The idea of Facebook introducing a ‘Dislike’ button has been a hot and controversial topic ever since the introduction of the ‘Like’ button back in 2009. Many users have been calling for the introduction of this feature, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg was adamant that this would not be a beneficial step for the company, as he vowed that his platform would never become a space for negativity.
In an unexpected recent announcement, Zuckerberg announced that the platform was, in fact, working on this very feature. However, he made it very clear that they predicted this would be a way of allowing users to ‘show empathy’ for status updates and photos that it may be insensitive to ‘like’.
But what are the implications of this new feature for brands using the platform for marketing purposes? Here are a few things that we feel brands will need to be aware of when this change comes into effect.
With a ‘Dislike’ button in play, brands will need to work not only on increasing engagement and figure out which content is well received, but also on ways of evaluating and adjusting content which is ‘disliked’. Meaning that once content has been posted on Facebook, marketers will have the task of understanding why a particular post may have received both positive and negative communication and what they need to change going forward.
Currently, users have to actively comment on a post to express their negativity towards a post. This is beneficial for marketers in a number of ways; they have the opportunity to reply and deliver good customer service and there is no metric in Insights that quantifies comments deemed to be negative. Now, however, marketers will have another metric to juggle in order to optimise their Facebook presence. In the long term, this could be a positive aspect of this update, as it will make us better understand our Fans. But it will certainly require some adjusting.
In a Q+A session, Zuckerberg stated, “People aren’t looking for an ability to downvote other people’s posts, what they really want is to be able to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment.” But was he considering brands when he said this? With Facebook advertising spend by brands making up a very large proportion of Facebook’s overall revenue, why is the platform inviting the possibility of negativity towards these big spenders with the ability to ‘dislike’ them?
How do you feel about Facebook’s latest update? Will this help marketers to better understand what their Fans want to see within the platform? Will it be a tool to ‘show empathy’? Will it alter the positive tone that Facebook has so carefully nurtured?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter.
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