The new faces of Facebook

So Facebook is now like that little girl in second grade. You know the one who told you she was mad at you and never told you why? Still bugs me to this day.

Today, Facebook launched new Reactions to go with its Like button. In addition to “Like,” you can now “Love,” “Haha,” “Wow,” “Sad” or “Angry” an individual post. This applies both to posts from people and brands.

And while the changes have resulted from months of Facebook research to deepen user engagement, we at The Hodges Partnership can only begin to wonder what effects it will have on brands who monitor their Facebook pages for insights and customer service issues. In the past when a person was unhappy they would usually comment about what was making them unhappy. Now they can hit the “Sad” button and leave brands in the dark over the source of their unhappiness.

Some other initial thoughts:

  • Brands, which in the past were able to directly communicate with negative posters and take the conversation off Facebook, will find it much harder to “erase” those negative sentiments from the page.
  • Will Facebook change their engagement stats to account for the new emotions? Instead of looking at comments and likes will marketers now have to give an “emotion score” that combines all the positive and negative reactions?
  • Will this make brands who are hesitant to use Facebook even more concerned because little “Angry” emojis might fill their pages?
  • Will brands feel compelled to confront “Sad” and “Angry” people in a comment string and ask them why they are sad and angry?

This is a major change and as marketers did with past changes they will adjust. My sense is this one is going to take a little more time to digest.

And frankly, Facebook, that makes me a little sad and somewhat angry.

Jon Newman

In 2002 Jon cofounded The Hodges Partnership and has helped to grow it into one of the country’s largest public relations firms (based on O’Dwyer’s annual rankings). Jon has taught communications as an adjunct professor at VCU, speaks regularly at conferences and meetings and blogs and tweets about public relations and marketing issues.

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