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Like vs Share – the Facebook dilemma

Lately, people have been asking the question:

“What should we use, the ‘Like’ button or the ‘Share’ button on Facebook?”

Unfortunately, Facebook has been able to make it as confusing as possible.  So, I am going to do my best to try and give you the basic rundown of what I believe is how to approach the use of each.The Like Button
If the goal of your execution is brand recognition, then this is the way to go.  Think of it in the simplest way possible.  As a user you “like” things such as Marshalls or Southwest Airlines, but you wouldn’t “Share” the brand.

One of the drawbacks to “liking” a brand is how it displays on a user’s wall.  Unless a visitor adds a comment after “like” or “recommend” action, the link shared on Facebook profile will appear on the Wall as “Recent activity” item, i.e. there is no summary of content and thumbnail of image used on the page, so it gets lost.

The use of Recommend instead of Like on the Button
While it accomplishes the EXACT thing the Like button does, it use intuitively feels different.  Would you ‘Recommend’ a brand or would you ‘Recommend’ a particular aspect of a brand?  In my head, it gives the feeling of wanting to endorse a specific piece of a brand where the Like is more generic.

The Share option
From a user perspective, this is what you do when you find a funny piece of content, read an interesting article, or you want everyone in your network to see something you think is meaningful.  It is beneficial to have someone ‘Share’ an item so that it flows from that person out to their friends, appearing in their News Feed and hence allows that piece of shared content to stay relevant longer.  It is also much more detailed in that you can add a personal note and a thumbnail.

I hope that helps a bit!  Here is a good simple article showing some visuals.
Facebook Like vs Share

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