Whats the Difference Between Likes, Comments and Shares?

All engagement is not created equal. Facebook knows this and so do you.

Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm (Edgerank) places a different weight on likes, comments and shares – giving shares the most weight, and likes the least.

And when you think about your own behavior, likes, comments and shares each have different meaning or intention.

Let’s break it down:

  • LIKES – Likes are the throwaway gesture of social media. When you like the Page Update, you’re essentially saying “Huh, that’s interesting. “ or “I like that.” Because this kind of action has very little depth to it, Facebook assigns very little weight to it in Edgerank.
  • COMMENTS – Comments are mostly (but not always) about ego. When you comment on a Page Update, you’re essentially saying “This is what I think.” Facebook assigns more weight to comments then likes in the Newsfeed algorithm.
  • SHARES – A share is the brass ring on Facebook. When you share a Page update, you’re essentially saying “All my friends have to see this!”.  This is huge in terms of exposure, word-of-mouth recommendation, and how credibility. Realizing this truth, Facebook assigns the most weight to shares.

How to get more shares on Facebook

So, if shares are the name of the game on Facebook, how do you get more? Here are a few quick tips to help boost the amount of shares you get on your page updates:

  1. Post awesome content - I’m stating the obvious here, but would be negligent not to mention the fundamental pillar of Facebook success. And by content I don’t mean photos versus text updates. I mean stories that are awesome.
  2. Include a call to action - Dan Zarrella published a study showing how CTAs in Facebook page updates increase likes, comments and shares.
  3. Make It Emotional - The only reason why anyone would share your page update is because it plucks at an emotion in their heart. If the photo inspires anger, say so. For example, in the updates pictured below from the Humane Society, the description starts off with “what the heck?” an concludes with “Share this if you think pigs deserve better!”
    Whats the Difference Between Likes, Comments and Shares?
  4. Make it Conditional - The main reason most people use Facebook is because they want to share who they are (or want to be). Putting a condition on sharing enables them to do just that. For example, if you say “Share if you know someone with breast cancer”, you’re giving your community a chance to share that part of their lives!
  5. Use External Channels – Don’t be “that guy” that just whines about Facebook hiding your updates from your fans. Take control! Use email marketing and other social media channels to increase exposure for the specific update.
  6. Measure – As you try different approaches, use Facebook Insights to see which approach works best. Again, Facebook is created through a process of experimenting and measuring.

What do you think?

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