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How News Orgs are ‘Reacting’ to Facebook’s Latest Feature

Facebook's New Reactions, Courtesy: Facebook
Facebook’s New Reactions, Courtesy: Facebook

WOW! –Wow Reaction. Courtesy: Facebook

So you have some new options on your Like Reaction. Courtesy: Facebook like button, and you don’t know what it means for your page. You’re at a loss, feeling Sad Reaction. Courtesy: Facebook sad and just want to go to Facebook’s company page and put the Angry Reaction. Courtesy: Facebook Angry reaction on every post until they explain in detail how this impacts your engagement score? Let me encourage you to take a step back, take a breath and maybe consider moving towards the Love Reaction. Courtesy: Facebook love reaction instead. Haha Reaction. Courtesy: Facebook Haha!

As a new Facebook feature, there are still a number of questions and a number of changes that will likely come down the line. Let’s take a quick look at what we know this means for your page today.

Facebook has long said their goal with News Feed is to provide the content that matters most to the individual user. The Facebook Algorithm is what controls that. The goal of reactions, long term, is that Facebook will begin taking these inferences from reactions to determine whether a user wants to see more of that type of content or not. So according to Facebook, “In the beginning, it won’t matter if someone likes, “wows” or “sads” a post.” At this point, all reactions are simply counted as likes.

“Over time we hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want to see,” Facebook wrote in their latest news release.

Content providers are mostly concerned with the impact the negative reactions like “angry” or “sad” could have on their post performance. Just because a story is sad, doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t good content that people need to know about. Then again, lots of news is sad – but also very important for people to know. So, how will that be considered? Again, that’s one of the questions that is not an issue right now, but we can hope Facebook will figure that out so as not to punish news organizations for doing their job.

Another concern that has been voiced is, “How will this impact my comments?” That’s a great question. When you really think about it, this initial reaction may convey enough response from the user that they don’t feel compelled to comment any further. This is why asking pointed, open-ended questions about your content is critical. Use your post content to ask the engaging questions, and let your story drive the traffic to your site where people can gather the information and form an opinion to come back and respond with.

Ultimately this feature is designed to help you gauge how your audience is reacting to specific stories. Editorial meetings may now focus on these reactions to determine how to slot stories in a rundown, where to place it in the paper layout or simply whether or not the story needs a follow up. Social Media is a tool that is giving content providers unprecedented insight into the minds and hearts of those who consume content. Use it to your advantage!

TL:DR there’s not much impact these new reactions will have on your page at the current time, so keep on keeping on with those best practices!

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Derek Drake

Client Strategy Specialist
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