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Will Facebook “Dislikes” Become a New Reputation Headache for Direct Sellers?

The Social Network Unveils “Reaction” Buttons, Creating More Ways for Users to Give Feedback

Recently, Facebook announced it would be adding new “reaction buttons” to its commenting features. Though some jumped to the conclusion that this would be equivalent to a ‘dislike’ button, there was room left for interpretation about what exactly the buttons would do.

Now, nearly a month later, the company has started testing the new reaction buttons in Ireland and Spain in the hopes of improving the feature leading up to a global rollout. As well as the classic ‘like’ button, users can now choose from six other options to express their feelings on a status, picture or video.

Among the new emojis is an ‘angry’ reaction button (first described in Regina Melo’s recent blog post) which may have implications for direct sellers who are dependent on Facebook for communications, influence and consumer sentiment.

What does this mean for direct selling brands?

Here are a few considerations:

Engagement – With the new emojis, we’ll likely see a declining rate of subjective comments, however we believe that overall engagement will likely increase, as more actions are taken that may not have happened otherwise. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that “not every moment is a good moment if you share (a sad event) that touches you.” With more available options, engagement will likely get a boost.

Data and Sentiment Scoring – Certainly the ability to capture sentiment post-by-post will provide publishers and brands with more specific data around audiences and engagement. “Typed” engagement makes things more interesting but is more difficult to measure in the aggregate. Expect the objective data to become more accurate and overall analysis more scalable, while the subjective engagement rate will flatten.

Mobile – We believe a primary driver for this change is mobility: It’s easier for a mobile user to click an emoji than type out a comment. Considering the majority social users are now on their phones and often unable to comment while mobile, brands should likely see a jump in mobile engagement.

Newsfeed Algorithm – It’s a good bet that the new emojis will be added to Facebook’s algorithm to help determine how content gets distributed, and ultimately, campaign success. Brands should continue to strive to create relevant, compelling content that gets shared. As is always the goal on Facebook, what’s interesting gets shared and what’s boring does not (at least that’s the goal.)

Our predictions for direct sellers on the new emojis:

  • It is unclear if the reaction-based buttons will extend to business pages in the short term, but we predict they’ll eventually make their way to all Facebook commenting.
  • Brands will be pleased to see more informative data around sentiment. In particular, we may get a better understanding of how content is performing—brands will have a better idea of how content was received and if it struck a chord—or struck out.
  • From a direct selling brand perspective, the new buttons will help us further understand audience sentiment and brand perception. This will be valuable information that can help shape brand strategy and messaging on a core business and social media level.
  • Importantly, direct sellers should be aware of the reputation aspects of an easy negative sentiment option. We may see more blowback from poor or mistaken content choices, in real time and possibly with a score that will be readily viewed by new visitors. Negative sentiment will certainly reveal brand weaknesses and may create a hesitation to be open and share information with the field.
  • Training the field will be important for the industry. Consistency will be key: you may wish to educate your field to help establish a unified approach of using the emojis in certain contexts when speaking about or to the brand.

Compliance concerns also arise for direct sellers on Facebook. As of last May, “Liking” a company on social media — or posting a photo of one of its products to Pinterest — can be equivalent to an endorsement, as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) outlined in guidance about online endorsements. But how will it view a “Love” emoji?

Only time will tell.

To discuss these changes and their possible compliance as well as reputation repercussions, feel free to contact our team.

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