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How a Facebook Dislike Can Affect Online Reputations

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Posted: 21/11/2015 Written by: Tim Miller

For years now Facebook fans have been asking the social network to add a ‘dislike’ button for status updates and, in September, during a Q&A session, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that the company was ‘working on it’.

This is not really a surprise as the introduction of a ‘dislike’ button is the most requested feature from the 1.5 billion Facebook users across the world. However, the social network is being cautious because the existing ‘like’ button is at the heart of Facebook’s brand and any changes need to be carefully considered.


Facebook is currently testing new emoji style buttons in Ireland and Spain which provide new ways for users to express how they feel towards a status update. These include ‘love’, ‘sad’ and ‘angry’ and could be a stepping stone towards a ‘dislike’ feature.


The reason behind the demand for a ‘dislike’ button is quite clear: many people use Facebook to express unhappy events and liking such a status often doesn’t feel quite right. However, the big concern is that a ‘dislike’ button may be misused and the social network wants to make sure this doesn’t push users away from Facebook. This is a legitimate concern because the company has been struggling to address the misuse of the ‘like’ button through fake accounts for several years.


So, if Facebook does give into pressure and introduces a ‘dislike’ button, how would this impact upon your company’s social media activity?


The new feature could in fact prove to be hugely beneficial in growing your social media presence and gaining a better insight into your target audience. The combination of a ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ button could be used as a type of ‘mini survey’ to gage how your consumers feel about a particular issue. This would provide a new avenue for obtaining invaluable feedback whilst making your customers feel more included.


A ‘dislike’ button could also help you grow your presence on Facebook by determining what type of status is the most popular and adapting your style of posting accordingly.


However, a ‘dislike’ feature could throw up some new problems for your company on Facebook such as rivals deliberately disliking your statuses. Social media evaluation would also become more complex because it might be difficult to determine if a ‘dislike’ is positive or negative depending on how a particular status is written.


Either way, a ‘dislike’ button would make the fundamentals of Facebook even more important:


  • Posting informative and engaging content (particularly photos and videos)
  • Engaging with your fans and not simply posting your own content
  • Regularly monitoring your company page and responding quickly to any criticism


Whether Facebook will introduce a ‘dislike’ button remains to be seen but, with social media changing so quickly, it is important to be aware of the current trends and discussions and to prepare accordingly through the development of a social media strategy. Equally essential is integrating this into your overall PR strategy because offline brand issues quickly find their way online onto social media.


If you would like support in developing an integrated PR and social media strategy then please get in touch.

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