How Brands Can Be Sorry on Facebook

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 16 Sep, 2015

There has been a lot of chatter that Facebook is working on a "Dislike" button since Mark Zuckerberg's Q&A session yesterday when he answered questions from people around the world.


What consumers should know, however, is that Zuckerberg actually noted that Facebook is working on giving users options aside from "Like." That said, these options probably won't include the much-asked-about Dislike button.


"We didn't want to just build a Dislike button because we don't want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people's posts. That doesn't seem like the kind of community we want to create," said Zuckerberg.


Zuckerberg went on to note that while a Dislike button may not be the right choice for Facebook, there is a need for options that enable users to express other feelings than "Like." For instance, it feels uncomfortable to "Like" a post about a family member that has passed away or the current refugee crisis. Because of this, Zuckerberg says Facebook has been working on a solution. What this solution is, however, Zuckerberg did not disclose. Rather, he noted that the company has an "idea" that it is getting ready to test soon, and if the test is positive, this idea will be rolled out more broadly.


Despite having little information about the new option (or options?) that Facebook will be testing, Website Magazine put together a few ways brands may be able to leverage what could turn out to be an "empathy" or "sorry" button. While this is all speculation until we find out more about what Facebook plans to test, check out three ways brands may be able to leverage a new call-to-action (CTA) on the social network below:


1. When sharing sad current events.

Publishers will be the industry that will most likely benefit from Facebook's new feature. After all, Zuckerberg specifically provided that current refugee crisis as an example of a post that is uncomfortable for users to "Like." By enabling users like news organizations to replace the "Like" button with an "Empathy" or "Sorry" button, they will have the ability to set a better tone for the posts they publish on the social network.


2. To acknowledge consumers' not-so-happy comments.

While many think that the new CTA will only be displayed on a user's main post, there is always the possibility that this option could be available on comments as well. After all, users are currently able to "Like" and "Respond" to individual comments.


If this is the case, and Facebook's new CTA ends up being a "Sorry" button, brands could leverage this functionality when responding to consumer complaints. For instance, instead of a pizza shop owner "Liking" a customer comment that is informing the company that an order was messed up, the restaurant owner could click the "Sorry" CTA and then respond to the customer to try to resolve the issue.


3. To get audience feedback.

Zuckerberg didn't give many details when talking about the new functionality that will be tested, but he did hint that there may eventually be more than one alternative to the "Like" button.


"I do think that it's important to give people more options than just 'Like' as a quick way to emote and share what they're feeling on a post, so we've been working on this for awhile," said Zuckerberg.


It is important to note that Facebook's first test could simply be an Empathy button like "Sorry." However, if that test goes well, the social network could unveil additional buttons in the future, such as a "Disagree" or "Interesting" button. While these options likely won't be available on every post, users might even be able to customize their posts to include the CTA or CTAs that match up best with the content being published.


If this is the case, brands could leverage a CTA, such as "Disagree," along with the "Like" CTA to learn more about their audience's preferences. A retailer, for example, could post a story about one of "Fall's Newest Fashion Trends" and give their audience the ability to either "Like" the post or "Disagree" with it. In doing so, the retailer could gain some insight into their audience's fashion preferences, while also fostering a more interactive Facebook community.


The Wait Game

It is important to note, once again, that all of the aforementioned scenarios are pure speculation until we know exactly what type of functionality Facebook plans to launch. That said, it will be interesting to see how this new feature (or features) impact the user experience on the social network, and perhaps the rest of the socialsphere as well (maybe Instagram?).