Interactions in the form of likes, comments, shares, etc. are the holy grail of social media marketing. Anyone who wants to be seen and heard on Facebook must ensure that the fans interact with the content. Those interactions are the most important influencing factor for the algorithm which decides, how much reach Facebook grants a single post and therefore how many people will see it.
Emotions are all over the virtual place
Emotions play an important role. More than 70 percent of all Facebook posts carry either a positive or negative mood. A large experiment in January revealed that emotions in the newsfeed do influence the activity of users. During the experiment the scientist e.g. reduced the amount of emotional posts a user was shown. The result: Users with less emotional content reduced their own activity and posted less content on the platform. Already last year Fanpage Karma could prove in a study that emotional posts trigger significantly more interactions by fans than informational or other posts.
A new study from Fanpage Karma shows how different emotions trigger different reactions from fans. To analyse this, we categorized more than 1,000 posts from big newspapers by the emotions they cause. The posts were sorted to one of the 4 basic emotions: Fear, Anger, Sadness and Joy. News pages are a good source for such a study as they provide content for every emotion on a regular basis.
The one emotion to rule them all
The dominant emotion based on reactions per post is joy. Posts that were supposed to bring joy to fans recieved significantly more likes, comments and shares than the rest. Less than half the reactions can be achieved with posts that make fans angry. There are two main reasons that joyful posts do work that well on Facebook: Firstly, social networks favor positive emotions by design. Facebook provides a Like-Button, but a Dislike-Button is nowhere to be found. That makes it much easier for fans to support positive posts than showing support for negative messages.
Level of energy is relevant
Secondly, the amount of reactions depends on the energy level that an emotion sets free in the user. A sad user will more likely be in a state of low energy and thus reduce his actvity. The type of reactions that are more tiring than liking, e.g. writing a comment or sharing a post, suffer most from this lack of energy. That can be seen very clearly when you look at the amount of comments and shares per emotion. If you leave the likes aside, joy and anger are almost on the same level of reactions by fans. Both are emotions with high energy levels, enough to make fans comment and share. As suspected, sadness makes the last place, even after fear.
Wrath of the comments
Knowing that, one might already assume, that there are certain patterns with which fans do react to the four emotions. A detailled analysis prooves that (see picture). It really depends on the emotion if users are more likely to like, comment or share a post. In case of joy, likes are the dominant way of expression. Posts that trigger fear do have the highest percentage of shares of all emotions. Posts that make the fans angry do get commented. This is psychologically very well explainable. Anger was a very helpful emotion to make our ancestors ready to fight and defend themselves against attackers. A side effect of anger is that it reduces the ability to think rational. Posts that make people angry show exactly that. They get many comments – so to speak the weapons of the social media age. They are used to defend the fan’s opinion. And not always in the most rational way.
Fear will be shared
Fear does make us want to be close to other people. Little children hide behind their parents or moviegoers grap their neighbours arms when it gets scary. Sharing a post connects the fan with his friends and their reactions let him overcome the feeling of being alone. On top of that, there is a certain need to warn everyone about a possible thread. A trait we also inherited from our ancestors. Back then it was most important to make the whole tribe aware of danger. This reaction is most interesting for brands on Facebook. Sharing is the most valuable kind of reactions as it opens up the possibility to reach many people beyond the own fans. Making the own posts sound more alarming, might be a way to get more shares.
Joy to the world
For everyone involved in Social Media Activities this study shows very clearly, how important it is, to make posts and content for Facebook emotional. Emotions trigger actions. Most of all bringing joy to the fans is apllauded with many likes, comments and shares. But where there is no joy, fear and anger can be used to make fans comment and share. Facebook and other social networks are not only communication platforms. They are entertainment as well. Brands should always remember that and be able to fulfill the expectation of fans to be entertained.
All data was gathered with the Social Media Tool Fanpage Karma. The sorting of posts to emotions was done with the Tagging-Feature. Anyone may test it for 14 days for free. To see how that works, click here.
Title-Picture: Carissa Rogers