Using Facebook’s Reaction Buttons to Expand Your Social Media Reach

reaction choices.PNG

Facebook users are now allowed to express emotions beyond ‘like’.

After months of testing in Ireland and Spain, Facebook has officially released their ‘reaction buttons’ worldwide. Besides ‘like’, you can also express love, laughter, joy, shock, sadness, and anger. It may be a few days before the iOS and Android apps catch up, but it’s live on desktop and mobile browsers.

It’s a step in the right direction. If a friend is grieving over a lost family member, you’ll want them to know you’re sad. Or if you post about a burglary in your home you’ll likely get many angry faces.

If a user felt that commenting on a post was too personal and liking it would have been odd, they didn’t interact at all. Facebook didn’t like that – they want you to be a participant, not a wallflower.

For business owners this is a game changer. Capitalizing on the reaction buttons will help boost your social media reach by allowing you to diversify your posts and boost content that doesn’t warrant ‘likes’.

In the past (yesterday), Facebook was a simple system. You posted content to your page with the intent of getting likes, shares, and comments. This system dictated that most of the posts needed a positive spin. Otherwise, people wouldn’t like them – because liking something universally negative didn’t make sense.

Take a look at Brother Wolf, an Asheville based animal shelter. Their strategy is based on tugging at your heartstrings: old dogs being abandoned, pets getting rescued, and cute pictures of dogs and their new owners.  They’ve always posted things that were both redeeming and upsetting. Now, their followers will be able to express the correct reactions:


When an orphaned pet gets adopted and Brother Wolfe shares the news, the likes skyrocket into the thousands. Whereas a story about a lowlife dropping off a malnourished beagle didn’t receive the same number of likes.

Obviously you wouldn’t ‘like’ an animal being mistreated. With the new reactions, these posts have a fair chance of gaining the same audience that positive posts have had for years.

Another example: my favorite restaurant Copper Crown had to close early one evening in January because the weather was getting lousy and the roads were unsafe to travel. My options were to comment on it or like it. Liking it would’ve seemed cruel, and commenting on it seemed like overkill. So instead, I did nothing.

Copper Crown.PNG

Facebook doesn’t want you to be silent, they want you to interact. Their goal is to get you to be constantly engaged. Scrolling the newsfeed and clicking on nothing is hurting their business.

From this point forward start thinking of Facebook posts beyond ‘likes’. What happens at your business that makes people laugh, cry, or simply say “Wow!” ? Consider posting a range of emotive content that will keep your audience constantly engaged.


Audience Analysis: How to Effectively Reach Your Target Audience

Measure Content Marketing Results and Set Measurable Goals

How To Research and Create Relevant and Engaging Content Strategies