This month, Facebook introduced their latest tool, Facebook Reactions, as an upgrade to the ‘like’ feature, where users can choose one of five additional emoji reactions, including ‘Love,’ ‘Haha,’ ‘Wow,’ ‘Sad’ and ‘Angry’ for Facebook content. With the addition of a variety of ‘reactions,’ users now have a much quicker and easier way to provide feedback, which is likely to increase the number of people who interact with a post.
So what does the introduction of reactions mean for brands and public relations professionals? Facebook users now have more of a choice when expressing their opinions than just a simple ‘like’ of acknowledgment, turning one-way communication into two-way interaction. The way users receive a brand’s message can be unclear when only given the option to ‘like’ a post; however, the additional choices of reactions help bring more clarity on how consumers feel about the message and whether or not the brand achieved the type of reaction they were looking for. Since brands will have more data to look at and analyze in terms of how consumers are reacting to its Facebook posts, they will be able to see what types of posts resonate most with their consumers and what type of reaction they receive—positive or negative. Brands can then use this information to tailor future posts, ads and campaigns to reflect the types of posts users ‘Liked’ and ‘Loved’ as opposed to those that made users ‘Sad’ or ‘Angry.’
Brands can also take advantage of Facebook’s newly released browser extension that allows users to customize their reaction emojis using Reaction Packs with different themes, such as Donald Trump Emoji and Pokémon Emoji reactions. Brands can create customized Reaction Packs for its followers, which not only draw attention to the brand in a creative and fun way, but also helps them reach a younger audience. Since the Millennial demographic is more prone to using emojis, developing brand-themed Reaction Emojis can give a company the opportunity to reach Millennials, while enticing them to interact more with the company.
Although there are a number of ways in which Reactions can have a positive impact on companies, there are downsides. Users now have a greater ability to be vocal and are more likely to express their negative opinions, especially since clicking a ‘Sad’ or ‘Angry’ button is easier and faster than writing out a comment, particularly for those users who didn’t jump in on the conversation before. These reactions cannot be hidden or deleted like a comment either (though we don’t suggest a brand delete its followers’ comments!), so brands need to be aware and extra attentive to their Facebook posts and the responses they receive.
Companies such as Kit Kat and Snickers have already reacted positively to the new Facebook Reactions by customizing the concept to fit their own brands and sharing on Twitter. Kit Kat, for example, tweeted this graphic to demonstrate how each reaction reflects the emotions that Kit Kat fans feel in relation to their product.
Snickers used a similar tactic to promote Facebook Reactions by tweeting a photo that connects Reactions to their current marketing campaign “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry”.
Whether or not Facebook Reactions will make a significant impact on the promotional strategies of brands is tough to say this early on. But for now, overall, brands are accepting the new concept favorably and can appreciate the increase in feedback they are able to get from their customers and fans.
-Meg Chemburkar, Team Joanna Intern