March 4, 2016

What you need to know about Facebook’s new supercharged ‘like’ button

Last week Facebook released its new reactions to the world, which means your interaction with your newsfeed just became more meaningful. After nearly a year of testing in different markets around the world, Facebook has officially released its new supercharged ‘like‘ button. For the first time, Facebook users can interact with posts in ways besides a thumbs up. Instead of ‘liking’ a post, you have the option to express five other emotions (love, haha, wow, sad and angry).

How it works

Essentially, reactions are just an extension of the like button but it gives you five more ways to express your feelings toward a post quickly and easily.

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To add a reaction on mobile hold down on the like button or hover over the like button on a desktop to open the reaction options. From here you can slide between the reactions and choose the emotion which best suits your mood.

How it happened

In a meeting with his team, Mark Zuckerberg had finally conceded that it was time for Facebook to allow other emotions besides the ability to ‘like’, which as we all know, isn’t always appropriate. People needed a quick and easy way to express their emotions and an emoji/gesture based system seemed best. After researching all the emotions expressed on Facebook, these emotions were narrowed down to just 6. Facebook then tested dozens of iterations of each reaction, with their visual counterpart. Below you can see different stylized variations of each reaction.

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Geoff Teehan, a design director at Facebook, explained that reactions had to achieve two primary criteria: universality and expressivity. Emoji are a non-verbal medium, so there couldn’t any be uncertainty about what emotions they expressed in different cultures.

What do the new Facebook reactions mean for marketing?

Chevrolet became the first brand to incorporate the new reactions into their advertising campaigns having launched a new video within hours of the release of the Facebook reactions.

This one minute video, posted on their Facebook page, encourages their audience to love their newly released car instead of liking it.

Social media marketers have always had a pretty good idea of who you are when they are targeting you on Facebook, most importantly; who your friends are and what you like. However, with the introduction of reactions, marketers now have a wider range of emotions to base their insights and deductions on.

3 ways the new reactions could affect brands

  1. New methods to measure emotions
    Reactions offer new ways to gauge exactly how your audience reacts to your material.
  2. An improved understanding of customers
    Before reactions, Facebook users had four options when interacting with your posts; ignore, like, share or comment. Now that your customers have five new emotions they can express, it gives marketers new insight into their feelings. For example, if you see a lot of ‘haha‘ reactions, you could presume that your audience finds your content amusing. This interaction provides you data wouldn’t have previously known with the “like” button as the only option.
  3. Decreased comments
    Essentially, the purpose of reactions is to express emotions through visuals rather than posting in comments. Previously comments were an excellent way to gather information on the public reaction to your content but now you can quickly gauge how people are responding to your content though the reactions applied.

At the end of the day, marketing is about eliciting emotion from consumers and Facebook has given consumers a way to express these emotions directly to brands and for consumers, reactions have given them the opportunity to express their emotions in a more powerful and human fashion.