What the new Facebook reactions mean to Brand Marketeers

When Facebook rolled out five new buttons last week, rightly called reactions – “Love,” “ha-ha,” “wow,” “sad” and “angry” it was a lot more than an icon change. It was an iconic change.

The launch of Facebook’s Reactions extends the expressive range of the Like button with five additional animated emoji: Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry. This development was in part a reaction (no pun intended) to a shift that is taking place with Facebook’s user.

Emojis or emoticons is the new language of internet users worldwide to properly express what is being shared in social media. Prior to launch of facebook reactions, the data was unorganised and having buttons for reactions is an attempt by facebook to capture the data. Facebook ‘reactions’ will give you the new insights into your audience’s emotional connections to your brand. You will have more data on their precise feelings and understand their reactions.

So, what does the new reactions mean to marketeers and brand managers?

Mihir Bijur of Emvee Restaurants and Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. who started his career as a Social Media Expert notes, “This is the smartest way to silence people who were pushing Facebook for a dislike button. They’ve gone 1 step ahead and added more reactions which I’m certain that they will use in their algorithm eventually to affect reach of the post based on the reaction. Fits perfectly into their marketing plan.”

Pic: Bollywood PR Guru Dale Bhagwagar

“The new icons on the Facebook Like buttons are tricky enough to engage more and more people in conversations. They can go a long way in subtly causing confusion and ultimately debates and arguments on social media,” feels Bollywood PR guru Dale Bhagwagar.

He notes that “the ‘Love Icon’ could mean a lot of things. The ‘Haha Face’ icon could mean a good laugh or be misconstrued for mockery. But the classic googly is the ‘Wow Face’ icon. It looks more like a ‘surprise’ and ‘shock faced’ icon than one depicting a wow feeling. Which means that it could most easily be misinterpreted.”

“The ‘Sad Face’ icon too could well be misconstrued for someone being in loneliness or depression. While the ‘Angry Face’ icon could spread ‘virtual fury’ and create dissent,” adds the public relations specialist.

“All these are classic PR tactics of boosting interactions on the voyeuristic social media platform. One might want to dismiss the little icons as inconsequential, but the fact is that little things often matter in regard to the nuances of human psychology. These small icons could go a long way in creating more anxiety,” Dale remarks.

“Moreover, if Facebook decides to use them as extra metrics to measure marketing campaigns, the data could be mind-boggling in the literal sense,” the media expert points out.

“I’m sure it’s a welcome change. As a marketer, yes, it’s fun to note how different reactions appear on news articles. You end up getting a taste of public reaction. Definitely an added tool for marketing metrics.” feels Sushrut Munje, Marketing Head of Facility & Project Management firm SILA.

For a quick and dirty way of finding out how consumers feel, Facebook has just handed brands a bonus. Add up the smilies or the scowls, see what impact you’re having and deal with it in real-time. However, it still is a challenging task as how you handle a particular reaction. As of now, Facebook is providing limited insights to page admins and treats all the reactions as likes in their algorithms. We hope that in future we not only get detailed insights but also that we can target posts to get a particular reaction.

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