Thumbs up or thumbs down... for Facebook’s new dislike button?


‘Facebook’s long-requested dislike button is thought to be in the post.’

Last week the social media oligarch announced that it was close to testing dislike functionality for the platform. Users have been nudging Facebook to introduce functionality of this type for some time now, but what does this update mean to retailers?
‘How will it work? Will it entice and increase negativity around a given brand? Should retailers now be worried about their brand pages upon Facebook? How should brands and businesses upon the platform react to this update?’

So what is the dislike button and how will it work?

The exact details around this new functionality are still tightly under wraps, and it is unclear what the button will be officially named, however it is already generating a lot of discussion and forward thinking. Facebook is yet to confirm whether or not the new functionality will be available only for organic marketing, and if it will indeed be available for business and brand pages at all. One thing is clear: Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg envisions the new functionality as a way to express empathy.

He is ardent that the new dislike button will not be perceived in the same way Reddit’s “down-vote” functionality is; it will allow users to comfortably express an opinion on sensitive content, beyond simply ‘liking’.

For example, acknowledging a friend’s loved one has passed away gets more appropriate and comfortable to do with the new dislike functionality.

All that sounds great – making interactions upon the platform more meaningful and sensitive – but what does the new button mean to retailers?

It is understood that many retailers are wary of the new functionality due to it potentially opening up a brand to harm. Inviting negativity online around your brand seems foolish, if the dislike button were to be seen as a review measure or a way to evaluate the quality and trustworthiness of a brand.

However, here at Springcreate we believe the new functionality means that brands and businesses can evolve online. They can use a dislike vote to become more connected to their consumers, and to more accurately gauge sentiment. Understanding what users find interesting and useful will become easier, and content can be quickly and accurately tailored to meet the needs of your audience.

Ultimately, Facebook campaigns can become more relevant, effective and successful.

Giving consumers the ability to like/dislike content upon Facebook will also provide quick, truthful insights into product demand, thoughts on customer service and other key metrics for success.

Should you find users dislike a post promoting a fresh delivery of stock, perhaps demand for a particular product is on the wane, and this swift, valuable learning can potentially steer your buying strategy.

An important concern for retailers is should Facebook enable the new functionality so that users can dislike a brand page, i.e. not a particular post, but the page/brand itself, this could be potentially very damaging to the brand’s online and overall reputation. Of course lots of “black marks” piling up against your name is no good thing, but dislikes of this type ought to be seen as opportunities to establish what went wrong to prompt a certain customer to express such a sentiment. What are the issues affecting your customer relations? How can you tackle them, and perhaps most importantly, how can you win round disgruntled customers and turn them into brand ambassadors? With each dislike, you can gather valuable data on those consumers who need some TLC, and on serious falling-down areas within your business. Both sets of information are key to ensuring the future success of your brand/business.

So, how should you react to these new changes?

It is important to keep a very close eye on your Facebook content, especially the pieces that are attracting the most dislikes. What is it about these pieces that are unlikeable? Is it the tone of voice you’re using? Are they useful or interesting? Are they relevant? Why is your official page attracting dislikes?

Reach out to your ‘dislikers’ and start a dialogue with them. Find out what went wrong and how you can fix it. Employing a skilled social media marketing team to undertake these tasks will ensure you always react and adapt in a timely, effective, human-like manner, ultimately protecting your brand/business from long-term, hard-to-undo, online damage.

Written by Jo Douglas, Springcreate’s Social Media Manager.