Posted by on Mar 02, 2016 at 2:55pm
Unless you’ve been holidaying on a remote island without access to social media, you will have noticed that Facebook recently launched six new reaction buttons, allowing users to express their opinions more clearly than with just a click of the ‘like’ button or tap of the iconic thumbs up. Social media users are now able to respond to Facebook posts with their reaction, whether it’s ‘like’, ‘love’, ‘haha’, ‘wow’, ‘sad’, or ‘angry’.
For many fans of Facebook, this has been a long overdue development. It’s not always polite to ‘like’ a friends post when they’re sharing some bad news, but our time-short generation often doesn’t have the time to offer heartfelt words. Thankfully these new reactions will help add an element of human emotion, allowing you to choose the relevant sentiment and hopefully offer the right reaction to a friend’s announcements.
So, what do these Facebook reactions mean for the world of PR?
These new buttons can offer some interesting insights into what audiences truly think about social media content. For example, receiving a couple of ‘love’ reactions would suggest that the content is hitting the right note with it audiences. Similarly, if a story has been posted to evoke a strong emotion like anger, you would hope that people would engage in the intended way.
Now that social media users can use six different ways to express their opinion, the way in which we view our analytics reports will change as we analyse each type of reaction for every post. This may take some getting used to, but it will offer us a very clear evaluation of sentiment. Facebook has even said itself that the new feature is an “opportunity for businesses and publishers to better understand people’s responses to their content on Facebook.”
A few may question ‘why does Facebook need buttons?’ It may also pose the argument that people can already react to posts in much more detail by simply commenting their opinion, and by using the buttons we are actually encouraging less communication. Posts will also need to be monitored more closely, as too many negative emotions may result in an unwanted trend and require some damage control.
Whatever your opinion, it looks like the new faces of Facebook are here to stay, and we should embrace them rather than fear them. At 1.49 billion daily users, Facebook continues to be the most used social media site in the world. It’s an exciting time for Facebook and the PR world should take advantage of this new feature.
It will be interesting to see where the new trend of emojis will take us. Who knew that those little, yellow cartoon faces would become such a key part of modern day business strategy.