What would a Facebook ‘dislike’ button mean for retail?

Discussion
Sep 21, 2015
Tom Ryan

Facebook indicated last week it was close to testing a "dislike" button, or at least one that expresses empathy, to sit alongside its thumbs-up "like" button. The possible arrival of a one-click button expressing negative emotions promises both benefits and risks for retailers.

"Not every moment is a good moment, and if you are sharing something that is sad, whether it’s something in current events, like the refugees crisis that touches you, or if a family member passed away, then it may not feel comfortable to like that post," Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, said last week at a meeting with users Facebook’s headquarters. "So I do think it’s important to give people more options than just like."

A button to express sympathy or some negative sentiment to posts has been a long request by members.

Mr. Zuckerberg stressed that the button would be more nuanced than a simple "down-vote" button. Reddit’s "downvote" button has been chastised by some for promoting negativity and encouraging cyberbullying, but others believe it creates a more open and honest environment.

Regardless, having buttons expressing negative and positive connotations on the world’s largest social network could be a boon for consumer data collecting. A pro/con poll could provide quick insights into product demand, customer services issues and other metrics.

Facebook like dislike

"The dislike button [would] give brands a better way to gauge social sentiment," marketing consultant David Deal, told Adweek. "The ‘like’ button is a joke. It’s meaningless because Facebook members have no other alternative to vote on content with a simple click."

For advertisers on Facebook, engagement levels may increase with greater options than a "like" button. However, negative associations may surround ads.

"Over all, it’s probably a good thing to enable people to express feelings and emotions that they can’t express through a ‘like’ button," Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at eMarketer, told The New York Times. "But Facebook needs to be careful as to how they enable that capability with regard to advertising and all the potentially inflammatory discussions that could occur online."

Retailers likewise would risk seeing the number of "dislikes" piling up around their online content or brand.

"This seems like the perfect way for a customer to vent about a brand," Sucharita Mulpuru, VP and principal analyst, Forrester Research, told Internet Retailer. "Some of the biggest recipients of the ‘dislike’ will definitely be brands and retailers."

Would the arrival of a dislike button on Facebook be a net positive or negative for retailers and brands? Does the promise of gaining better insights offset the risks of negative sentiments?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Retailers need to fully embrace the truly meaningful customer metrics (RFM, anyone?) before they worry about secondary ones such as social media likes and dislikes."
"I think this will be a step forward for brands as it will encourage a stronger relationship with the shopper. It will be interesting to see if Facebook actually creates a "dislike" button or if it is something a little more gentle."
"Um, not to be rude about it, but not everything is about retailers. When someone requests prayers for a sick friend or relative, the "like" button takes on the meaning of "heard.""

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16 Comments on "What would a Facebook ‘dislike’ button mean for retail?"


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Frank Riso
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

It would be a net positive even if a brand gets many dislikes. It is not knowing how the consumer feels about a brand, an item or a promotion that is the problem today. Instant notification would be a help and the way to correct or continue a promotion.

Too many emails, too many texts and too many Facebook ads are concerns and the way to better manage them would be to give the general public the dislike button. Consumers need a better way to manage retailer communications to them and this may be a start.

Peter Fader
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Similar to the like button, the dislike one will, in reality, mean very little. Retailers will obsess over the numbers and will throw lots of “CX” dollars down the drain, but this new button will offer very little diagnostic value about the current and future value of customers.

Retailers need to fully embrace the truly meaningful customer metrics (RFM, anyone?) before they worry about secondary ones such as social media likes and dislikes.

David Biernbaum
Guest
4 years 6 months ago
Albeit for empathy or otherwise, the “dislike” button on Facebook, on balance, will not be positive for retailers, or for that matter any products, brands or services. I would actually prefer that consumers be able only to express negativity by having to take the time to write a comment, because in doing so the consumer is less likely to react as impulsively as s/he would were s/he simply able to click “dislike” and not have to offer any type of explanation. And truth is, when a consumer writes a comment, the judgment by other consumers is often tied to the quality of the written comment, which often appears to lack credibility strictly based on its content, style, grammar, etc., which causes the post in itself to be judged as much or more so than the brand under attack. All that being said, at David Biernbaum & Associates LLC, we deal with our realities, and if in fact the “dislike” button becomes a reality we will advise our client-brands on how to make the best of… Read more »
Ralph Jacobson
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

I wonder how a “dislike” button could have a net positive effect on a retailer, unless of course, their chief competitor gets a bunch of dislikes. Social chatter has its inherent risks when you decide to dive into the myriad channels. Whether it’s Facebook or any other outlet, retailers cannot and should not control the conversations. They can definitely guide the conversations, though. And social media analytics tools have advanced significantly even in the past year to go way beyond traditional sentiment analysis. It’s most certainly worth a retailer’s time to get the good, the bad and the ugly about their brands.

Tom Redd
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Not good. Facebook is mainly a site of Zucker-Evil. It is a loose site with limited security and they sell everything you post. Get my read? I do not like Faceblob — oops — Facebook. A “dislike” button, like the “like” button, will just be pressed based on a emotional moment that most likely changes by the next day.

Do yourself a favor — disconnect from Facebook and stop letting them re-sell your life content.

Zel Bianco
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

I think this will be a step forward for brands as it will encourage a stronger relationship with the shopper. It will be interesting to see if Facebook actually creates a “dislike” button or if it is something a little more gentle. Regardless, brands need to accept that shoppers can use their pages for both positive and negative responses — as we have already seen with comments it really comes down to how a brand responds to negativity. Are they responsive? helpful? can they take a joke? all of these responses can stem from a negative comment and have a hugely positive impact on the brand’s image.

Ian Percy
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

David Deal is right … the “like” button is a joke. Still a lot of people and companies brag about how many “likes” they have. Same thing holds true for the number of “friends” people have.

Seems to me Facebook will need three buttons, not two. The ubiquitous “like” a “dislike” and the oft mentioned “empathy” button for sad reports. Will any of them mean much? Probably not.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Hitting the ‘dislike’ button could mean almost anything for a brand — from a down vote on a given style to a complaint about frequency.

Retailers need to look for ways to allow customers to communicate with them directly, not by mass communication or third-party sites. I’ve found an interesting company that’s pioneering this … more later!

Paula Rosenblum
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Um, not to be rude about it, but not everything is about retailers.

When someone requests prayers for a sick friend or relative, the “like” button takes on the meaning of “heard.” I think a “what a bummer” button is more than appropriate.

So, if I were a retailer, I’d worry less about likes and dislikes and worry more about bringing the right product into the right places at the right price. And let sales tell the tale.

Dan Raftery
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

It will not be good for anyone. While I’m not a fan of the “like” button, it does have a simple meaning — similar to opting in or not. If a “dislike” button is available, I assume the responder will be faced with choosing one or the other or opting out completely.

In or not is complex enough to interpret on the receiver end. This will make it worse. The buttons would be much more useful if comments were also available. Amazon ratings are valued by consumers, retailers and suppliers. Why not move in that direction?

Dave Wendland
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

“Like” and “dislike” buttons are just that — buttons. A brand promise for a retailer or a product cannot be determined by a button. It can only be realized through firsthand experience! Therefore, I see this new button as having very little bearing on the success of a brand.

And, for the record, I “dislike” the idea of likes and dislikes.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Consumers do not need a “dislike” button to vent their displeasure with a brand. This has been happening since well before social media became the go-to place for communicating. Seems like social media has replaced actual speaking to others in many ways. Yes, a ‘dislike’ button might be coming. But I do not think it is a necessity. Better to say nothing than to express dislike.

Shep Hyken
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Right now there is a “Like” button, but it doesn’t have to be clicked on. That said, be it a “Like” or “Dislike” or “Not So Much,” it will be the comments below these buttons that make the difference.

Matt Talbot
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

I think that the addition of a dislike button will increase negative publicity for many retailers and brands. Before the dislike button, consumers or others that wished to review a product had to type out a statement. The option of “disliking” something with a simple click will increase negative reviews because of the convenience factor. The problem with this, as expressed in other comments, is that a “dislike” button offers no explanation and may indicate a fleeting feeling rather than a larger, more permanent sentiment.

However, the upside of the “dislike” button is the additional data. Although bad reviews are never desirable, if consumers are unhappy with a product (or an aspect of a product), the manufacturer/distributor/retailer will benefit from better understanding consumer perspective.

Also, Facebook may become more of a platform for consumers to talk with retailers and resolve problems. Certainly, with the addition of a “dislike” button, brands and retailers alike will have to monitor Facebook more carefully.

Gajendra Ratnavel
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

For retailers, this would probably be a good thing since they can get more information from social media. However, from a social media perspective, this is probably not a good idea because it complicates the communication. They should have just changed the “like” button to “star” or something neutral to indicate support. Something like “I support this message” vs “like” would have solved the issue with empathy. I suspect most would use the new button the same way they used the old button.

Larry Burns
Guest
Larry Burns
4 years 6 months ago
Like/Dislike? Zero/One? Unfortunately far too much is (still!) made of “Likes” today and whatever button is added (“Support,” “Agree,” “So Sad,” perhaps “Are you kidding me?”) will also garner too much attention. Can “business value” be crafted from a simple exercise like this? Well sure, someone or even many will create metrics and clever ways to attempt to assess human meaning from what will become in very short order a relatively “mindless action.” (Of course initially it will be fun to see how we all “use” whatever rolls out.) And yes, there will be enormous energy and “column inches” devoted to the debate and of course in the short term and because of the heat and light around it, businesses will clearly need to deal with this if only to respond to the inevitable media frenzy…I know, I know, I do live in the real world as well. My hope? That it becomes a net positive because this new button will once again exhibit that there are no sustainable shortcuts to understanding human behavior. In… Read more »
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Braintrust
"Retailers need to fully embrace the truly meaningful customer metrics (RFM, anyone?) before they worry about secondary ones such as social media likes and dislikes."
"I think this will be a step forward for brands as it will encourage a stronger relationship with the shopper. It will be interesting to see if Facebook actually creates a "dislike" button or if it is something a little more gentle."
"Um, not to be rude about it, but not everything is about retailers. When someone requests prayers for a sick friend or relative, the "like" button takes on the meaning of "heard.""

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