Top 4 Things We’ve Learned From One Month Of Facebook Reactions

At Kelevra Ideas we manage the Facebook accounts of several organizations and charities at national and local levels, businesses, multilingual communities, as well as institutes of higher education and their athletic organizations. These audiences vary greatly in age and interests, so it’s been interesting to watch how Facebook reactions are used by such a wide swath of people. These are the Top 4 things we learned from one month of Facebook Reactions.

  1. Most people are still exclusively using Likes
    In almost all cases, we’re seeing our audiences stick with the Like reaction. Where our clients’ Likes are often in the three-four digit range, the number of Reactions is often much lower in the one-two digit range. The two exceptions seem to be the Love and Sad reactions, but for two very different reasons. Love tends to do well because it is simply a stronger version of the Like reaction, so it’s not such a new concept to people. The Sad reaction does well because sympathy tends to resonate on a grand scale – if a post makes somebody sad, they’re probably not alone in their sadness, which is why we’ll see some posts get hundreds of Sad reactions.
  2. Sometimes, you can’t apply logic to the reactions people use
    When looking at Facebook reactions, it can sometimes cause a bit of confusion when somebody has an inappropriate reaction to your post. When announcing the passing of a celebrity, for instance, we expect to see a lot of Likes, Loves, and Sad reactions – not Haha or Angry reactions, but sometimes that just happens. Whether it’s an accident, or done with cruel intentions, it really doesn’t matter. As long as these negative reactions are negligible compared to the positive or expected reactions, you should brush it off, and chalk it up to user error, or trolling.
  3. Negative reactions have toned down negative comments
    While Facebook reactions was developed with good intentions, not for insulting or bullying, it doesn’t prevent people from using it in a mean-spirited way. However, if giving a user the option to use an inappropriate reaction prevents that same user from writing a nasty comment on the post, then that’s a significant win for us community builders and managers. In our communities we’ve never seen the users who leave inappropriate reactions also bring that attitude into the comment section.
  4. Facebook Reactions is working
    Despite the dominance of Likes and the occasional troll, reactions are working as intended. The desired reaction we want out of the audience is usually the second most popular reaction behind Likes, and this will improve over time as reactions become more popular. It has brought something refreshing to Facebook, something that taps into users more than the Like button ever could on its own. It may be that expressing one’s emotions is appealing on an individual level, or that falling in line behind hundreds of other Love, Angry, or Sad reactions is appealing on a massive level, like the feeling of being in a movement. Whatever the reason, the appeal is there; Facebook reactions has grown a lot in one month, and the new reactions are slowly but surely gaining on the former champion, Likes.

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