Forget Likes, you need Reactions

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When Facebook added Reactions as ways to show how you feel about a post on the network they told us that it would have the same value as a Like in their algorithm. In other words, it didn’t matter if someone Liked, Loved, Wow-ed, LOL-ed, Sad-ed or Angry-ed a post, they all had the same value. Here’s what they actually said:

In the beginning, it won’t matter if someone likes, “wows” or “sads” a post — we will initially use any Reaction similar to a Like to infer that you want to see more of that type of content.

The key bit there? “In the beginning…”

Now, around a year on, Facebook is finally giving Reactions more weight than a Like in their algorithm. They will all hold the same value, but definitely more than a Like.

Over the past year we’ve found that if people leave a Reaction on a post, it is an even stronger signal that they’d want to see that type of post than if they left a Like on the post. So we are updating News Feed to weigh reactions a little more than Likes when taking into account how relevant the story is to each person.

This applies to posts from people and Pages – which means if you’re using Facebook to market your business then you need to start getting Reactions on your posts, not just Likes, if you’re going to maximise your reach. Oh, and the use of Reactions is on the rise too, as a study by Quintly shows:

Facebook Reactions Study - Quintly

Facebook Reactions Study – Quintly

If you’re content naturally lends itself to encouraging Reactions then you’re already on your way. For example tragic news stories or amazing feats – the former will more than likely get the Sad or Angry Reaction while the latter should encourage a Wow Reaction. But if you sell bathroom accessories you’re going to have to work a bit harder to get those valuable Reactions.

Here’s a few ideas to encourage your following to React rather than Like and we’ll take bathroom accessories as an example.

Use your caption/image

First off, images are a powerful way to garner a reaction. They always have been and it holds true in today’s technological, socially driven world. So at the very least choosing the right image for your Facebook posts is vital. A picture of a toilet seat isn’t going to gain much reaction…but put that toilet seat in a stunning bathroom set up and you might just get a Wow instead of a Like.

You can go a step further, however, and almost subconsciously encourage the use of a Reaction by including the emoticon in the caption or image of your post without directly referring to it. Like this:

Encouraging Facebook Reactions - LOL

Image Credit: Social Media Today

For your bathroom accessories business, you could simply include the Love reaction on photos of your products or the Wow Reaction on photos of full bathroom sets. Just by being their, people who see the post are more likely to use the Reaction than a simple Like.

Ask for Reaction answers

One I’ve been seeing a lot of for some time now will work very well indeed – ask your followers to answer a question or “vote” by using a reaction. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to ask the question in the caption and offer multiple choice answers in the image. Like this – vote for Vikings with a Like or Game of Thrones with a Love:

Encourage Reactions - Questions/Votes

The You Know Nothing Jon Snow page missed a trick here by asking for a Like, but you can avoid that when pushing your bathroom accessories. Simply create an image of four similar bathroom accessories – say, toothbrush holders – and ask your followers to vote for their favourite with a Love, Wow, Angry or Sad reaction (and remember to include the emoticon for each ON the image!).

WARNING: While this is perfectly fine to do right now as every Reaction has equal weight, I get the impression from Facebook that eventually they will give more weight to certain Reactions in the future. There’s no way of knowing how or when this might happen, but it’s worth thinking about!

In Video

Reactions are just as valuable in video posts – whether live or uploaded to Facebook. So remember, if you do any form of video marketing, to encourage viewers to React now and then. It could be as simple as saying “Hey, if you like what I’m telling/showing you, hit the Heart and let me know!” at an appropriate moment.

This doesn’t have to radically change how you go about your Facebook marketing, but it’s worth taking a moment or two before you hit “Post” to think about what you might tweak to gain a Reaction and not just a Like.

Do you have any other ideas for pushing people towards a Wow or Love instead of a Like? Let me know in the comments.

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