How Facebook Reactions Can be Used to Create Content that Appeals to the Emotions

On 07.10.2016, by

Social media marketing is becoming more complex especially for marketers. Facebook is a great case in point. Not content with retooling their news feed algorithm to penalize clickbait and introducing live streaming tool, the social media giant has also provided users with a whole new set of responses to Facebook postings.
Known as “Facebook Reactions”, this tool enables users to click on emoticons that correspond to emotions “love”, “sad”, “wow”, “angry”, “haha” and the traditional “like”. There’s no “dislike” button, but clearly, users have plenty of scope to express negative reactions to what they see or read.
Facebook Reactions offers threats and opportunities to marketers. Here’s how to use it to refine your marketing strategy and neutralize the threats that it poses.


Deepen Your Analytical Capabilities

Prior to the introduction of Facebook Reactions, all marketers had to go by was whether someone had “liked” or shared a piece of content. Now, it’s theoretically possible to assess whether content had a “wow” factor or prompted users to feel saddened.
The problem is that Facebook hasn’t supplied any tools to analyze Facebook Reactions, so marketers will need to use third party services to find out whether their content has succeeded.
Crowdbabble is a good option. It allows you to divide posts by reaction type and see how responses developed over time.

Find Out Which Content Actually Engages the Emotions

When you analyze your reactions, you’ll probably be surprised to see patterns emerging. Content that you conceived as exciting might be angering people. Content that was intended to be purely informative could evoke amazement.
This information can teach you a lot about your audience. Look at content which generates a high ratio of “loves” to “likes.” Previously, there was no way of differentiating content that users enjoyed and wanted to see more of, from content that was tolerated rather than loved. Now, you can know a lot more about what makes your content shine.

Create More Focused Content Strategies

Once you know about the emotions of your audience, you can start to tailor your content creation strategy accordingly. By using Facebook Reactions intelligently, you can avoid producing content that has little appeal and instead dedicate your creativity and resources to high-value forms of content that people love.
If you see a spike in “loves” for behind-the-scenes fashion videos, this is the route to go on. If expert tutorials and Q&A videos amaze users with your knowledge and the information they contain, don’t be afraid to create more.

Don’t Take Your Audience for Granted

However, Facebook Reactions has a dark side for marketers to consider. With so many new options available, audiences have suddenly become more volatile. In the past, all they could do was express a mildly positive “like”, ignore your posts or leave your community. Now, they can be a lot more interactive and, perhaps, rebellious.
You might well find that a Facebook community you thought was docile and predictable is actually a lot more difficult to manage. Your posts could attract armies of sarcastic “wows” and angry faces. Serious posts could receive a barrage of “haha” responses.
These aren’t devastating for marketers, but they are an annoyance, and they need to be managed. With more reactions on offer, it will be harder to keep your group well-ordered.

Don’t Over Analyze Facebook Reactions

Having suggested a few ways to harness Facebook Reactions, it’s important to recognize that it’s not a scientific tool. All it can do is allow users to express a brief response to a piece of content. You can’t tell why they “loved” instead of “liked” something, or why they felt it was amusing or amazing.
Facebook Reactions is a blunt instrument that offers some intriguing insights and needs to be integrated into a broader Facebook analytics strategy if it is to be used fruitfully.

However, although Reactions is a basic form of emotional marketing, it’s a sign of things to come.


Harness the Power of Emotions

Facebook’s new tool reminds us something that is easy to forget in an age of Big Data and analytics: emotions are powerful. When it comes down to it, they are what make users purchase items and engage with companies. The more that marketers can learn from them, the better.
This is really helpful from a marketing point of view. Whenever you create a marketing campaign, you need a way of demonstrating ROI. In the past, it’s been hard to bring emotion into the equation. It was easy to predict a certain number of click-throughs and likes, but not so easy to predict whether your content strategy would kindle genuine passion among your audience.

With more precise “reactions” to analyze, your marketing plans can place emotions at the heart of every campaign.

Where is Emotional Marketing Headed?

Facebook’s new metrics are a sign that content creators need to bring their heart into play, not just their head. The same applies to changes to the platform’s algorithm that privilege family or community-based content and penalize clickbait.
This could involve striking partnerships with musicians or comedians who have an authentic, direct connection with younger customers. Or it could involve working with local community groups on social projects.
Purely branded content tends to be less emotionally powerful and won’t be sufficient. Brands will need to partner and collaborate across the board, concealing their presence if necessary and promoting themselves as allies of customers, not simply businesses.

Use Facebook Marketing to Sharpen Your Emotional Marketing Skills

Think of Facebook Reactions as a taster. It allows you to learn more about the way your audience consumes content and how they make purchasing decisions. With this knowledge, you can hone your content creation strategy.
It also provides new ways for customers to express their approval of companies and their unhappiness as well. Knowing this, you can learn how to manage the emotions of diverse communities of followers and customers.
As emotional marketing matures, companies that understand the way their customers feel will have an advantage, so start factoring Facebook Reactions into your marketing. You’ll soon be creating content that connects with your audience and feeds their interest in your products, resulting in deeper engagement and increased sales.

About the Author

Piyush is the Founder and Managing Partner at 99MediaLab, an inbound marketing agency based in Fredericksburg, VA helping small business owners with responsive website design, SEO and social media marketing.

One comment

  1. Amar kumar says:

    Hey Piyush,

    Brands have been appealing to emotion for as long as there’s been advertising. Provoking the consumer’s emotions can trigger subconscious reactions that override their more logical and pragmatic responses and help to create affinity with a brand. In social media marketing, the opportunities to create brand advocacy are more pronounced than ever before because of the ability to connect with consumers on a one-to-one level.

    If positive emotional expressions are more likely to spread across social networks then negative ones, then that’s great news for brands that are currently engaging their fans online with emotional appeals. For brands that are using their social campaigns to create a deep emotional connection with the consumers, it’s even better news. Advertisers have long had a pretty precise idea of who we are when they’re targeting on Facebook perhaps most importantly who our friends are and what we like. But Reactions offers a wider palette of emotions to put on public displayed. Eventually, thanks for sharing your informative thought with us.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

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