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By Stephanie Crets

Facebook users, rejoice! You can now do more than simply "like" a Facebook post. This week, Facebook launched a set of "reactions" that you can now express by hovering over the Like button with your finger on a smarphone or tablet or your mouse on a computer. Represented via an emoji, users can now express "love," "wow," "haha," "sad" and "angry" on any Facebook post from their best friends to any page they may follow.

"Not every moment you want to share is happy," wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post. "Sometimes you want to share something sad or frustrating. Our community has been asking for a dislike button for years, but not because people want to tell friends they don't like their posts. People want to express empathy and make it comfortable to share a wider range of emotions."

This is something users have always wrestled with. Facebook is the most personal form of social media, where people share the ups and downs of daily life. Sometimes it's hard to justify "liking" your friend's Facebook post where they discuss a relative passing away or getting fired, but that was the only way you could show support. Until now. Now you can "love" your friend's cat photo, "haha" at a funny meme or be "angry" at one of the hundreds of political posts that are flooding everyone's newsfeeds these day. 

So, what does this mean for retail pages? Retailers will now be able to get real insight into how their customers are reacting to their posts from product launches to sales to even customer complaints. If someone is "angry" at something you post, you'll know right away and be able to remedy that feeling immediately. If someone "loves" a new line of winter boots, retailers will know that that product will likely be in high demand.

The way retailers analyze insights and other algorithms will have to change, as well. Now retailers will have to gage how many "angry" reactions versus "love" reactions their posts will be getting instead of just likes, comments and shares. While this sounds like it might be overwhelming, it could help retailers map out an even better marketing and social media strategy to reach more customers. Additionally, retailers could tailor posts in attempt to get more "loves," "wows" or "hahas." Sounds bizarre, but these reactions are not going away and there's no way to turn them off. In fact, even more reactions could be added in the future. 

“We understand that this is a big change, and want to be thoughtful about rolling this out,” Sammi Krug, Facebook product manager, said in an official blog post. “For more than a year we have been conducting global research including focus groups and surveys to determine what types of reactions people would want to use most. We also looked at how people are already commenting on posts and the top stickers and emoticons as signals for the types of reactions people are already using to determine which reactions to offer. We will continue learning and listening to feedback to make sure we have a set of reactions that will be useful for everyone.”

It may take some getting used to, but all in all, these reactions will help retailers truly understand their customers' wants, needs and opinions. 

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