Here are three steps that social media marketers can take to stay ahead of the curve
For B2B and B2C companies that utilize Facebook to try and engage their audiences, you must pay as much attention to Facebook’s algorithms as you do to individuals. Facebook’s News Feed is a moving target where your post may or may not display to people who like your page based on how much interaction it generates as well as qualitative feedback from users. Now, social media marketers have a new factor to consider: Facebook Reactions.
Five new Reactions have joined the Like button: Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. From a user perspective, this was driven by a desire for ways to quickly express alternate emotions to a post (e.g. no more “liking” someone’s post when their cat dies). Facebook could have gone for the simple binary choice of Like and Dislike, but they felt that this option would foster negativity within Facebook’s various communities. For marketers, this decision to collect a spectrum of reactions creates the potential for new engagement strategies.
Yet, there’s one big question mark: Facebook has not stated how Reactions will affect the black box that is the Facebook News Feed. Instead, it is taking a wait and see approach:
“Initially, just as we do when someone likes a post, if someone uses a Reaction, we will infer they want to see more of that type of post. In the beginning, it won’t matter if someone likes, “wows” or “sads” a post — we will initially use any Reaction similar to a Like to infer that you want to see more of that type of content. 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.”
Even with the uncertainty, here are three steps that social media marketers can take to stay ahead of the curve and avoid a case of the “angrys” when individual Reactions start to matter.
1. What is your audience telling you?
Even though the Reactions are equivalent to likes when it comes to the News Feed algorithms, they are still displayed to users with each post. On desktop and mobile, users now see the top three Reactions chosen by others and the total number of Reactions (including “likes”). This top three provides a level of detail that could make the difference between someone clicking and not clicking on a link. The Reactions will also be accessible with Page Insights so administrators can see how their content is being perceived. For now, like still dominates the conversation, but as users get acclimated to the Reactions system, expect to see more diverse answers and better data.
2. Align your content around reactions
Beyond the basic Like, Facebook page managers should target Reactions to associate their brand with, and then create the content to match. There’s a strong possibility that Facebook will show content that earns a lot of “hahas” to those who use the “haha” Reaction more frequently. Just like any other marketing channel, the Facebook audience will likely have several personas to address, so companies may need to address the heavy users of “hahas” as well as those who have “angry” issues to gain maximum visibility.
Let’s walk through a hypothetical situation of a FinTech startup focused on personal loans. One content track could be targeted at the “wows” and present the compelling savings a customer can have by choosing the company. Second, customer case studies could be used to drive “loves” by telling personal stories of what people were able to achieve in their lives, thanks to a loan from the company. And a third track could focus on the negative attributes of traditional lenders or credit card companies to drive the “angrys”. That’s three different approaches to attract three different audiences based on how they interact with other content on Facebook.
3. Encourage Reactions
In addition to the content being shared, the tone that goes along with the call to action can be critical to getting users to engage with specific Reactions, instead of the basic like. This could range from the directness of Chevrolet asking for “loves” to using coded language, such as “Fed up with high interest rates?” from the hypothetical online lender to drive “angrys”. It’s a fine line to walk, but to move people beyond the “like”, some encouragement will be needed.
Eventually, companies may be able to execute even more advanced outreach through Facebook, such as ad targeting based on past Reactions to other posts. For now though, social media marketers need to be proactive about Reactions to get the “love” later on.
The views expressed are of the author.
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