Expressing one’s emotions doesn’t always come easy for everyone. But, expressing your emotions on Facebook® just got a little easier for the population.
In recent years, Facebook® was frequently criticized for not having an option to “show” someone’s emotional response to someone else’s post. You either “liked it” or you didn’t. You could make a comment on the post, but in an atmosphere that moves so quickly, not everyone had the time to take to express themselves on the matter. Nor, did they really want to “churn” the waters with a comment. This frequently left the reader out of the conversation and the writer wondering if the reader didn’t care, didn’t have time to respond, or just didn’t know how to respond to the posted content in question.
A more in-depth look into the challenge
Readers were left “speechless” in this realm when a friend or colleague would post about the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the inequalities in the community or the injustices in their backyard. If you didn’t have the time or wherewithal to create an “eloquent” comment, you were left without a voice, because who in their right mind felt comfortable “liking” the post. No one really “likes” when someone else is hurting, but the reader feels torn because they want to show their support in some way.
Additionally, those that come across a piece of content that made them laugh aloud, made them take a step back, or incited anger… again, you are left with limited options. Like. Comment. Skip the conversation altogether.
When you move these “conversations” to the mobile world, the time and participation take on another whole new persona. Readers are far less likely to write a thoughtful commentary to a post, or respond to that image or video in any small way then they may have been previously on their desktops or laptops. Now the engagement of that sad or controversial conversation becomes even more limiting and harder for a author or content distributor to understand the results of the limited participation data.
Facebook’s® solution to expressing your emotions
Facebook® has been diligently working behind the curtains for over a year; gathering intel from focus groups and surveys on what types of emotional reactions to posts Facebook® users would most likely want to see and use. And, their developers have been furiously working on a new system to share and expressly react to the information in consumers’ news feeds in a way that is more meaningful to everyone; the creator of the content and the reader of that content.
Welcome Facebook® Reactions®!
Reactions® was designed as an extension of your “Like” button on the post. Hover over your “like” button (or hold down the like button on mobile devices), and a number of custom emoji designs popup giving the reader a new way to participate in the conversation quickly and in a more meaningful way. Now expressing your emotions about a post, photo or video to your friends, colleagues or business fans is as simple as letting the author know your feelings with the simple click of an appropriate emoji.
Tell us more about the Reactions® emoji!
After BETA testing the options in select markets and receiving a lot of positive feedback thus far, Facebook® decided to finally released the Reactions® technology to the entire Facebook® community globally. As of this morning, users have the option to select emoji that display “Like”, “Love”, “Haha”, “Wow”, “Sad” and “Angry” when expressing their emotions about the content in their news feeds.
Six simple emoji that can say so much for the reader, and provide meaningful feedback to the author or content aggregator. Expressing your emotions shouldn’t be complicated to use OR interpret. So, with the roll-out of Reactions® comes the promise from Facebook® to continue gauging audience and membership responses and feedback to ensure the selected set of Reactions® emoji implemented are ones that will be useful to everyone.
But, the development of the new feature also spurred additional questions which Facebook® had to address before the full, global implementation that reach further than just the front-end usability for the reader. They wanted to be sure the launch of the feature was just as useful behind the scenes as it was on the front-end. Here are just a small number of the questions Facebook® had to tackle:
- What does this change in data interaction mean for analysis of the information to businesses, users, and Facebook®?
- How will this change the News Feed algorithm?
- How will businesses, who rely on the interaction and analytic feedback, determine success through the feedback?
The goal of the personal Facebook® news feed has always been to show the user a set of information, stories and activity that matter most to that specific individual. To ensure this is still being accomplished, Facebook® adjusted programming to acknowledge the use of a specific Reaction® on a post to infer the user’s likelihood to want to see more of the same kind of post in their news feed in the future. Facebook® has stated that for right now, in the beginning of this implementation, it won’t matter if someone selects “Like”, “Sad”, or “Wow”, etc. Facebook® will initially use any Reaction® similar to a “Like” to infer the user’s wish to see more of the same post subject type in the future. Over time, as they continue to gather more and more dynamic intel, Facebook® will begin to adjust the algorithm to give different Reactions® more or less weight in determining a user’s potential for wanting to see more of the same type of post in their feed.
So, how will this impact brand or business pages?
The way the information will be adopted, utilized and reported is going to be an on-going work in progress. While casual use of the Reactions® emoji is a bit more predictable on a high-level analysis, businesses and brands have a more unique engagement pattern from segment to segment. However, Facebook® sees Reactions® as an opportunity for businesses and brands to better understand how their fans and followers are responding to their content and updates. These responses will be cataloged in the Page Insights that page owners and Analysis Managers have access to. And, as of right now, Reactions® will have the same impact on any/all ad results as a “Like” would have.
Facebook® encourages page owners to continue to create engaging content that their unique audience would find most appealing, relevant and meaningful using their Page post best practices:
- Post consistently and frequently
- Target your posts geographically or demographically
- Keep post images and contextual information fresh
- Boost posts most important to your readers
- Publish exclusive discounts or promotions using ads
- Connect with readers using engaging words and photos and avoid salesy language
- Review Post performance routinely and make adjustments accordingly
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