It’s a long-running joke on Facebook that people write ‘dislike’ next to posts in the absence of a button that does the job for them. While, on a serious note, the ‘like’ button proved woefully inadequate for tales of personal tragedy that require a show of support. Facebook has listened and learnt, and now it brings us Facebook reactions, an emoji-style option for when a ‘thumbs up’ just won’t do.

So what are Facebook reactions?

They’re essentially an extension of the existing ‘like’ button; long pressing or hovering over ‘like’ will open six additional reactions: ‘like’ followed by ‘love’, ‘haha’, ‘yay’, ‘wow’, ‘sad’ and ‘anger’. Each has a corresponding smiley and you can only add one reaction to each post.

Personal use of Facebook reactions

Not all news is good news; sometimes a ‘like’ just isn’t the right way to react to a post. Would you click ‘like’ to: “My granddad died today” for example? No, no you wouldn’t. With reactions though you can now convey emotions easily, be it on a friend’s post or to let a brand know what you think of its content. (Not that a brand is likely to post about the demise of a grandparent).

Business use of Facebook reactions

From a Facebook admin perspective, you’ll now see notifications that people are reacting to your posts, plus you’ll be able to see the breakdown of what reactions people used. Facebook reactions do not count as negative feedback so any reaction can be considered a good one.

The interactions you do get will be a great way to understand what the customer wants to see – lots of ‘loves’ and ‘wows’ will indicate that your content is valuable, whereas ‘angry’ or ‘sad’ will let you know if you’ve missed the mark. It provides far better data than lots of ‘likes’ or no ‘likes’ at all.

The only downside to Facebook reactions is they could mean less comments being left on business pages. If people can just tap the ‘love’ reaction, they don’t need to leave a comment saying: “Love this product!”and a comment will go a lot further in increasing your Facebook visibility. Perhaps the content itself will have to be strong enough to encourage comments and get a conversation going.

Fancy getting the right reaction to your content? Let’s start a beautiful conversation of our own.