Facebook Reactions – What Are They?

You’ve been there before.  The awkward post that your don’t like, but you want to show support, or anger, or frustration.  Last week, Facebook (probably bowing to pressure for a “dislike” button) added Reaction buttons to each post.

“Not every moment you want to share is happy. Sometimes you want to share something sad or frustrating. Our community has been asking for a dislike button for years, but not because people want to tell friends they don’t like their posts. People wanted to express empathy and make it comfortable to share a wider range of emotions.”Mark Zuckerberg

These Reactions include“love”, “haha”, “wow”, “sad” or “angry”, in addition to “like”.  And they were determined after extensive testing and design.



After seeing the icons pop up on my newsfeed, it took a few minutes to figure out how to use them.  Simply hold down the like button and choose between the icons

WIRED was nice enough to put together a short video:

Is this an optional addition?

Nope.  Your followers can share their feelings to your posts RIGHT NOW, which seems a little scary.  So what does that mean for your brand?

You get a visual reaction in addition to the comments.

You should be reading the vast majority (ALL if possible) of your comments, but these icons are much more visual.  While some comments are hidden to save space on the newsfeed, the Reaction icons are featured prominently on every post.

You can track responses.

Just like with the “regular” likes, Facebook can track and report on Reactions.  This will effect the algorithm that determines how Facebook shares your post, but it’s undetermined how influential the different reactions will be.

You can better appeal to your followers’ emotions.

This is an essential factor for our nonprofit section.  We want to share outrage at inequality.  We want to make donors empathize with the plight of needy users.  And now, users can do this.  Before, it wasn’t a great fit to “like” a sad post, which meant it didn’t get as much interaction on Facebook.  But now, you can show your sad face at all the photos of dogs waiting for adoption, and increase the likelihood that the post will be distributed to more newsfeeds.

How do I plan my social media around these Reactions?


Now that social media staff have this tool, we can use it to our advantage.  We can plan posts with the goal that people will click on one of the new Reaction buttons.  Questions to help develop these posts are:

  • Like – What will people like about this topic?
  • Love – What do people love about your cause? Will people love this post, or just like it?
  • Ha ha – What makes your customers laugh out loud? What do they find entertaining?
  • Wow – Why is your business so great? What is amazing about your cause? What stories make you stop and smile?
  • Sad – What stories make people sad?
  • Angry – What get’s them angry? What injustices does your organization fight? What product flaw does your business tackle?

Then, share!  And don’t forget to measure your success, refine your method, and repeat!


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