Category Archives: Digital comms

Whole lotta love (or haha, wow, sad or angry)…

You’ll have noticed a new set of ‘Reactions’ buttons on Facebook. An extension of the ‘Like’ button, you can now choose from a range of emojis to show how you feel about a post. You can add a reaction by hovering over the Like button on a PC or by holding it down on a mobile, and then clicking on either Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry.

reactions picReactions will initially work in the same way as a Like – they’ll carry the same weight (loving something won’t mean more than liking it) and by ‘Reacting’ to something, Facebook will infer that users want to more see more of that type of content. Facebook has said this weighting will change over time, as they gather data and develop their understanding of what people want to see, since, clearly, being sad or angry about something doesn’t necessarily mean people want to see more of that in their newsfeed.

This is a potentially exciting development for charities, which often employ emotive and moving content, meaning users may be reluctant to ‘like’ a story highlighting the negative impact of a disease, for example. The fact that people can now express a wider range of emotions will help give a more accurate reflection and nuanced understanding of their reactions – which can be monitored and used to inform future content and campaigns.

It will be easier to see whether people are reacting in the way we want or expect them to, and to analyse which type of content gets which particular reaction. So if, for example, a positive post gets a large number of angry responses, you’re either doing something wrong or reaching the wrong people – and it’s possible that in future Facebook might let you select your ad audience based on different Reactions.

This latest development will hopefully lead to increased engagement amongst Facebook users, but let us know what you think and how it might change what you do.

Our #digital future

After attending the recent CharityComms seminar on digital communication trends, we wanted to highlight and share just two of the many interesting and inspiring ideas discussed, about how we should be using technology now and in the (near) future to engage audiences, and make sure we’re not just talking to ourselves.

Breaking out of the bubble was one of our favourites. Joe Hall of The Climate Coalition and Woo Hoo Yeah Yeah! reinforced the idea that while we might be doing very nicely in our bubble – having fantastic, engaged conversations – many activists and others who care about our issues remain on the outside. Meaning there are literally millions not being reached. Joe is right to argue that these people should become a much more prominent target and a defined focus for future campaigns.

With the assertion that social media is becoming people’s main source of news and information and Facebook making many of us more narrow-minded, it’s vital that we make a conscious and concerted effort to reach less engaged audiences, and not leave them behind.

Virtual reality (VR) was another idea with a lot of buzz. The technology has been around in various forms for a while. It looks like its moment has finally come, as devices are more readily available and affordable. For example with Google Cardboard anyone can make their own headset and experience virtual reality from a smartphone for arond £3.

These exciting developments open up a whole (virtual) world of possibilities for charities and organisations that rely on creating a connection between their work and their audience – giving supporters an immersive experience of the charity’s work.

Some organisations have already been exploring the use of VR. In May last year Amnesty International launched a virtual reality street fundraising project using VR sets to transport members of the public from the streets of London to the war-torn streets of Syria. And it worked. Amnesty reported strong, emotional reactions; some people were brought to tears. The figures are also impressive: after a week they registered a 16% increase in regular givers.

A big thanks to CharityComms for another great event, and to all the presenters for their enlightening talks. We look forward to seeing how these trends influence charities’ communications activities in the coming months and years.

For more info, look on the CharityComms website where you can check out all of the presentations and see some of the Twitter reaction from the day.