What would a Facebook ‘dislike’ button mean for retail?
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.
"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."
- Brands need to prepare for a Facebook ‘Dislike’ button – Internet Retailer
- Facebook Is Finally Developing a ‘Dislike’ Button – Re/code
- FINALLY: You’ll soon be able to ‘dislike’ things on Facebook, says Mark Zuckerberg – Business Insider
- Coming Soon to Facebook: A ‘Dislike’ Button – The New York Times (tiered sub.)
- Why Facebook’s New Button May Not Actually Say ‘Dislike’ After All – Adweek
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?