Surely we’ve all seen it by now: Facebook is allowing us to truly ~feel~ things with their new Reactions. Thanks to last month’s long-awaited update, now we can react to a post – on desktop and mobile – with Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry faces, in addition to the traditional Like. 

Simply hover over the Like button (or, if you’re on mobile, press and hold) and the Reaction icons will pop up. There are four faces to choose from, one heart and one thumbs up – or you can download a ‘Reaction Pack’ and customise to your heart’s desire. The number of Reactions a post receives are separated out, so you can see exactly how people are reacting (rather than pressing the Like button for a myriad of different reasons because it was the only option available).

Right now, this looks like nothing more than a fun new feature. And maybe it is just that. But these Reactions could help inform future content, as we can see – as clearly as one can on social – the emotions and intent of the user, so we’ll know what posts do and don’t work going forward. And, because you don’t have to be an admin or a fan of a certain page to see its Reaction breakdown, we could potentially use this as a research tool for competitor analysis or content planning.

So whether you think Reactions will give us valuable, additional insight into the behaviour of our audience or not, emojis are still influencing the way we interact online in a major way.

Want to read more? Here are a few articles you should read:

Facebook Reactions: What Marketers Need to Know – Social Media Examiner (this is a bit dry, but very informative and clearly demonstrates how to use Reactions for different kinds of content)

Do brands need to care about Facebook Reactions? Absolutely not – The Drum (an interesting opinion piece, if not a teeny bit whiny)

Facebook Reactions: how to make the most of six emoji – The Verge (read if you need a laugh)