Written by: Ben Nash, AAE of CWU College of Arts and Humanities
The social media giant Facebook- with over 1.59 billion users- released a feature called “Reactions” in February. In addition to the traditional “Like” button, users now are able to express different emotions with five new emojis- Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry. Although this feature is a major design change for the company since 2010, the much-requested “Dislike” button was not added.
While this feature allows the users to have a greater level of engagement by expressing various emotions, instead of only “Liking” a post, it also has a great impact on brand reputation. Since the release of “Reactions” many Public Relations and Advertising Agencies have been weighing in on whether or not the feature will benefit the brands.
On the one hand, marketers argue that having negative reactions of users visibly displayed on their posts will damage their brand’s reputation. The users were only able to “Like” or comment on the brands’ posts whereas now they are able to openly express their anger!
“Multiple Angry or Sad Reactions will reflect poorly on a brand, which may force businesses to hide posts more frequently. (We recommend hiding the post instead of deleting, in order to reference the copy, creative and data so you don’t repeat past mistakes)”- argues EVR Advertising.
On the other hand, it also enables the opportunity for businesses to implement targeted marketing by selectively directing their advertisements to the users with positive reaction.
According to Rostrum Agency, 88% of B2B companies now use Facebook to connect with their customers which means that the possibility to apply the “Reactions” feature into PR campaigns is growing. For example, if a company is implementing a campaign with comedic messaging, it can focus more on the amount of “haha” or “love” reactions and target the users who use them frequently.
“Successful advertising campaigns elicit emotion from consumers, and Facebook is giving customers a way to register their emotions instantly. And the more we understand how our customers feel, the better”- positively declares Amplify PR Agency.
The “Reactions” feature definitely gives much more power to the users in terms of expressing their feelings and engaging with the community. However, it can have ambiguous effects on the reputation of brands and their PR campaigns. Even though it is a better alternative to the “Dislike” button from Facebook’s side, the true impact of this feature on the reputation of businesses is yet to be tested.