What has changed?
You may have noticed something different if you’ve been on Facebook recently Facebook, after years of testing, have rolled out their reactions to replace the standard like button. Users can now respond with love, haha, wow, sad and angry emotions.

Facebook looked at the most commonly posted comments, and used those as a road map in creating these reactions. It adds a quick fire effect to Facebook that Twitter thrives on, and Facebook lacks.  The new reactions have mixed responses, but the newly released plugins make it all the more awesome! You can now change the picture that shows up to for example, Donald Trump and Pokemon, see here.

We will all admit that we’ve had those confusing moments when someone posts a tragic story or picture, and you want to express your sympathy but liking it just feels wrong. The Facebook reactions have resolved this issue and on some level added a more personal touch for Facebook users.

What it means for marketers

Within Facebook Insights (analytics) it counts likes, comments and reactions as engagement with each post, and this means that the reactions aren’t going to make your reports any more complex than they already are. Although engagement is the goal in social marketing, Facebook’s algorithm does not differentiate the different reactions yet. If someone responds with an angry reaction, this will start count as positive engagement in Facebook insights; so although your engagement could be increasing it may not be positive. To see what reactions your posts received you must scroll to the specific post and look at the analytics for that post separately.

The reactions will give a deeper insight into how your audience is engaging with your content and will help to shape what content you are putting out. Facebook’s Product Manager has said that: Over time we hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want to see.

The end result?

The new reactions allow Facebook users to have a broader range of personal expression, and is a lot easier than having to write out a comment. It makes Facebook more interesting, compassionate and personable, and as marketers it allows us to see and get to know our audience on a more personal level. As Facebook’s algorithm adjusts with the growth of reactions it will become clearer as to how these changes will affect social media marketing in the long run.