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Do Social Media Reactions Increase User Engagement?



28 2019

What Are Social Media Reactions?

Emotions are very persuasive and exactly gives a clear picture, how the user is feeling. 

This is, in fact, one of the most important elements of any marketing strategy – to know how a user is feeling.

So, undoubtedly emotions can be the major player, when it comes to knowing about the feelings of the user. 

Now, when we talk about knowing about the user reaction, nothing is more likely choice than social media.

And if we talk about social media, everyone is aware of the ‘EMOTICONS’. Just one emoticon and you know what the user wants to say. 

social media reactionsIn one way or the other, this way of expressing reactions has practically changed the way people are interacting on social media. 

And not just social media but showing reactions through emoticons is almost like a new sign language.

Well, this has made things interesting.

Today I am going to dive deep and analyze – 

Do Social Media Reactions Increase User Engagement?

If you ask me, I would say definitely YES! But I know, only my yes, would not be enough. SO let us go with the facts and logic for this. 

To understand what is happening in 2019, let me take you a little back in the past. The basic reactions to express feelings of LIKE and DISLIKE was there in every social media platform.

But Facebook was the first to realise that something more than just these two reactions is necessary. 

So, in 2016 Feb, it introduced some more reactions like, haha, wow, love, angry, say, etc. The main motive behind this new experiment was in expectation to increase user engagement. emotions and their meaning

This new introduction was also a step in the direction for the marketers to understand better what the users are feeling. 

Now, to support my statement stated earlier, let me put down some figures:

With the introduction of new reactions, user engagement increased from 2.4% in 2016 to 12. 8% in 2018. 

According to the research, out of 10 millennials, 4 prefer to engage with images rather than text posts. 

Of all interactions on Facebook, the use of new facebook reactions is 12.8%.

According to the experts, the new Facebook reactions show an increase in user engagement as high as up to 433%.

LinkedIn registered a record level engagement growth of 24% with on platform sessions after the introduction of new social media reactions.
Posts/tweets with emojis recorded 25.4% more engagement compared to those without reaction options. 

A post containing emojis is likely to get 57% more likes, 33% more comments and 33% more shares.

stats of using emoticons

After seeing the numbers, I guess now you might want to read the article more seriously. 

So, it would not be too much of an exaggeration, if I say that the new social media reactions are brought –

A New Era For Social media engagement

Some of you may argue that the new social media reactions do not have much difference. I mean for many of you there may not be much difference between a like or a heart (love) emoticon.

Well, everyone has its own perspective. I will not get into that argument. It may not be much of a difference to you, but for the marketers, it does make a major impact.

Just think about it, you see something on Facebook or probably come across an interesting tweet, earlier you might just hit the like button and move to the next. 

But now you may spend an extra minute to think, whether you want to hit the like button and move on or you want some extra weight than just like and decide to hit the love button before going to the next one. 

Yes, exactly this is my point. The new reactions have broadened the horizons of interaction opportunities on social media. 

You may call me lazy, but I would prefer to just hit a button and express my feelings rather than writing an entire ling line to explain what I feel. 

I hope you are getting my point. People don’t like typing so if users have an option to expression feelings by reaction buttons, interaction obviously increases. 

The social platforms are always looking for ways to improve the customer’s experience and at the same time be able to provide enough valuable information to the marketers. 

Because for the social media platforms, both marketers and users are important. 

So, an extra effort to be able to get an additional layer of information about the users is like a hit to the gold mine for the marketers. 

While earlier, the social media measurement was only limited to reach. But the waves are changing now and the new era has begun.

In this new era, it now about smart communication engagement measurement. It is more about calculating the emotions and doing a sentiment analysis of the users rather than only being satisfied with the reach. 

Now that you know that the new social media reactions, in fact, do increase user engagement and that it has begun a new era of social engagement. The question that first hovered my mind and might be nudging over your’s as well is –

Why Emojis Increase User Engagement?

Emojis Increase User Engagement
Emojis Increase User Engagement

Following the trail of Facebook, LinkedIn also introduced more reactions other than like and dislike. However, probably this platform being a platform for professionals, LinkedIn did not add the sad or angry buttons.

This could also be to avoid too much trolling over LinkedIn. Even though fewer options, Linked also saw a growth in user engagement. 

Just in case if you missed it earlier, I will repeat the figures-

  • LinkedIn registered a record level engagement growth of 24% with on platform sessions after the introduction of new social media reactions. 

Same is the case with Instagram. The use of emoticons and newly introduced social reactions registered an increase in user engagement by 48%.

The basic logic behind the growth in user engagement is because emoticons give a more humanly feeling and represent a human face. 

I am not saying this just for the sake of it to prove my point. But it has been proven scientifically also. Let me prove this too.

Emojis are equivalent to the human face

According to normal human nature, when a user sees an emoji, his brain behaves in a similar way as when they see a human face. For the brains, an emoji is as good as a real human face. 

I hope this explains the growth in user engagement. 

Don’t trust me, read what Churches – the author of Emoticons in mind: An event-related potential study: says:

“Most of us pay more attention to faces than we do to anything else. We know experimentally that people respond differently to faces than they do to other object categories.”

According to the research, when a user engages with emoticons he experiences happiness, enjoyment, personal interaction, etc. 

So, for a marketer, the social reaction is a boon to establishing a personalised relation with its users. 

There are some more reasons to back my statement of social reactions increasing user engagement. 

Easy and instant processing

Emoticons prove to bring out immediate and easy processing of thoughts and reactions. According to the study, humans brains are likely to react 60x times faster to visuals compared to texts. 

Since emoticons are nothing but visual images of human feelings and reactions, the brain processes it faster compared to written text. 

brain facts
brain facts

To wrap it up in one line, an emoticon is equal to 60k words. Now, this is something amazing and sums it all in a nutshell. 

Yes, I know you need proofs. I have it for you-

According to the neuroscientists, the minimum time taken by a human brain to process an image is as low as 13 milliseconds. The scientist quote that:

“An image can be extracted even when an image is mixed up in a sequence of six or even 12 images presented at 13 milliseconds per image — a rate of about 75 frames a second.”

Another reason for the popularity of social reactions and emoticons is it is:

Friendlier than text

I don’t think I need to repeat this but by now it must be clear that emoticons are far friendlier than text. 

Users prefer emoticons to show reactions rather than typing texts. Also, not to forget, human brains respond faster to emoticons than texts. 

Let me explain with an example. 

At the end of the month, you get monthly feedback from your senior. The report is not too good, full of negative feedback. Instantly your mood will go down reading the feedback.

But on the other hand, the feedback is equally negative but included with some angry and frustrated emoticons here and there. You will feel bad but in fact, accept the feedback happily rather than feeling depressed. 

This is the power of emoticons. Even negative reactions do not seem so negative, you accept it happily and try to improve your loopholes.

So you see, emoticons are friendlier than texts. 

Now that all the cards are turned and hopefully you believe that social reactions have begun a new era of user engagement, it is time to open the trump card.

How to use emojis to increase user engagement?

The main motive of using social reactions and emoticons is to increase user engagement and establish an emotional relationship with your users. 

The ways or places to use emoticons are endless. Even a single sentence can contain 10 emojis or the entire sentence can be said in just 1 emoji. It is totally up to you, how you use it or where you use it.

Nonetheless, here are some ways:

In Content: 

Emoticons in the first place originated at social media platforms. So using there is not a very big deal. It is time to use it in your content. Give a chance to your users to show their reactions, not just on social media, but even when they are reading your blogs

There is no side effect of it. You will only get to know more about how the readers feel about what you are giving them.

In Emails:

Yes, I know emails are supposed to be more professional and serious and you might be thinking that I am wrong. But before you decide anything read this:

According to an experiment, 56% of the businesses admitted that there was an increase in the email open rates that had an emoticon in its subject line.

most used emojis
most used emojis

This might sound odd to you, but trust me to give it try. Give place to emoticons in your emails as well. 

In Push Notifications:

I will not say anything, these figures will speak for themselves. 

According to the reports, push notifications with emoticons have 85% more open rates than compared to notifications without emoticons. 

Notifications that display emoticons are opened 135% times more on Android and 50% more on iOS devices in comparison to without emoticons. 

Using emoticons can be the best practice for marketers, especially those who are more engaged with app users. 

Social reactions and emotions are as real as human reactions and feelings. If you have still not realised the power of these small bombs, now is the time. Use it anywhere you like in any manner you like, the crux is – USE IT.

Social reactions can be the reason for the next increase you see in your user engagement. Give it a try and do not forget to share your experiences and how useful this article for you.

Good Luck.

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