6 Ways to React to Facebook Reactions

6 Ways to React to Facebook Reactions

March 30, 2016 by

In case you missed it, Facebook recently implemented a major change to how people can interact on the platform. In addition to the ‘Like’ button, users can now have up to six different ‘reactions’ to a post.

But how are people responding to this big change? Here are six different options:

How To React to the Facebook Reactions

In theory, Facebook reactions allow churches to better measure what people think of our Facebook content.
  • Like: “Hey, this is pretty cool. I’ve been wanting them to do something like this.”
  • Love: “Oh, my gosh. This is amazing! I’m so glad they added these!”
  • Haha: “These little faces are hilarious. I’m going to click them all just to be funny.”
  • Wow: “Hey look, Facebook added something new. Again. I’m impressed.”
  • Sad: “It’s depressing that we’ve boiled down human emotion to six icons.”
  • Angry: “What was wrong with just the ‘Like’ button? These things are stupid.”

What It Means For Churches

Better Gauge of Audience’s Opinion

In theory, the Facebook reactions allow church social media managers to better measure what people think of our Facebook content.

  • Did the congregation ‘Love’ the sermon video or find it funny?
  • Was the photo from the mission trip more ‘Wow’ or heartwarming?
  • Do people find a verse of scripture ‘Sad’ or encouraging?

While this isn’t the most accurate measure of people’s feelings, it may still provide slightly more depth into understanding our audience.

Try identifying which specific responses you’re trying to elicit from your followers. See if you can develop content that generates the desired reaction. Use it to test what content works or doesn’t work.

More Potential Clicks

Don’t automatically associate clicks with true engagement.

Whatever your feelings on the new reactions, they certainly provide a wider range of engagement options for your page’s Facebook followers.

Part of Facebook’s reasoning behind the reactions was because ‘Like’ wasn’t always an applicable response to every post (like someone’s death). So there may be more apparent engagement on some of your church’s Facebook posts, especially the less than happy ones.

However, don’t automatically associate clicks with true engagement. One-click reactions are easy, but building an online community that inspires real action takes time and effort.

Encourage followers to comment and follow through offline for real engagement.

Time to Grow Thick Skin

As churches, we hope that people aren’t going to troll our Facebook pages by being ‘angry’ at every post.

Despite some people’s desire for it, Facebook shied away from creating an ‘Unlike’ button that would diametrically contrast the ‘Like’ button.

However, several of the reactions (especially ‘sad’ and ‘angry’) are seen as essentially negative. This is risky because people have an opportunity to respond negatively, or at least sarcastically, to posts.

As churches, we hope that people aren’t going to troll our Facebook pages by being ‘angry’ at every post. But be prepared in the event that this happens and know how to react.

Remember that we can’t control people’s emotional reactions and can ignore a few outliers. But if your content is causing lots of people to be ‘Angry,’ perhaps take a closer look into what you’re posting and why.

Two Social (Media) Experiments

While more clicks are great, it doesn’t prove the presence of a real online community.

Even just the little ‘Like’ button was a powerful tool. Facebook uses those interactions to determine what content appears in your newsfeed.

Consider these two opposite social (media) experiments:

The results were quite different:

  • In the first case, the lack of ‘Likes’ actually resulted in a cleaner and more positive newsfeed. She started commenting more on posts, which led to more genuine interactions.
  • In the second case, the seemingly impossible task of liking everything resulted in utter chaos and a hopelessly cluttered feed.

What these experiments show us is that simple one-click engagement is ultimately superficial. While more clicks are great, it doesn’t prove the presence of a real online community.

The best thing that churches can do is provide encouraging and inspirational content that stands out in an otherwise chaotic and negative world.

What Others Are Saying

As you might suspect, people online have a wide variety of takes on this major update to Facebook.

Post By:

Robert Carnes


Robert Carnes is the managing editor at the Orange Group and also serves as an assistant editor here at Church Marketing Sucks. He’s the author of The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days. Previously, he worked in communications at two United Methodist churches in Metro Atlanta.

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One Response to “6 Ways to React to Facebook Reactions”

  • Seth Hinz
    April 4, 2016

    Thanks for the mention, Robert! I’m a big fan of the switch to reactions. Humans have more depth than the previous four options: Like, Comment, Share, Ignore. I’m glad we’re able to have better glimpse into how people actually feel about the stories we’re putting out there. I know I’ve started to take notice of what posts get “loves” vs “sad faces” vs “wows” – studying the common elements of posts like these will only help shape future messages to our audiences. Thanks again!



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