Good artists copy, great artists steal.

Pablo Picasso

Much like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is copying its competitors’ features by introducing reactions. For users, this means more ways to express themselves. For businesses, it could mean better engagement if they can recognize user intent and follow-up where appropriate.

Why did LinkedIn add reactions?

Originally LinkedIn was best known for professional networking and career building– but now users also share photos, videos, and personal thoughts.

Social media platforms observe their competition and survey their users in order to learn what they want. Then, they implement those features in their own way. For example, Facebook gave its users emoji-based reactions in 2016, which included the standard “Like” (a thumbs up) as well as “Love” (a heart), “Haha” (a laughing face) “WOW” (a mouth wide open face) “Sad” (a frown with a tear) and “Angry” (a red-faced emoji).

These reactions satisfy our desire to understand “why” a person liked a particular post. But, for businesses, LinkedIn reactions provide useful feedback that helps understand the impact their post had on the person who reacted.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Because these emoji reactions are universally understood, they won’t get lost in translation.

The research behind LinkedIn reactions

LinkedIn’s official announcement regarding reactions pointed to feedback from users who wanted more ways to respond to other users’ posts. The company analyzed the most used one to two word comments in addition to which types of posts people shared most.

“We also conducted global research with LinkedIn members to get feedback on the specific reactions to ensure they were universally understood and helpful.”

LinkedIn rolled out a variety of reactions for users to engage with content. They include “like”, “celebrate”, “love”, “insightful”, and “curious”.

It’s worth noting that LinkedIn sought more ways for its users to “quickly and constructively communicate with one another,” as the announcement read. In contrast, Facebook’s infamous algorithm updates in early 2018 sought the opposite–giving news feed priority to posts that created “meaningful interactions.”

How to use LinkedIn reactions

LinkedIn provided a helpful overview for users who wonder when and how each reaction would be appropriate. It suggests using “Celebrate” to praise an accomplishment or a milestone. For example, if someone secures a new job or if a company announces an acquisition. “Love” can be used to show a post resonates deeply with you, or that you support the point of view. For example, you may “Love” an article about the impact of mentorship, according to LinkedIn. The difference between “Insightful” (recognizing a great point or interesting idea) and “Curious” (show your desire to learn more or respond to a thought-provoking topic) is a bit fuzzier.

The key isn’t just for users to have more ways to express themselves. These new reactions allow the people behind company pages to better understand why someone liked their post and which content is earning a deeper level of interest. And in the instances of “Insightful” or “Curious” reactions, social media managers should see an opportunity to engage users further.

Conclusion

By now, we know that change is the only constant in the evolving world of social media. Most users may even see this as the next logical step in the LinkedIn evolution.

The thought behind making LinkedIn a more attractive platform for brands is both valid and reasonable; if users spend an increased amount of time engaging on the platform, business posts will see a higher engagement rate as a result.

According to LinkedIn, the reactions have already begun to roll out and will be available globally to all members in the coming months. The jury is still out on the success of these reactions but Linkedin has stated they will be closely monitoring user feedback.