dislike buttonFacebook has announced that it is adding a “dislike” button. While one’s first thought may be “wow, the negativity will now flow like a river,” one’s second thought should be on how this impacts law firms – because it does. I’ve written previously on how attorneys can brand their firms through the creation of Overlord Zuckerberg. That branding strategy will directly change due to this new feature so it’s important to give it a gander.

I’ve previously looked how attorneys can brand their firm through Facebook. The social network provides a much more cost-effective and far reaching option for “branding” than do traditional mediums such as billboards, radio ads, putting your name on the Goodyear blimp, etc. The approach you take on the network, however, is impacted due to the recent change. Let’s look at how this will likely alter the network’s algorithms and how you can adjust your content sharing strategy.

Facebook utilizes an algorithm when determining what you see in your personal news feed. This algorithm is necessary for an obvious reason – if each and every post was shown in chronological order then a user’s feed would not reflect anything except for what had been posted in the last few seconds. There is so much data going through the service at any given moment that content would constantly be getting “pushed down” the screen. Facebook uses data on one’s likes, clicks, shares, friend network, etc. to determine which content one is likely interested in and, in turn, shows content which matches those preferences. This is why you tend to only see content from a small portion of your friends, pages you follow, etc. “Dislikes” allows the company to improve it’s algorithm through the gathering of more data about a user’s preferences.

The network’s new “dislike” button will provide data as to which content it is that people do not want to see just as the “like” button provides data on which information it is people want to see. In other words, if three of my friends and I like the same company page, and I “dislike” one of that company’s posts, then that post will be less likely to be shown to my three friends who follow the page. Similarly, if I share a company’s pages post on a topic then dislikes will make that share less likely to appear in the feeds of my various friends. In other words, if your content receives dislikes than it will be less likely to be shown to people. For obvious reasons, dislikes can hurt an attorney’s efforts at branding their firm through the social network.

An approach will be to focus on content which will receive shares, likes, etc. but, simultaneously, is likely to be free of dislikes. While that may sound like a “no duh” statement, it can be hard to determine what that content actually looks like. The most obvious source is positive stories which relate to your practice area. Think of how often you’re looking at your feed and you see a story relating to someone overcoming a disease, etc. People like positivity and will share this content. Also, only ‘da most miserable of souls would hit dislike on such content. Want some examples of positive content? Consider these:

  • A criminal defense attorney comes across an article on a former criminal who has turned their life around and is now doing great – such an article should be shared
  • A bankruptcy lawyer can share stories of people who have gotten out of debt and how they did it
  • An attorney who deals with veteran’s issue can post articles on how veterans who have come home are enacting change in their community

Focusing on content which is helpful, positive, and unlikely to inspire negative emotion, is going to be important for law firm’s once Facebook’s new dislike functionality launches. Above are just a few examples of how one can do this.

What do you think of Facebook’s new feature? Chime in through the comment form below. Of course I would be remiss if I did not remind you to follow us on Facebook.