12.10.2015 Facebook: How should brands react to ‘Reactions’?

Facebook users in Ireland and Spain are the first in the world to try out the social network’s new feature, ‘Reactions’, an alternative to the predicted ‘dislike’ button.

 Reactions will give Facebook users the choice of an extra six emojis to use to express their feelings about a post, alongside the traditional ‘like’ button. If it succeeds in these test markets the feature may then be rolled out worldwide. But what are the likely consequences for brands that rely on social media to get their message across?

 We recently blogged on the possible merits and pitfalls associated with having a negative feedback tool available on Facebook. Brands may well be breathing a sigh of relief that the rumoured ‘dislike’ button hasn’t materialised. However, the prospect of people being able to add ‘sad’ or ‘angry’ to their posts still presents an element of risk for companies choosing to promote themselves on Facebook.

 Marketing and social media teams will no longer just be concerned with the reach and interactions their posts receive, but with how much negative sentiment is expressed.

 This puts a lot of power into consumers’ hands – though it is still to be seen whether individuals will want to add ‘angry’ emojis to adverts in a way that would signal that they ‘dislike’ them.

 There is a possibility that adverts and promoted posts could begin to receive criticism across the board, with many social media users seeing them as unwelcome and intrusive. However, it should be noted that Facebook users have always been able to leave honest feedback underneath companies’ posts in the form of comments, so this isn’t a new option – it just makes it easier, as a click of a button is much easier than crafting a wordy rant.

 We’ll have to wait and see how Reactions impacts the behaviour of Facebook users in the test markets, and whether negative feedback becomes more powerful when it comes complete with clear metrics.

 It’s important to remember that there is a lot more to Reactions than just negativity; users will be able to very visibly reward companies whose content they enjoy, giving them hundreds of ‘loves’ or ‘hahas’ for a funny or inspirational campaign. This nuanced positive feedback should help companies work out what kind of content their consumers appreciate and as a result, Reactions could help make their social media marketing far more effective.

 We’d love to hear what you think. Tweet us @brightercomms #FBReactions.