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B2B Reactions to Facebook Reactions

Last updated on February 28th, 2016 at 05:50 pm

Five new emoticons have debuted where there was only “like” before. Today the thumbs up nature of what we read on Facebook changed. Our reactions to posts can now be contextualized with a rollover menu of emoticons called Love, Ha Ha, Wow, Sad and Angry.

After years of posts demanding Facebook create a “dislike” button for bad news, after living In a world where “like” had come to mean “I read what you wrote,” Facebook has finally permitted its users to respond to negative events with negative emoticons. The impact this will have on the B2B social media landscape was immediately apparent.

We asked leaders in B2B fields to give us their quick reactions to Facebook Reactions. Here are their quotes:

More emotions means more data

“I think for brands that understand their audience on this channel, they are going to have a fuller set of reactions and a larger set of data to mine. For those brands that are still unsure of how to manage their Facebook audiences, it will be a continued dance of interaction. But ultimately I think anything that allows marketers to understand the subtleties of their audience helps them be more targeted and nimble,” says Ahava Leibtag, President of Aha Media Group.

The “angry” button

“The first thing businesses should recognize is that a lot of science went into creating those icons. Facebook relied heavily on behavioral research and experimentation to design those icons and determine which emotions made it to the final pack. This means those “reactions” will get used and this will be a big deal for business,” says Kelly Peters, CEO of the behavioural economics consulting firm BEWorks.

“The “like us on Facebook” has become a pervasive but simple business objective. Businesses will have to do more than lazily use Facebook as a one way push channel. The Angry button will change everything and companies ought to be afraid of it. The ability to be retributive and ignite “mob mentality” at the click of a button can be disastrous. And yet, what I’ve seen is that companies have very little understanding of the science of emotions and how to best address and manage issues when they arise.

One of the areas I am studying is how companies say they’re sorry, and typically, they’re doing it wrong, yet it can mean the difference between forgiveness and disaster. In the case of Maple Leaf Foods, a couple dozen people actually died, yet we learned to trust the brand again. With VW, people’s exhaust was dirtier than they thought it was, but no one died, yet VW’s name is deeply sullied. The apology was a critical component in this. These situations will become even more complex now that people will have a quick, contagious means to express anger/rage. How quickly and thoughtfully will companies respond when they confront a large number of highly visible angry faces? I think Facebook made a brilliant move here as it will nudge companies to more deeply understand and engage in the platform.

A great day for marketers

“Reactions is a very positive step forward for businesses with an active presence on Facebook,” says Jennifer Osborne, President of Search Engine People. “Gone are the days of wondering how well received a particular piece of content is merely inferring from the number of likes. Today’s expanded repertoire of “Reactions”, which include Love, Ha Ha, Wow, Sad and Angry, give businesses great insight into the types of content their followers want to see more of. In addition, the more advanced marketers will want to create more of the types of content where reactions to that content correlate well to shares and purchases. It’s a great day for marketers indeed, both B2B and B2C.”


Update Note: An earlier version of this story featured a quote that incorrectly referred to McCain Foods where Maple Leaf Foods was intended. The confusion relates to  a controversy from Michael McCain’s tenure as CEO at Maple Leaf Foods.  


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Kate Baggott
Kate Baggott
Kate Baggott is a former Managing Editor of B2BNN. Her technology and business journalism has appeared in the Technology Review, the Globe and Mail, Canada Computes, the Vancouver Sun and the Bay Street Bull. She is the author of the short story collections Love from Planet Wine Cooler and Dry Stories. Find links to recent articles by following her on LinkedIn