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Social Media Marketing for Business

Brooks Tiffany

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December 15, 2014

Facebook Dislike Button: Top Social Media Experts Weigh In

December 15, 2014 | By | 14 Comments">14 Comments

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg caused a bit of a stir last Friday when he revealed that the company is thinking about adding the oft-requested “Dislike” button. Read on to find out what this means for business and what the top social media influencers think about it.

Facebook Dislike Button

Zuckerberg’s response came amid a Townhall Q&A being hosted at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, California – where he was answering the top voted question: “Judging by the success of the Like button, has there been any discussion of a Dislike button?”

“You know, we’re thinking about it,” conceded Zuckerberg, “on the Dislike button. There are more sentiments that people want to express than just positivity or that they like something.” But he was quick to explain the complexity of such a move:

“A lot of times people share things on Facebook that are sad moments in their lives. Or are tough cultural or social things. And often people tell us that they don’t feel comfortable pressing like because like isn’t the appropriate sentiment when someone lost a loved one or is talking about a very difficult issue. And I think giving people the power to do that in more ways with more emotions would be powerful but we need to figure out the right way to do it so that it ends up being a force for good and not a force for bad and demeaning the post that people are putting out there.”

So it seems that Facebook is considering adding something as an alternative to the Like button, but it probably won’t be as cut and dry as a “Dislike” button, especially in the wake of several cyber-bullying cases that have gotten national attention. The last thing Facebook wants to do is give these offenders another weapon to use!

Instead, Facebook is exploring ways to allow users to quickly express a more diverse range of emotions when it comes to a post. “Isn’t that what commenting, emoticons, and unliking are for?” you ask, making an excellent point. But it seems that those means aren’t as agile and light-weight as the Like button.

Zuckerberg admitted that much, “you know you can always just comment, right, so it’s not like there isn’t a way to do that today, and a lot of people are commenting on posts all the time. But there’s something that’s just so simple about the Like button.”

While Facebook is committed to making sure its users are happy, it doesn’t want to throw its advertisers under the bus.

What does this mean for business?

Brands have gotten accustomed to taking a beating on social media when they stumble and have generally come out stronger because of it. This open criticism allows them to learn what works and what doesn’t at light-speed and this is a good thing. Nevertheless, providing an additional means for people to quickly express negative sentiment may have some brands a bit anxious.

Paul Coggins, CEO of ad firm Adludio weighed in on the potential move in an interview with BBC:

“Facebook’s big concern is revenue,” he said. “They need to keep their advertisers happy. I would think it highly unlikely that they would come up with a button that says you can ‘dislike’. I think they will extend the success of the Like button, which has been huge. Rather than have a quick yes-no, which is a bit black and white, my guess is that they’ll probably look to do something with a bit more sentiment around it.”

So, if Facebook does decide to deliver a button, it will most likely be a more refined one that will benefit advertisers just as much as the Fan. An enhanced option for quickly expressing sentiment could provide brands with a new way to connect with Fans while also creating an additional metric with which they can measure their success.

Then again, Facebook could be playing with fire.

Top Social Media Influencers Weigh In

There’s more to the Dislike button than meets the eye. With that in mind, I decided to reach out to the top social media experts for their opinions on the matter.

Nathan Latka: CEO and Founder of Heyo.

NathanPic2

“Facebook will not add a dislike button because it’ll hurt Faceboook’s ad business. If a brand is considering spending money to promote content, but the risk exists that the content will get dislikes, they won’t run the ad at all.The closest FB will come to a dislike button is the surveys and options they offer in the Newsfeed for consumers to unfollow brands updates.”

Lynette Young: Content Marketing Manager at AWeber, and Purple Stripe Founder

LynettePic2“I’m going to say NO on Facebook implementing a button like that. While sites like Reddit (and before that Digg) use similar activity to gauge users acceptance of content and participation of community – the negative repercussions (flaming, trolling, malicious down-voting, etc.) would probably be detrimental to ad sales and general user happiness.”

 Scott Ayres: Ambassador of Awesomeness at Post Planner

ScottPic2

“No they won’t head down that negative path as it feeds trolls and haters too much, Facebook has worked too hard to rid the site of that. But I can see them testing some sort of “sentiment” type buttons on posts or perhaps as a comment.”

 

Kim Garst: CEO at BoomSocial

KimPic2“No, I don’t believe that Facebook will go down this negative road. I agree with Scott in that I think they will test some positive sentiment types of buttons. Their overall goal is to build a better user experience so incorporating ways to express emotions could be an interesting addition to the platform!”

Joshua Parkinson: Chief Customer Pain Killer at Post Planner

JoshuaPic2“My guess is Facebook will never add a button specifically labeled “Dislike”. But they will definitely keep adding new and creative ways for users to privately express negative feedback on posts. I personally use “I don’t want to see this” all the time — and I’m certain it has improved my news feed experience.”

Mari Smith: Social Media Marketing Leader at Mari Smith

MariSmith2“Absolutely not. There is much confusion about what Mark said the other day on his Q&A Townhall session. He said Facebook has considered a dislike button. But it would propagate negativity in the world, especially as a voting mechanism, and the company wants to put more positivity in to the world. To that end, Facebook is looking at ways to allow users to express sentiments other than just like, for example: empathy, sympathy, surprise, etc. for responding to situations where sometimes it feels awkward to hit the like button.”

Ian Cleary: Founder of RazorSocial

Ian2“I don’t think Facebook will ever have a dislike button.  At the moment people can like, comment or share a post.  Giving people 4 or 5 options is not going to work as well.  Maybe Facebook will tackle this a different way and allow you to post different type messages and the ‘Like’ button could be something else depending on the type of message you send.”

Andrea VahlSocial Media Consultant, Strategist and Speaker Co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies

Andrea2“Facebook will definitely not release a dislike button because it is too negative and could damage the user experience.  I think they may change things up in letting people express their feelings in a different way just like the emoticons and stickers do.  But it will always skew positive.”

 

Jennifer Bennet: Social Media Specialist, Speaker, and Trainer at iBloom

Jennifer2“Since Facebook recently did a study where they manipulated the Facebook newsfeed and found that the emotions of others do in fact affect your mood, my thoughts are that they will not move forward with a dislike button. With that said though, I do believe that they will continue adding options for people to express their emotions. The addition of “stickers” in comments is just one way that they have done this.”

Justin Brooke: Founder, Speaker, Blogger, Ad Man at IMScalable

Justin_Brooke2“As an advertiser I already know Facebook hates negativity in the newsfeed. They can already decipher if something is “disliked” by the lack of engagement or sentiment of comments. I can’t think of a single benefit other than some users want it. They are more likely to include some form of rating or emoticon device, even that is a stretch though.”

Phil Henderson: Founder at Stupidly Simple Marketing

Phil2“If they do then they open up a whole different can of worms. On a personal level, individuals could be open to bullying tactics, on a business level, competitors will employ dirty deed tactics as they are already employing on other ‘review’ type sites.”

 

LaTasha Mullins: Blogger and Trainer at the University of Digital and Internet Marketing

LaTasha2“Although a dislike button will increase engagement, it could have a huge negative impact on business owners who use Facebook for paid news-feed marketing, for that reason I believe that Facebook will be hesitant to release such a feature.”

 

Ali Mirza: Marketing Strategist at i Social You and Founder at Lets graph – Life in graphs & charts — “Yes – having a dislike button will increase engagement for Facebook. So they will!”

Conner McDonald: Associate at Capco  “A dislike button would create an even more judgmental culture than currently exists on Facebook. I always try to remind people that we censor the digital representation of ourselves in a way that is unique to real life. In real life, we glance in the mirror and fix our hair. On Facebook we edit, delete, contemplate, re-edit, and omit things that we cannot omit in the physical realm. A dislike button would eschew more insecurity than already exists. If it is in the works, i hope it doesn’t become reality.”

Jeffrey Rufino: Founder at Cairns Local Marketing and Online Marketing Consultant at Jeffrey Rufino — “Yes. YouTube has a thumbs down button so why doesn’t facebook?”

Dave Newglass: Managing Director at Wise Global Training Ltd.  “I think it would be a big mistake. It will turn into a troller’s haven and introduce too much negativity.”

Sean Malarkey: Author and Speaker at the The Money Pillow, President of Inspired Marketing — “It’s funny you ask. I actually wrote a 103 page book on this exact topic. To save you the time I’ll sum it up for you = NO, FB will not release a dislike button.”

Leslie Starkey Coty: Social Media Coach & Speaker at Coty Connections Heck, No. But I like the idea of other buttons to help express our emotions/sentiments.”

Esteban Contreras: Founder of Social Nerdia — “Facebook will do what Facebook will do.”

What do you think?

Tell me in the comments. Should there be a Facebook Dislike button? What about an alternative button for expressing sentiments? What kind of button would you add?

Top Photo via zeevveez/Flickr

Brooks Tiffany

Meet 

Brooks Tiffany is the Customer Engagement Leader and Technical Writer at Heyo in Blacksburg, VA. He's an Air Force veteran with a B.A. in English from Virginia Tech. He'll start pursuing an M.S. in Human Centered Design and Enginnering at the University of Washington this Fall.

  • Mike Macey

    I agree with a BIG NO. The vast majority of casual users don’t understand the 8 drop-down options much less know they are there. The Dislike button would change our business advertising processes and probably wreak havoc with Facebook’s revenue model.

    • http://www.brookstiffany.com Brooks Tiffany

      Heyo Mike! Thanks for the comment. Yes, a Dislike button is a bit of a rough instrument to throw out there. I’m curious to see what kind of alternatives they could come up – there are so many emotions and sentiments to express, which one will they settle on first – if ever?

  • http://gremln.com/ Mikki Ware

    As a personal user, I love the idea of some kind of ‘dislike’ option. Not for nefarious reasons – like Zuck indicated, there are some posts where a Like seems completely inappropriate. It would be great to have an option to say I dislike this as well, or I feel bad for you, without having to commit to a comment. From a business perspective, I can see where this is a slippery slope that could lead to all sorts of unsolicited negative feedback and trolling. I’m fascinated to see where it goes.

    • http://www.brookstiffany.com Brooks Tiffany

      Hi Mikki, thank you for the comment! I agree that there are definitely benefits and negatives for both personal users and businesses. It’s amazing that something seemingly so small can have such far reaching implications. I’m interested to see what Facebook has in store here as well – I’m sure there will be quite a bit of user testing. You mentioned that you were a personal user, do you have a business/fan Page?

    • Mohammed Hasan

      Yes, we all have that feeling when we want to share our support with a friend who posted a sad post. For that I suggested it may be a good and simple idea to enable the post owner to choose what button to include in his post “Like” or “dislike” or both? can that solve it for you?

  • Telly

    I think adding a list of emotion buttons would be a better solution than a simple Dislike button.

    • http://www.brookstiffany.com Brooks Tiffany

      Yeah it seems that being able to express and emotion or sentiment is a pretty popular alternative. They already have all the emoticons that can be used in comments – the trick is how can they narrow it down to 1 as a quick, light-weight alternative to the Like button? I’m guessing they’d only test the waters with 1 alternative button at first rather than flooding users with several buttons!

  • karen21420

    I only use FB for personal use, but after reading all these professional responses, I can see that the ‘dislike’ button is a no-no. I’m sure they can come up with an alternative to ‘like’, though, that would be appropriate.

    • http://www.brookstiffany.com Brooks Tiffany

      I agree – I just think some extensive user testing is needed to figure out what that first alternative button will be. Once of my friends mentioned a “hug” button! And I didn’t think that was too bad of an idea 🙂

  • Mohammed Hasan

    Simply! Allow the post owner to choose between “Like” and “dislike” buttons to be displayed with her post. The default will be “Like” and she can shift to “dislike” when it’s appropriate or choose to include both of them 🙂

    • http://www.brookstiffany.com Brooks Tiffany

      That’s a great idea! I like how you’re thinking Mohammed 🙂

      • Mohammed Hasan

        Thank you for your apprisal, Brooks 🙂

  • http://adamevans.ca/ Lawson Geis

    I found that this should be given in the hands of the user that there should be something like toggle button of LIKE-DISLIKE should be introduce.

  • http://warrenwhitlock.com/social-media-expert Warren Whitlock

    I think we’ve figured out that a LIKE doesn’t mean we agree with negative events. I don’t personally LIKE bad news, but understand fully that many do as a sign of support for the person sharing that news