3 Facebook Reactions Tips for Marketers

You know the feeling: You log into Facebook and spot troubling news from a friend or yet another political update that makes you cringe. You want to make a show of support, or voice your disappointment, but “like” doesn’t feel right. Nearly six months ago, Facebook made its first bid to answer this problem inherent in the “like” by rolling out a set of six emotions, freeing users to hover, then select and articulate a more specific reaction, if they so chose. Now that we’ve settled into a post-like world, how are users accommodating their new options? And what lessons can marketers take from even the early days of Facebook Reactions?

Facebook Reactions 101

Just in case you or someone new to your team still needs a primer on the context for each Facebook Reaction, see below:

How are Users Responding?

In our most recent Smart Social Report, to check usage of Reactions, Spredfast’s Research and Insights team looked at a collection of brands, teams and personalities on Facebook—and their posts since Reactions rolled out.

Their full findings can be found here, but it’s worth noting that, not surprisingly, the Like is still the preferred method for users to interact with content on Facebook. This, the team found, is primarily for two reasons:

1) It’s how users have been trained to use the platform for a while now, and changing behaviors, no matter how small, always takes time.

2) Based on the user interface, this is also the first and easiest choice to make to show support for a piece of content. Selecting the other reactions simply takes more time and effort for the user.

But just because Likes are the dominant reaction, however, doesn’t mean that users aren’t using the other Reactions in many cases.

The Facebook Reactions Outliers: Comedians

Content posted by comedians showed the highest percentage of non-Like Reactions, by a wide margin.

Not surprisingly, the HaHa Reaction was the biggest one being used to respond to comedic content, but that wasn’t the only expression used more than the other groups our team looked at. Comedians also saw the highest averages for Love and Sad (mostly used for tributes to colleagues who had passed away) compared to any other group.

This research is fascinating when taken in concert with other recently released research by Facebook IQ, which found, among other things, according to The Social Times:

  • When major events occur, respondents turn to Facebook for reactions and opinions, and to Instagram for behind-the-scenes content.
  • Respondents said both platforms “fulfill their need for fun and discovery,” but fun was defined as encountering the unexpected on Instagram, and as humor on Facebook.

If users expect humor on Facebook, then, and comedians are already seeing more “HaHa”, marketers may well expect to see increased reaction from their fans on similar content — and perhaps would be well-advised to bake such content into a strategy early on.


3 Facebook Reactions Tips for Marketers

The Smart Social Report: Volume 5 offers even more on the potential in and challenges of Facebook Reactions, including a deep dive on what kind of content drives non-like reactions for sports teams, brands, and more. But for now, here are three takeaways all marketers can keep in mind when adopting and adapting to Facebook Reactions:

  1. Know that Reactions Are Used In Some Situations, But Not In Others: Don’t always expect a wide, diverse set of reactions to all your content. Test the Reactions you receive from different types of content (funny, somber, emotional) to see how your tribe responds.

  2. Leverage the New Content Opportunities that Map to Reactions: This new functionality gives your audience a lot more freedom to respond in different ways, which opens the doors to new types of content. Experiment with new creative ways to elicit the emotions you’re hoping to get from your marketing strategy and see how the audience responds; you may be able to use Reactions to create a post-Like world for your brand.

  3. Weigh Reactions in Different Ways: Begin setting up a more sophisticated analysis plan to include Reactions, and make sure you weigh them differently than the everyday Like. All Reactions are not alike, so craft a smart measurement plan to pull a measure of sentiment, as well as engagement, from your audience.

Hungry for more smart social insights? Download our latest report, for free, now.

Jaime Netzer's picture

Jaime Netzer

Jaime Netzer is Content Marketing Strategist, leading content operations in marketing at Spredfast. A Lawrence, Kansas native, she traded seasons for breakfast tacos seven years ago and hasn't looked back since. Also a fiction writer and journalist, Jaime tweets semi-regularly.