The Blog

by Paul Balcerak

Facebook Reactions Beat Plain Ol’ Likes—Here’s What You Should Do


Image of Facebook Reactions icons

Facebook has updated its algorithm (again) to reward Reactions on posts more than plain-old Likes. No one Reaction—Love, Laugh, Wow, Sad, or Angry—is weighted heavier in Facebook’s algorithm than another. But they’re all a notch above a Like.

In short, the more Reactions on your Facebook posts, the better.

Here are three suggestions for how to get the most out of the algorithm update.

1. Write content that plays to the Reactions.

If you have material that would naturally cause laughter, surprise, etc., use that. Just remember to not explicitly ask fans to react a certain way—that will cost you.

A waffle shaped like a heart

2. Don’t ask people for Likes—ask them for Reactions.

If you’re in the habit of asking friends or coworkers to Like your posts, ask them for Reactions instead. And do the same when you React to your own posts.

Facebook’s algorithm probably knows to downgrade your Reactions if you’re a page admin or employee. But there’s a psychological aspect, too. If people see various reactions on a post, they might be more inclined to react beyond a Like, as well.

Bare minimum, it can’t hurt.

3. Apply contextual analysis to your Reactions.

Imagine for a second that you work at a bakery. You’ve published a post on your Facebook page that says you’re out of your most popular loaf of bread for the day. The Sad and Angry Reactions pour in.

Separate scenario—you still work for the bakery. But today, you’ve published a post about how you’ve changed the recipe for your most popular loaf of bread. The customary Likes and a few Loves appear, but you notice a heap of Sad and Angry Reactions, too.

Hands holding some bread

The Sad/Angry Reactions in the first scenario are arguably positive. People love your bread, and they’re bummed it’s out.

The Sad/Angry Reactions in the second scenario can’t be good. You’ve changed your recipe and people don’t like it.

So: Analyze your reactions contextually.

BONUS TIP: Recognize that most reactions will still/always be Likes.

Reactions have only been around for about a year, and the A1 button on every Facebook post is still the Like. Naturally, that’s the most common one for people to use. Don’t expect people to change their behavior just because Facebook updated its algorithm.

But also, don’t be discouraged. Look to gradually increase your Reactions-per-post over time. And pay attention to the types of posts that tend to inspire more.

A bunch of books in a hallway


To recap—Facebook now ranks Reactions above Likes in its algorithm. Here’s how you can take advantage:

1. Write content that plays to certain reactions.

2. Ask your friends/coworkers to React to—rather than Like—your posts.

3. Apply contextual analysis to your Reactions.

4. Expect to still see Likes on posts most of the time.

Got any other tips about how pages can take advantage of Facebook Reactions? Share them in the comments.