Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last fall that the social media site would feature a new “dislike” option following the more than six-year success of its “like” button. “Reactions”, a limited new feature which allows users to express themselves with additional emoticons “Love,” “Haha,” “Yay,” “Wow,” “Sad,” and “Angry,” was introduced as a means to convey empathy for friends and family, but will also be used to show irritation or discontent with brands and business with an online presence.
Social media has a huge impact on business success, evolving into a new – and permanent – word of mouth. In the age of online reviews, where any imperfect interaction can result in very loud discontent, businesses need to be very aware of what their consumers are thinking and feeling – particularly with regard to their product. Reactions, which is still in development with test-users based in Spain and Ireland, will provide consumers a “dislike” option when implemented. Though potentially dangerous for business, this feedback option will help companies respond to consumer complaints in real-time, ultimately upping their public status and their sales.
The problem with catch-all negative options “Sad” or “Angry” is that it will be difficult for companies to parse why their consumers are unhappy. Luckily Facebook’s comments option is increasingly popular and can be utilized to voice complaints or concerns. With the combination of a dislike and an explanatory comment, businesses know what is working and what to re-evaluate.
This direct consumer-to-brand communication is key to consumer happiness as long as businesses are responsive and follow through on the feedback they receive. Seventy-two percent of people who complain on social media platforms expect a response within one hour, according to a study by Lithium Technologies. If companies aren’t regularly monitoring their social media, this could be colossally damaging to their public reputation. But it works both ways; according to a study from the London School of Economics and the Listening Company, a seven-point increase in word of mouth advocacy can increase revenue by one percent.
When a business understands its customers’ wants and needs, it prospers. Studies show emotion is the number one factor in customer loyalty, which explains why sentimental commercials generally do better than commercials that don’t elicit emotion. Businesses that understand and reflect empathy are more competitive and more successful. If you are able to respond quickly and adapt accordingly, having a dislike button on a social media giant like Facebook will have a more positive than harmful effect on your business.
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