How "Facebook reactions" might impact hotels' social media strategy?

First, what "Facebook reactions" are about and what is the history behind it?

2012, that is the moment when Facebook started searching for ways to help its users to react with emotions.

Product developers at Facebook are uncompromising, there shouldn’t be an emotion that you can’t express on the social network. Can you imagine this research lead Facebook employees to look back at Charles Darwin investigations with the help of the prestigious Berkeley University and Pixar Labs? This is crazy.

You can now easily express a flash of emotion, like a laugh, anger, a pang of sadness, amazement or the feeling of love. All these alternatives do not replace the iconic Like button, but are meant to complete it. Reactions now give even more importance to the standard Like button.


Imagine how big is this move. The Like button is almost the definition of Facebook itself but still remains the last binary (1 or 0) feature that Facebook has. Many local businesses proudly display “Like Us On Facebook” on their front door, and many other major social media actors followed this trend since Facebook implemented it. It works but now Facebook decided to change it all.

Facebook’s first attempt at a more expressive platform was in the instant messaging tool. This was done through "stickers," and the little yellow ball with facial expressions called Finch.

This was the results of an amazing work from Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at Berkeley and Pixar Designer Matt Jones. Both dived and jumped into Darwin's 1872 book where he outlined more than 50 universal emotions.

Finch served as a starting point for Facebook’s new Reactions.. Here are the first sketches of Pixar Designer for Facebook Reactions.

Matt Jones - Original sketches of the first proposed Reactions

Matt Jones - Original sketches of the first proposed Reactions

Facebook Reactions are now active on every devices, desktop or mobile. As you can see, something that appeared to be a small details is the result of more than 4 years of work.

So, as a hotel, how do "Facebook reactions" impact your social media strategy?

Your engagement rate will change

Now, your fans have the option of disagreeing with you in one click, even if they already interact leaving bad comments on your page. But writing a comment is much more engaging than only clicking on a single button. The result of that is, they will no longer ignore you for lack of better options. Your engagement will rise for, but not necessarily in a positive way.

All your customers can now see if your previous guests were happy with their last stay at your hotel. A little bit like on TripAdvisor or any dedicated travel site allowing customers to leave comments. Bigger than that, maybe soon Facebook will be ranking local businesses or hotels based on the tonality of their Facebook Reactions? That has never been announced but who knows? 

Surely, if most of your fans' Reactions are other than "likes" and "loves", your Facebook reach might decline as Facebook’s Edge Rank shows news from players with better tonality. Your content may disappear from your customers' timelines unless you make huge investment on Facebook ads.

Double edged

Now, you are able to target unhappy clients from your competitors. No doubt this is something you'd like to do, but so are your competitors.

In the hotel industry, it has always been difficult to keep existing customers due to high competition and to an evolving clientele coming from new countries each year. We all know that most of customers send or write feedback when they are unsatisfied.

That’s why all hotels  should be moving fast in order to improve the amount of positive comments and feedback they get.

A new social approach

Unless you’re strongly based and established in the luxury industry, getting a lot of positive reactions, you might want to redefine some points now:

Deliver real added value through your Facebook page. Be a trend setter. Provide a genuine service though social media. Listen to your clients and use Facebook as a "Conciergerie tool."

Encourage your clients' to participate to the conversation. Creating new cocktails at your bar, picking up objects to design your rooms or lobby, sharing their favorites spots in town.

Be transparent, share emotions and experiences. Put yourself in the shoes of your clients. Think about how you make people feel.

As explained at the very beginning of this post, this apparently "small" change of Facebook might impact your property and the digital perception of your hotel.

If you need help building your social media strategy across major social media channels, reach our team, we are always happy to help hotels face changes and enhance their digital strategy.

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