Do Social Media Reactions Increase User Engagement?

Ever since the introduction of Facebook reactions in 2016—which feature reaction buttons like “love”, “haha”, “wow”, “sad”, and “angry”—many other brands and companies have followed suit with the same formats. 

In 2019, LinkedIn announced the launch of LinkedIn Reactions, in which users can mark posts as “funny”, “insightful” or “curious”, and take a stance on whether they “love”, “like” or “celebrate” them. In 2020, Instagram added a feature that allows users to react to DMs and stories with emojis. And now in 2022, we can leave emoji reactions on iMessage, Slack, Zoom, Snapchat, and almost every other online platform.

We even see icon reactions being used in the real world; in many mall, restaurant or airport bathrooms, visitors can find emoji feedback machines, where they can rate their experience based on restroom cleanliness.

As a part of the LiveLike audience engagement suite, we prioritize making this type of self expression a given on your platform in order to show your audience you care about their opinions, and give them a way to share their thoughts with the rest of the community. 

In this article, we’re breaking down the top four reasons why social media reactions work successfully to increase user engagement on your platform.

1. It Allows Your Users to Express Themselves

The depth and range of human emotion is far too wide and complex to narrow down to a simple “like” button. People want to be able to express themselves and share their opinions as often and with as few limitations as possible, whether they’re in the real world or interacting online. 

In other words, it isn’t enough to give something a thumbs up or down, people want to be able to cheer on posts or experiences they support and appreciate, show dismay or rage to the ones they disagree with, and question the ones they don’t understand. 

Don’t just take it from us; let the stats speak for themselves. In the first year following the launch of Facebook Reactions, users shared 300 billion Reactions, adding up to more than 800 million a day.

When users are given a broader range of emotions to react with, they are also more likely to feel comfortable engaging with content, as it takes less than a second and they know their reaction is less likely to be misconstrued. For example, previously users only had the option to use the traditional “like” button if they wanted to engage with a post, regardless of if they actually liked the content or not. 

With reactions, they are no longer limited or at risk of being misunderstood, and can engage freely in a way that may lead to richer, more intelligible discussion.

2. It Shows Your Customers You Care About Their Input

The difference between a passive user and a loyal fan is often determined by simply letting them know you value their opinion and want to know what they think.

By giving your users more options to express their thoughts or feelings on your platform, you are telling them that you care about what they think about your content, and are going to use that information to give them a better experience. When the option to react to posts isn’t there, it subconsciously lets your users know you are not a people-first platform.

Not only does this ability to express themselves give your fans more freedom, it also results in the collection of valuable user data regarding the content on your platform. While they feel heard and perhaps engage in more meaningful discussion about the different reactions given, you can start to discover what content resonates the most with your audience.


3. It Enables Conversation Between Users in the Community

With Live Chats being one of our major LiveLike solutions, we’re all about giving users the ability to communicate, and fostering productive or engaging conversation between fans. Doing so not only works to establish a sense of community and belonging for your users, but also boosts engagement rates on your platform, and gives you key insight into user opinions about your product, service, or platform experience. While live chats are a more obvious way to enable conversation, reactions are an equally strong force in getting people talking.

Take, for example, this post by Learn Basics, that makes great use of the LinkedIn Reactions format and saw over 15,000 reactions and 500+ comments:

By using reactions strategically and pairing it with a relevant poll question, this post successfully catches the attention of its viewers, engages them in sharing what is likely an opinion they feel passionately about, and entices them to start a conversation either arguing others’ message reactions or advocating for their own.

As well as being an effective way to start debates or discussions in the comment section, reactions also offer an extremely low effort option to interact with a post. Not everyone is comfortable leaving comments on social media, and not everyone has the time to craft the perfect response. Reactions are a quick, easy second option that still allow users to participate in the discussion and give their two cents, which in turn goes towards boosting your overall platform engagement.

4. It Creates Opportunities for Increased Brand Recognition

At its core, reactions were created to expand the limits of how users could express themselves online; but even still, the reaction options found on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn remain limited to around 4-5 emotion-based emojis. 

That’s why, as a part of the LiveLike suite, we’ve pushed the boundaries even further by introducing the ability to react with custom brand reactions through build-your-own-bespoke UI. You can use the suite to introduce brand-specific emojis and GIFs that fans can use to respond to chat messages, sentences in a blog, images, or even moments in a live event.

Whether you’re in sports, music, edtech, or fintech, using brand and industry-specific reactions that are personalized to your niche target audience helps to make your fans feel special and to create a sense of community, all while helping to define your brand voice. 

What’s more, launching brand-specific reactions—like the ability to react to something with an image of your company logo or a GIF of a player on your sports team—essentially works as a free way to have your own users spread the word about your brand, and build up your brand recognition.

At the end of the day, your users are looking to feel heard, share their thoughts and opinions with others, and connect with likeminded people in their community. With stock UI to use OOTB or build-your-own-bespoke UI to get added customization, the LiveLike Live Chats solution has everything you need to introduce fun, effective reaction formats for your fans to meet these needs. 

Currently, LiveLike powers three different types of live chats—Public, Private, and Influencer—that all integrate reaction capabilities to engage users. Start boosting user engagement on your platform with social media reactions with the help of the LiveLike engagement suite.

Still not sure if gamification can be applied to your business platform? Get in touch today to learn more about how gaming elements can enhance your user experience.

Written By

Megan Glover

Brand & Content Manager

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