Whether you "Like" or dislike Facebook's recent change allowing users to react to posts with a variety of emotions, there's no denying that it's stirred up conversation in the social media and marketing space. From "who cares?" to "holy cow!" the response seen in Facebook feeds and beyond are entertaining if not insightful.
But what does the change mean for local marketing? And what other ramifications will it have long term? We polled a range of experts at Brandmuscle to learn more. Check out their reactions below and let us know how you feel in the comments at the bottom.
1. The Future of Social Analytics: Mood Optimization
"We’re moving towards the ‘Emoji-fication’ and ‘BuzzFeed-ification’ of digital media. Peace out authentic interaction! On a personal level, it creates a lot more clutter on Facebook. As a person, do I really need to know what my friends’ moods are to my update? As a Facebook page manager, it could get a little interesting with ‘mood optimization’ of content. (You’ve heard that term here first!)" - Chris McNamara, Digital
2. Finally! More Context to Engagement
"OMG!! It’s about time! Hopefully this allows for better analytics and gives realistic insight/context into how people actually feel about content. Are they really happy or does their LIKE signify something completely different? This functional update will arm SMB’s with more insight into the content they are posting and how it ACTUALLY resonates with their fan base." - Renee Summers, Digital
3. "But Why?"
"What do I think of the change?
For local marketing, I don't think this will mean much. Facebook “Reactions” just allows for more social media trolling by users." - Olivia Gruntkowski, Local Marketing and Media (and blogger)
"" - Michelle Maret, Client Service
5. You're too late, Facebook
"Expansion of immediate expression via specified emoji’s on facebook is a long overdue enhancement to the “Like” function. But I suggest it is a bit past its prime as Facebook is quickly waning in its popularity of those most frequenting social media. While it provides a more diverse set of data as it relates to social media posts by businesses, I would suggest it is like asking passengers of the Titanic what they like about the ship and its amenities." - Jerry Quandt, Client Service
6. These are great, but EWW!
"These are great and all….but where’s the dislike button? Haha. For local marketing, it means more metrics for marketers to use in terms of engaging and targeting their audience. Feedback will help local marketers tailor their social media posts based on reactions received. As a marketing professional, I think Facebook should have started with maybe three new options to test how well this tool works." - Krista Schnur, Client Service (and blogger)
7. Nothing to Dislike -- Except the API
"I don’t believe any of the additional reactions will replace Like as the most popular any time soon, especially since 'Like' is still the default, but they add more layers of feedback. It’s also an interesting strategic response to the demand for a “dislike” button which goes in a similar direction but avoids being overly negative. There’s a lot of research behind people sharing and liking because of positive emotion way more than negative, and the dislike button would only potentially breed more internet hatred. I think (not including) it was a smart move. As a digital marketing professional, I’ll be interested to see how the Facebook Development API is updated to reflect the change. You can embed like and share buttons on websites and blog posts currently. Will these new reactions be extended to these embed codes? Will social media aggregators and blog widgets include these in their metrics / sharing modules, respectively?" - Adam Reifsnyder, Digital
8. Do You 'Like' or 'Love' me?
"This update seems to be a response to the outcry from the Facebook community for the addition of a “Dislike” button. Some are comparing the update to Buzzfeed from a UX standpoint. I think this is great for a personal user of Facebook because of the variety of options, and scary for a business, as they will now need to decide what to do with their new data. Does a ‘Love’ have more value than a LIKE for example, or is it simply different? If you can “Love” a post, will we be able to “Love” a page at some point as well? Either way, this will certainly mean an update for any third party tools using the FB API, as they will need to account for tracking this new range of interactions, meaning an overhaul for any reporting system." - Jordan Hershman, Digital
9. You had ONE JOB, Facebook Reactions
"While I know they spent nearly a year creating and testing these new reactions, most people are unaware that they (intentionally) skipped over the most request reaction: 'DISLIKE.’" - Paul Elliott, Digital
10. I don't 'Like' the usability
"I like it as it opens new doors for everyone to communicate how they feel that goes beyond 'Like.' But, I hate the extra work in having to do a few more clicks on mobile to see who is feeling what (which I don’t really care about), and it adds more clutter below the content. As a UX professional, I think they skipped over what users really wanted." - Eddie Lynch, User Experience Design
11. I'm going to 'Love' the new retargeting options
"From a consumer standpoint, not that big of a deal. So I get to show emotions vs. a thumbs-up – awesome (insert sarcastic emoji). For local marketing, it means more insight into local consumers, which means big data rules again.This opens yet another door to highly-targeted remarketing campaigns. Previously, anyone who “liked” a product post was thrown into the same marketing campaign as other consumers that “liked” the post. Marketers can now segment consumers into different campaigns based on their actual reaction. Examples – a consumer that now “likes” a product post may be placed into a brand awareness campaign. A consumer that “loves” a product post may be placed into a brand advocacy campaign. And a consumer that selects “angry” might get placed into an exclusion/suppression list for a period of time." - Adam London, Digital
12. Good stuff, long time coming
"Personally I’ve been waiting for this for a really long time :-) To me, there’s always been something a little off putting about clicking a blue thumb, ‘like’ button, in response to “Rest in peace, Rufus, you were the best dog ever!” so I definitely dig the fact that we have proper responses for those types of situations. I’m also really pleased that they didn’t just opt into a ‘dislike’ button, as I feel there is enough negativity on Facebook as it is, without everyone trashing each other’s posts. Speaking as a media professional, I think this can help companies who advertise, or simply are on Facebook since they will have better insights into what types of ads or posts generate certain responses." - Nick Leheney, Local Marketing & Media
13. I'm on the fence
"We are assigning a single emotion to one of these ‘reactions,’ when in reality, each of us has so much more to say than ‘Wow.’ There is an opinion there that we are now omitting or just leaving up to interpretation. I think there is an element of laziness and it trains us to assign our initial reaction to a single image. What happened to the art of writing?! Kidding…sort of. I do think this opens the door for local businesses to market in more creative ways that are still relevant and relatable to their target customer base, but as a client service professional, I'm on the fence." - Jill Wallace, Client Service (Channel Marketing)
14. Show me a case study, *then* I'll show my client
"I'm torn. A part of me thinks 'great, another thing to consider as a consumer and marketing professional.' The other side loves this because there are many post that you really don’t want to 'Like' but you want to show support. With the additional reactions you can now track them separately. Either way, I'd want to see case studies before I start looking into this for clients." - Sanket Patel, Client Service
"The addition of Facebook reactions is a win. It’s going to give local marketers a better understanding of our audience and what emotions different content stimulates.
via GIPHY" - Olivia Young, PR/Marketing
16. A negative icon beats a negative comment
"Nice facelift for Facebook. They haven’t changed this feature in a while so it is nice to see a new look and feel. Icons are quick and easy to digest. As a client service professional my first thought is more interactions to track for reporting and analytics! For local businesses a negative icon is better than a negative comment. Could be positive for customer service and support." - Kara Allocco, Client Service
17. The mobile UI might confuse users
"I think this change is Facebook’s “reaction” to the expanding popularity of emojis. My initial reaction was to open Facebook on my desktop and test out the functionality. Then I picked up my phone and opened my Facebook app. I assumed that users would need to hold down the like button to allow for the reactions to pop up, but it didn’t work for me the first time, so I closed out my app, opened the app store to make sure that the app had been updated, and tried again with success." - Ali Miller, User Experience Design
18. Was this even necessary?
"Honestly, I hate the 'reactions' update as a Facebook user. It makes the page look crowded and messy. And, what happens when they add more “reactions” is everyone just going to communicate through 'reactions'? Having this feature takes away from writing a comment and expressing yourself in words ... what’s going to happen if you have 60 'Angry Reactions' on a post? It opens the door for all the negative feedback people may have. There is a reason why every social media site only has 'like' or 'favorite' and not 'dislike.' Why would you want to make someone’s negative opinion so public for anyone to see and add to." - Ellen Snyder, Local Marketing and Media
20. I need more emoticons!
"I think we would have been better off with a 'dislike' button. I'm left feeling like we need more emoticons now! Local marketers will need to be prepared for reactions without comment as to the nature of their feeling about the post. With the new 'reactions,' a negative response is sort of like a one star rating on Yelp with no explanation." - Jen Oloo, Client Service
21. Smileys > Words
"It adds a deeper level for friends, family, customers, etc. to engage with your posts and ultimately the brand. The 'Like' was helpful to a degree, but now there is the ability to categorize the type of response viewers have with a post. The emoticons even open up the ability to respond in an emotional way without posting a narrative style comment." - James Morse, Technical Operations
22. A good change for social SMBs
"This could be a positive thing for business owners who are appropriately addressing their pages and responding to comments in a timely manner. However, it does open up an easy way for followers to criticize a local business and to allow people to easily jump on the bandwagon in one click." - Liz Vales, Client Service
23. Could engagement increase?
"I love the new reactions. It really allows consumers to be able to express true opinions about the content that is being published. The new reactions might even increase engagement – i.e., people who would hesitate posting a comment might quickly be able to use a sad/angry reaction." - Pat Steen, Local Marketing and Media