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Facebook-reactions and their impact on businesses

Monday, May 16th, 2016 by Servage

facebook-reactionsFor years now people have been constantly asking Facebook for a dislike button. And even though we’ve seen a lot of jokes online about this, it was pretty clear that Mark Zuckerberg was not going to encourage critical thinking with the simple use of a button. Basically, until recently, your only two choices to express your feeling about a post were to click the Like button, which naturally meant you liked what was happening, what your were seeing, or that you agreed with someone’s point of view; or you could comment and express your own feelings and contrary opinions. And this system worked just fine for a long period of time.

A lot of controversy was born on Facebook, and who’s to say that some people did not post certain things with the sole purpose of getting a reaction. This was actually called “user engagement”, and the more the merrier. After all, bad publicity is still publicity, and we’re pretty sure a lot of people and public figures took advantage of that.

More feelings can be shown now

Until recently, Facebook’s algorithm to determine user engagement included posts, number of likes and comments, shares and click. Facebook business pages got a full report on all of these in their page admin area, and they used all that information in planning their Social Media marketing campaigns. Currently Facebook expanded that algorithm to include six new emotions, or as they call it “reactions”.

Hovering over the Like button, users can now express their feelings related to a post in a more accurate way, and tell everyone whether they feel love, haha, yay, wow, sad or angry. The sole purpose of these new reactions is to increase user engagement, and it probably has. But what is their impact on businesses and their posts? Do they benefits from all of this, or is it simply making their fans more confused?

Although some people said they are very happy with the new changes and with the fact they can hit that “angry” button to show they don’t agree with a business’s views, the real change that impacts a business lies in the change of algorithm. In order for these “reactions” to be truly effective in providing user’s newsfeed with relevant information, there is a need for context. Unfortunately, right now it’s all about looking at a Facebook post from a different perspective.

Context matters

Let’s take an example and assume a digital marketing company posts on Facebook their new blog post about “The secrets to writing compelling subject lines for your email marketing campaign”, and maybe even suggest some really strong examples that will help a lot of people. A social media marketer will probably “like” the article because they find it interesting, an email marketing agency will feel the need to click on the “love” button because they’ve just been mentioned in the article, the competition will naturally feel “angry”, while a business owner who is trying to create an email marketing campaign on his own will feel “wow” because his answers have finally been answered so clearly.

What this actually proves is that businesses don’t really benefit from these new “reactions” without also analyzing a reaction’s contex. However, it is currently not entirely possible for Facebook’s algorithm to understand context, so those new emotions can not really be put to good use by automated or algorithmic analysis. This will likely be solved in the future, and in the meantime you can anjoy engaging more differentiated with the people and pages you connect with.

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