I hadn't even had my first cup of coffee this morning when I heard the news: Facebook had unveiled their new reactions.
Here's what I've learned after spending a bit of time using them.
Facebook Displays All Reaction Types on Post
Facebook will show you the reactions of others when you look at any post. Lynette Young's public Facebook post was my first notification of the change. This influencer received reactions immediately. I went with 'haha' to try out an innocuous reaction other than 'like' or 'love.'
Personal Interactions: It's About Empathy
Facebook doesn't want you to use the 'angry' reaction to express anger at the poster. The idea is that you should be angry on their behalf.
Let's look at the new 'angry' reaction:
- A friend posted about how Comcast (an Internet service provider in the United States) took too long to get to his home to hook up cable. With the new Facebook reaction, I was able to be 'angry' in support and understanding.
- A 'friend' posted something racist. I engaged in conversation instead of using the 'angry' reaction.
- A friend posted a link to an article with false and unfair information about a political candidate. I responded with the 'angry' emoticon to express my solidarity.
As I determined how to use the 'angry' reaction, I realized that it's most useful as an expression of solidarity and empathy. If I felt truly bothered by something, a simple angry face wouldn't do, and could make my concern look trivial.
No Facebook Reactions on Comments
You can respond to posts with a reaction, including shared posts and memories. Here's what happened when I was amused by my friend Michelle's shared memory post:
(Note: it's still winter here in Westeros Pennsylvania.)
If you reply to a comment, however, you only get the usual options. No reactions.
Facebook Reactions: The Takeaway for Brands
So now that we've seen how it's possible to interact using Facebook reactions from a personal account, what should brands know about this new Facebook feature? ChatterBlast Media's Nick D'Ascenzo provides examples of how brands can:
- Target consumers based upon their reactions
- Understand more about customers
- Update metrics to include reactions (keeping in mind a potential decrease in comments)
In other words, if you're managing social for your own brand or your clients, expect to get some more specific data about what type of content they enjoy. If you're responsible for reporting metrics to someone, prepare to be held accountable.
What do you think about the new Facebook reactions? Let us know in the comments!
Tara M. Clapper is Blog Editor at SEMrush and Senior Editor at The Geek Initiative, a website celebrating women in geek culture. Tara is a prolific content creator, having written thousands of blog posts, small business websites and other inbound marketing content through the course of her career. Tara enjoys blogging about SEO copywriting, content management, corporate culture, personal branding, networking and LinkedIn. She has over a decade of experience in digital publishing. Connect with her on Twitter @irishtara.