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How to React to Facebook Changes

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by Price
May 2, 2016

By Allison DuPont

Have you ever suffered that painful indecision on whether or not to “Like” a less-than-positive Facebook post, worrying that a positive reaction may make you appear insensitive? Those days are behind us, and bank marketers have an opportunity benefit from the changes. Recently, Facebook supplemented the iconic Like button with new reaction buttons, which now allow users to indicate exactly how a certain post makes them feel. Users can still choose to like a post, but can now also express distinct reactions, including: love, laughter, surprise, sadness or anger. Instead of an ambiguous Like, users have more options when engaging with others on the platform.

Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox, explained that the improved reaction feature is an example of Facebook’s ongoing effort to provide a more “fundamentally human” experience on users’ news feeds. More importantly, especially to marketers and page managers, the expansion of the Like button provides further insights when determining what content users want to see from the brands they follow. That’s because Facebook’s enhanced news feed algorithm now prioritizes content that users will be most likely to interact with. According to a recent blog post by Facebook software engineers, the new algorithm looks at the probability that users will want to see the story at the top of their news feed, combined with the likelihood that they will react to, comment on or share the post.

With the addition of reactions and the associated algorithm updates, you might be asking yourself: what do these changes mean for my bank’s Facebook page? Before your next post, take note of three ways the Facebook changes could affect—for better or for worse—your bank’s social media strategy:

  1. An Opportunity to Increase Visibility
    According to Facebook, your page’s reach or referral traffic should not suffer any major declines. That said, the new algorithm indicates a need for banks to have reaction-worthy content. Currently, all post reactions are being counted as a whole when determining a post’s placement on the news feed. However, while the Like option is not quite obsolete, a study by Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, found that posts triggering positive or negative reactions are more likely to be shared and increase virality than the average post. In fact, posts triggering angry reactions from readers were 34% more likely to appear on the New York Times’ “Most Shared” page. Users often share content that angers them to share their frustrations with their friends and family. While this is, and likely should remain, a practice for banks to avoid, the concept translates to the other extreme as well. Highlighting employee achievements, exciting events happening in the area or even sharing a joke or feel-good story can stand apart and warrant positive reactions that will encourage users to interact. Keep in mind that when followers can personally relate to the content you are posting, they will be more drawn to take action.
  2. An Important Insight into Your Audience
    By making these changes, Facebook has also given social media marketers an opportunity to gain greater insight to their audiences. In the past, liking a post could mean many things. With the implementation of more specific reactions, banks can now categorize how content is resonating with users and use that information to take further action. When posting in the future, take note: do posts that get more “Love” gain the most attention from your audience? Or, should you be switching to more shocking, “Wow” posts?
  3. A Risk for Page Managers Who Don’t Allow Followers to React Naturally
    While your first instinct might be to ask your followers for as many reactions as possible, doing so may hurt your page in the long run. Facebook experts advise page managers to refrain from encouraging users to take action on a post. While that strategy may spike visibility in the short term, the increased numbers will damage your metrics in the long run, ultimately causing your visibility on the news feed to decrease as a result.

Facebook’s news feed ranking system can be both an obstacle and a mystery for pages across all industries. With incredible volumes of content bombarding social media channels every minute, filtering content to enhance individual user experience is becoming a greater priority. The importance of creating and posting content that remains relevant and important to their consumers is growing. While discovering new ways to engage with your followers can be a challenge, these Facebook updates allow you, and your bank, to interact with users in new ways that will ultimately increase brand loyalty and build a more personal relationship with your clients.

Allison DuPont is a Copywriter at Pannos Marketing. Based in Bedford, NH, Pannos Marketing is a full service communications firm specializing in strategic marketing, public relations, social media, e-commerce and website solutions for financial institutions. Email: adupont@pannosmarketing.com. LinkedIn.

Online training  in Facebook from ABA.