The new dislike button that Facebook announced recently has caused a stir for obvious reasons. With cyberbullying more prevalent than ever and the relative ease with which harmful or obusive messages can be sent from user to user, the dislike button has caused controversy among many for adding another potential avenue for users to be targeted. But what will it mean for advertisers? While there is the problem from user to user of what many fear to be the potential for an increased level of social negativity, surely the same can be said for responses to advertising on the social media platform?


It may not be all doom and gloom


As Mark Zuckerberg explains, rather than increasing negativity across the social media platform the dislike button should offer the opportunity for users to engage with content in a more nuanced fashion:


“Not every moment is a good moment, right? And if you are sharing something that is sad, whether it’s something in current events like the refugee crisis that touches you or if a family member passed away, then it might not feel comfortable to Like that post. But your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand and that they relate to you.”


The addition of something like a dislike button should therefore not only offer a greater user experience, but also one that improves the advertisers experience too. The more an advertiser can understand what a user is thinking the more they can produce content that they will enjoy. This should not only mean that advertisers and content producers should be able to tailor their content more accurately to encompass the kind of information the user may be interested in, but that the Facebook algorithm will interpret this information and display it to the users that will be most interested in the message it pertains to.


Grasp the opportunity 




As with most innovations online those who have seen the greatest success or the ones that have embraced the changes and taken advantage of the opportunities that come with them. Rather than viewing change as inherently a problem, try viewing it as an opportunity. Why not use the new button to get your followers to vote on whether or not they like or dislike brussel sprouts with their christmas dinner, or whether they prefer rock to rap music? As in the above example, this is a technique that content producers already use in the instance of encouraging voting via a simple choice to either like or comment on a post. [A post which simultaneously provides you a brief glimpse into my own Facebook feed – and therefore my life].


Why don’t they like me?


If a social media user really wants to get across a negative point of view they will get the message across in one way or another anyway. Also, there are already means by which Facebook users can avoid posts they don’t like or do not wish to see. Facebook users are after all only one click away from blocking content they are either uninterested, irritated or offended by.




If a user really wanted to avoid you therefore they would simply block you. While there is also the probability that they would express their feelings directly via the dislike button, this is by no means the be all and end all of your communications.


Listen to your followers


Savvy marketers have taken advantage of the transparency of social media as a way of not only communicating better with customers but improving the service they provide by listening to what they have to say. The introduction of something like a dislike button should only improve the accuracy of social media analysis and monitoring.


Not only this but as an advertiser there has never been such an opportunity to respond directly and immediately to any criticism with a response tailored to getting that disgruntled customer back on side. Whatever form the dislike button takes – whether it is called a “dislike” at all or something else – it is important to remember that the point of being social is that you listen and don’t just talk.


So what do negative reviews mean?


With the opportunity for an online review to potentially reach thousands of people instantly at the click of a mouse or the tap of a smartphone – and with the ever-increasing reliance upon these reviews by fellow online media users [as Graham Charlton of Econsultancy explains 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews] – the bad review has never been such a problem for advertisers. The addition of a dislike button would therefore appear to many to be yet another weapon that the disgruntled Facebook user has at their fingertips to be fired off indiscriminately at any moment.


As we have seen in the past however those who do best in the face of such an arsenal are the marketers and advertisers who listen and respond to negative reviews and that embrace any changes that are introduced by the social media giants.


By Paul Gregson