ways marketers and page admins can best utilise it.
SME notes that you can gain a better sense of how consumers feel towards the content your competitors share, therefore offering greater insight into your own target audience and how they respond to brand content.
Social Media Today
How might @Facebook's new 'Reactions' change your approach to marketing? https://t.co/gAQVUnPvEe #socialmedia #smm pic.twitter.com/eYy3Qq0WTD— Social Media Today (@socialmedia2day) March 1, 2016
Social Media Today also seems to be glowing about the potential for Reactions. They’ve highlighted the mobile aspect particularly, suggesting that people can easily express an emotion other than ‘like’ without having to write a comment or find a suitable emoji – appealing to the lazier or time-poor user no doubt.
Opinion: Do brands need to care about Facebook Reactions? Absolutely not https://t.co/LQ1d8XnkcC pic.twitter.com/yk1dWGJu6E— The Drum (@TheDrum) March 2, 2016
The Drum has been altogether more sceptical, suggesting that Facebook Reactions won’t actually offer marketers much insight at all.
They argue that a business’s propensity to pick up likes on content in the first place has never really been a particularly robust indicator of how engaged a community is, something acknowledged by Facebook itself, so adding five extra emotions won’t change this. The Drum also decries the notion that businesses in the future will have to “depend on tallying the number of ‘crying face’ emojis as a measure of emotional response to [our] content.”
Facebook Reactions Are Here, but That Doesn’t Mean You Should Measure Them By @kevinsaysthings #MozTop10— Moz (@Moz) March 3, 2016
Moz joins The Drum in down-playing the potential benefits the new feature could hold for marketers. Moz suggest that whilst, as human beings, Facebook Reactions is a more interesting way to engage with content posted by your friends, family or publications you follow, it could be all too easy for marketers to fall into the trap of thinking it’s another way to “measure social media”, when it actually detracts from the things that really matter – measuring success metrics such as click-through rate and conversions.
Wired (Part 1)
Advertisers don’t like Facebook’s Reactions. They love them. pic.twitter.com/ZJyV8RkwCM— WIRED (@WIRED) February 26, 2016
No matter what side of the fence you’re on, advertisers seem to be relishing the opportunity to use Facebook Reactions as a way to improve targeting.
Facebook has stated, though, that users’ reactions to ads will all be treated the same: “So if you “like” an ad or “sad” an ad, the news feed algorithm will see it the same way, and so will advertisers when they’re looking at their overall engagement metrics.” But the article does also suggest that Facebook may change this in the future.
So it seems marketers and advertisers will have to wait and see what Facebook Reactions might bring to the table as time goes on.
Study: Facebook "Reactions" are a hit — once people find them https://t.co/vbJYkp3DZx pic.twitter.com/g4Z58I6Lys— Forbes (@Forbes) March 8, 2016
Moving away from a marketer’s perspective, Forbes wrote about a study conducted by research firm UserTesting in which 45% of users struggled to find where Facebook Reactions actually resided!
However, once they were found, over 80% of people gave them a usefulness rating of 4 or 5 out of 5. In a rather cynical view, Forbes also suggested that partly a reason for not introducing a ‘dislike’ button could be that Facebook doesn’t want to potentially discourage brands from using the social network – after all, it’s their ad money which pays the bills.
@davidschneider That tweet deserves to be featured!— #TweetBelfast ❂ (@TweetBelfast) 6 March 2016
British comedian David Schneider certainly addresses the elephant in the room by combining Reaction-related news with that of Facebook announcing that it will be paying taxes in the UK – just like every other company does.
Just launched Reaction Packs for Facebook - Swap out Facebook's reactions for something a little more fun! https://t.co/zZwxE1z5oi— Rodney Folz (@rodneyfolz) March 3, 2016
Developer Rodney Folz created a fun Chrome browser extension which allows you to change your Facebook Reactions to Pokemon characters or, more topically, Donald Trump!
We can expect to see more variations on this theme in the coming months, no doubt.
Jimmy Fallon’s pros and cons of the new Facebook reactions are everything https://t.co/980SEVxhqR pic.twitter.com/1gSIEqeB3A— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) March 2, 2016
Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon got in on the act with his take on Facebook Reactions, showcasing most people’s internal monologues when browsing through their own timelines.
Wired (Part 2)
Linguists are not exactly loving Facebook's new reactions https://t.co/XPMjuZbNSK pic.twitter.com/F9uosmSFyE— WIRED (@WIRED) February 29, 2016
Linguists aren’t happy about the new Facebook Reactions. As language purists, they are arguing that the reactions (sad, angry, wow, haha and love) don’t properly convey the syntax of the English language, which is “replaced by grunts that animals would make.”
So what’s your reaction to Facebook Reactions? Does it fill you with love and joy for Facebook or does it make you angry or sad? For digital marketers, it seems a more appropriate reaction right now is ‘indifferent’. We’d love to know your thoughts!
A digital strategist with a specialism in social media, Alexei has over 15 years of experience in delivering innovative digital campaigns across a range of sectors that include FMCG, retail, fashion, media and entertainment.
As Head of Social & PR at Fat Media, Alexei leads the team that is responsible for the planning and delivery of social media, content marketing, blogger and PR campaigns for a variety of B2B and B2C clients.