Tuning Forke

How Facebook’s New Emoticons Will Impact Business Marketing

facebook marketing

After much anticipation, Facebook has finally rolled out its range of emoticon companions to the evergreen Like button. Facebook users now have a set of 6 ‘Reactions’ to choose from when it comes to engaging with content: Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry.

According to Sammy Krug, Facebook product manager, “When people come to Facebook, they share all kinds of different things, things that make them sad, things that make them happy, thought-provoking, angry. We kept hearing from people that they didn’t have a way to express empathy.”

Facebook users will now be notified when their posts receive ‘Reactions’ similar to the way they now receive ‘likes’.

Let’s look at some of the ways this new feature will impact how businesses interact with customers from their Facebook brand or product pages.


The Indifferent Crowd Will Get Louder

Good news for brands on social media, you can now expect to receive more engagement on all your content. With the Reaction emoticons those who were indifferent to your brand and couldn’t be bothered to leave a comment are now more likely to quickly chime in to the conversation. While individually this may not be a big deal, there is a certainly more potential for customers to create a “voice of the consumer” impact regarding their brand expectations.


Brands Can Get Emotionally Aligned

Like is a rather mild feeling, and with time and extreme usage we have been trained to equate ‘Like’ with approval or endorsement. With the range of emoticons now available, a brand can now elicit a more sophisticated level of emotional approval.

For example, our favourite pub down the road shares content which is very funny on a regular basis. It works with the “good times” feeling we associate with that brand. By understanding the “emotional objective”, a clever brand can steer its content into eliciting the kind of emotional engagement they want to achieve.


White Noise is Now Colourful

In the past if you didn’t like something (say a particularly chauvinistic poster) from a brand or product page, you obviously wouldn’t ‘Like’ their content. If you were particularly incensed you might have left a scathing comment. For others viewing that same poster, they would see: 56 likes and 82 comments, of which only the top few comments would be visible. But what if they saw 33 Likes, 12 Sads and 93 Angrys? The picture is very different.

For the brand itself, a poster which gets over a 100 ‘Angrys’ in particular from women, sends a very clear message.

Even better, marketing teams that create social campaigns meant to be funny, but which receive a lot of ‘Sads’ can use this emotional feedback (of sarcasm) to improve their content or a design a content strategy that is more aligned to what their audience seeks.


My Enemies Enemies Are Now My Target Audience

Unfortunately Facebook is not yet offering reaction measurement in advertising. Which means that if you advertise, you cannot target the 523 people who are ‘Angry’ that pasta is no longer on the menu of your biggest restaurant competitor.

Obviously targeting via emoticons reactions would be a great way to find new customers. And while it cannot be done through Facebook advertising, a business can now see what its target audience loves or hates about its competitor content and potentially use that information to its advantage.


More Data = Greater Insights

If you currently advertise on Facebook, your adverts manager will probably continue to show you ‘Likes’ and ‘engagement’, as Facebook has not yet said whether it would give out information on ‘Reactions’.

But the new feature definitely gives greater shading on human reaction to content, which in turn creates a lot more data. This potential impact if measured and analysed could be huge. For example what if we find users who are frequently ‘Angry’ prefer to travel more?

What if Facebook started giving everyone an emotional ‘score’ to determine your emotional makeup based on how many hahas, likes, and sads you put out a day?


Can I help you carry that Emotional Baggage?

With the emotional reactions now on Facebook, expect to see a lot more people actively identifying how they “feel” in association with a brand.

In the words of neurologist Donald Calne, “The basic difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions”.

And this is great news for businesses trying to leverage the power of social media.


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