Nine months is a long time in business. In fact it was just nine months ago, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, said there would be no plans for a dislike button on the world’s biggest social media platform.
This week, that all changed. In a public Q&A session, Facebook confirmed the long-requested addition of a dislike button is in fact in the works and will be launched when fully tested.
My first instinct was that this will cause turmoil for business page owners, who’ve worked hard to build a following on Facebook.
They have also spent a pretty penny in advertising to gain those likes over the years and now face a barrage of thumbs down when their posts appear on the fans’ timeline.
Facebook are keen to stress that this is not necessarily a negative emotion button, but more accurately should be described as an empathy button.
I think we’ve all had times when the like button doesn’t feel right, even though we want to acknowledge the validity of the Facebook post, such as a pet dying or post highlighting some negative event around the world.
While this will be quite revolutionary for Facebook, it’s not a new thing in the world of social media.
Reddit, the blog site, has long had a like and dislike option for users posts. The key difference with Reddit’s version is that the negatives can supress or push down a post’s visibility if it gets more negative than positive votes.
YouTube has also had a thumbs down option for videos that users don’t like for years. With the video site, there is no negative impact to the post’s visibility with thumbs down, in fact it can almost spark a debate and additional interest in a video if opinions are divided.
As a business owner, one of the biggest lessons to learn here is that you can take an existing feature (the like button) and give it a small twist to create something new. It isn’t something that takes lots of explaining to existing customers, but will instantly have an impact. Dyson did it with the vacuum cleaner and more recently hand dryers.
What do you have in your business that could spark a new feature?
The other major lesson here is that Facebook have listened to their users. While they may not be ready to give their users carte blanche over changes, they have been open to suggestions and having so many people request the feature, they are almost guaranteed to have a base of support when they do launch.
It is unlikely this will launch in the next three months, so you have time to start ensuring any negative impact for you is minimised.
Stick to the principles. Create compelling posts that have an interest to your users.
It’s also worth remembering that if people do dislike your stuff and don’t want to see your material, then that’s fine. To paraphrase an old business term. ‘likes are Vanity, engagement and sales are sanity’.
Be sure to visit the Courier website and let us know if you give the new button a thumbs up or not.