Earlier in September, Facebook founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that the social media giant is ready to try other buttons other than the popular thumbs up. It’s not yet clear what the new features would be or when it will roll out. However, this is huge news—not just for avid Facebook users, but also for business owners.
Although some folks may argue that a lot of Facebook content is either sponsored ads or posts bordering on hoax or clickbait, one can’t deny the influence the network has played to shape our world today. With about 1.49 billion active monthly users, this platform is one of the best avenues for commerce and social agenda.
But with the introduction of new buttons looming, what does it mean for businesses? Will it change how we view, share, and digest information?
No Thumbs Down In the Future
Even though Zuckerberg has not pointed out what the new Facebook features would be, many are excited for the possibility of a dislike button. It’s true that Zuckerberg and his team have acknowledged the limitations of the ‘thumbs up’ in relation with less than stellar moments in life (such as a loss in the family), but that doesn’t mean the will be giving in to this idea anytime soon.
This is due to two main reasons:
- One, a dislike feature (similar to the vote down on Reddit) could discourage active users from freely engaging with others. Seeing something like that on someone else’s post or photo may also elicit feelings of resentment.
- Second, it’s not ideal for commerce. Can you imagine what companies would do if their posts were suddenly given thousands of ‘Dislikes?'
Facebook may be going out on a limb by trying to please most people; however, let’s give them credit in their attempt to build a community without resorting to unconstructive elements. One thing is certain though: the new buttons will impact small and big companies in ways we have yet to see. Here’s why:
Businesses Need To Respond To a Wider Range Of Digital Expression
There are currently three main ways to engage on Facebook:
- Hitting the like button to support something you find awesome
- Writing a comment on a post or photo
- Sharing content to increase its visibility
These are indeed limiting. If someone suffered a loss for example, likes would seem highly inappropriate. The most people could do is to comment. But what if you’re at a loss for words or lack the time to give a proper acknowledgement? Can a sympathize button be enough?
This opens up possibilities for misinterpretation. We’re all aware of the repercussions of social media blunders, like what happened when clothing company American Apparel posted what they thought was fireworks on Tumblr last July 4th, 2014. It was, in fact, the Challenger space shuttle disaster in 1986. Although they apologized for the incident, that social media fail is now embedded in blogs everywhere.
Once these Facebook features roll out, people may feel unsure when or how to use them. It’s even possible that users will give another meaning to these new buttons weeks or months after the launch. Businesses need to be prepared for the type of future responses they will get from their social media followers.
New Social Media Metrics May Be Implemented For Measuring Online Success
Audience engagement is a main metric in measuring the success of an online campaign. Even if a business Fan page has thousands of followers, if only a few are interacting with its posts (through comments, Likes, or Shares), their social media strategy is considered ineffective.
The thumbs up button has been crucial in determining the value content. Posts that were ‘Liked’ will appear on fans’ Facebook feeds; thus, increasing chances of brand awareness and further engagement. The question then is: will these new buttons have the same attributes?
There’s also the possibility that as these new buttons are the opposite of like, they may indirectly affect a post’s popularity. For instance: a post that has been disliked or given a neutral rating may be less visible on certain fans’ feeds. This will definitely affect how successful a Facebook campaign would be.
Another challenge these future features present is the likelihood of trolling. Although there would be no dislike button, other emotion buttons may be abused to show distaste or disapproval for certain posts. Social media experts for businesses should not only be extra cautious of what they post, but also take note of how these buttons influence engagement with their content.
Related Article: Which Social Media Metrics Actually Matter?
Beware of Scams for the Meantime
There’s no set date for when these exciting Facebook features will be launched. For the meantime, do not fall for scams that offer the dislike button (or anything similar). Facebook and other social media sites will never make users jump through hoops to activate fresh features. Stay tuned instead for further news or updates.
Are You Ready?
Using social media to promote your business is like a double-edged sword: on one side, it’s a quick and cost-effective method to reach out to your target market; on the other side though, is the prospect of your ideas backfiring on you.
What separates true entrepreneurs though, is the ability to think ahead and bounce back during adversity. Prepare for Facebook’s upcoming features—while at the same time, create alternatives for when your plans fail. Don’t be afraid of social media’s dynamic landscape.
After all, the most successful businesses are the ones who embraced change.