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How to Leverage Negative Facebook Reactions for Your Business

How to Leverage Negative Facebook Reactions for Your Business

Not everything you put on the Internet will be gold.  In fact, market research sometimes involves throwing something to the wall and seeing what sticks.  In today’s world, this can mean putting up a blog, photo, meme, thought-piece, or product idea up on Facebook and see how your fans “react.”  What happens when you get a negative reaction on Facebook? How will this affect your algorithm status, or more importantly, your brand?  

We’ve got good news for you: Negative Facebook reactions do not have to be a source of defeat for your idea, brand, or even marketing.  If viewed through the correct lense, and leveraged correctly, a negative Facebook reaction can actually be a very good thing for your brand.  Here’s why:

History of Facebook Reactions

In 2009, Facebook introduced the “Like,” a way for readers to express approval or agreement with something on Facebook.  After some feedback from Facebook users, and multiple rounds of revisions and creativity, Facebook came out with Reactions. Reactions give the users the opportunity to like, love, laugh, be wowed, be sad, or angry at what they see and read.  Since the inception of Reactions just one year ago, they have been used over 300 billion times.

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Reactions have given users the opportunity to express their opinions more accurately, and some may suggest, even more readily.  Perhaps because the nature of the news feed is all about scrolling, most people seem to prefer to react instead of comment.  When one’s choice was either a“like” or nothing at all, then brands didn’t experience as much negativity on their posts.  With the introduction of Reactions, brands started seeing more and more negative responses to their posts.  

Reactions and the Algorithm

We know that a Facebook “like”  adds value to a post and the more “likes” or comments that a Facebook post receives, the more it is favored by Facebook’s algorithm.  However, is the same true for a Facebook Reaction? Are all Reactions valued the same in regards to the algorithm?  For example, if one post gets 25 likes but then 50 “angry” reactions, will the algorithm stop favoring the post because it had negative reactions?

Quite the contrary!  Facebook actually favors any type of reaction, beyond a “like.”  Why?  Because it takes thought, time and intentionality to choose what emotion a person is feeling.  It doesn’t matter if the reaction is on the negative spectrum; Facebook sees that your fans are engaging, consequently favoring these responses in the algorithm.

Reactions and Your Brand

If negative reactions have no negative effect on the Facebook algorithm, what effect will they have on your brand?  Take a deep breath.  We know that this feels like a trick question, because no brand wants negative feedback, especially for the world to see.  On the outset, it’s true: negative feedback can do a brand harm…but only when it’s not leveraged correctly.  

Let’s take a nod from Facebook, and take a look at a negative reaction in a new way:  If someone is taking the time to show you their true emotions, that is a good thing.  Positive or negative, that is an engaged customer.  Isn’t the goal almost always to have an engaged customer?  Of course it is, and a negative reaction is still an engagement.  

Now, you have two choices: you can ignore this negative feedback and hope that the engaged customer stops engaging, or you can engage that customer further.  

Reactions and Marketing

Engaging the customer further means seeing their negative reaction as market research and valuable feedback you use in your content marketing strategy. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself when reviewing your post engagements:

  • How many negative reactions did your post receive?  If it was more than positive, this tells you that you may have missed the mark for your target market.  
  • Did anyone also leave a negative comment?  If so, what did the comment say?  Writing back to this person to ask for clarification or even to thank them for their feedback will help keep this customer engaged.  

After you review the Reactions, take these responses into account as you head back to the drawing board:

  • What part of the post caused viewers to have a negative reaction?  Depending on your answer, you may need to re-brand a product or rewrite a post with a different voice or tone.
  • Implement changes and try again.  After you’ve narrowed down these reactions, make some tweaks to your post and try again.  Remember, small changes may make a big difference.  

And when in doubt, a great way to get honest feedback from the people your brand cares about most is to be direct:

  • Ask for their most honest Reactions.  Ask and you shall receive.  By asking for their honest opinion you are telling your customer you care about what they think while simultaneously keeping them engaged.  

A negative Facebook reaction gives us a real opportunity to gain valuable feedback that will help us grow our brand and keep customers engaged.  Negative reactions give us a chance to show up as human beings on the Internet, able to converse and apologize, giving your brand a personal touch.  

So why not? We will be bold, too.  Head straight over to Facebook and give us your most honest reaction on our last 3 blog posts.  Really.  We’re asking for it.  

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Randy TaylorHow to Leverage Negative Facebook Reactions for Your Business