There is a plethora of social media sites out there but Facebook still reigns as one of the most popular social media platforms to expose your company or brand to the public. When you publish posts on Facebook your audience are given the opportunity to ‘like’, ‘comment’ or ‘share’ that post and we’re going to look at the differences between these three actions and which one is most valuable to your company from an online marketing point of view.
How does Facebook Measure the Importance of your Post?
Before looking at the individual actions, it’s good to know how Facebook decides which posts will take priority on a user’s News Feed. Facebook uses an algorithm known as EdgeRank. One of the main functions of this algorithm is to keep Facebook clear of spammy posts which are heavily circulating on News Feeds.
EdgeRank works by adding weighting to your post based on the actions users take towards it. Liking, commenting and sharing your post all have a different weighting so will affect the overall score once processed through the algorithm. The higher the score, the more Facebook is likely to show your post across News Feeds.
The EdgeRank algorithm is constantly changing depending on the latest emerging techniques that marketeers may adopt to encourage users to engage with their posts.
It’s all in the action
So what does a Like, Comment and Share really mean and how does it convey to the EdgeRank algorithm?
Likes – Likes are throwaway actions, they’re a quick one-click way of saying ‘I agree with what you’re saying’, ‘I like this kind of post’, ‘I don’t have time to comment but I enjoyed see this post on my News Feed’. By their simple nature, Likes have the lightest weighing, so score the least with EdgeRank.
Comment – Comments involve a little more commitment from your reader as they need to choose and type their words, they’re representing their own views of what you’re saying in your post which requires more thought than just a simple click on the ‘Like’ button. For this reason, EdgeRank will score comments a little higher.
Share – Shares are a much more forceful action, enabling the reader to push your post out to their friends and followers in a manner which says ‘You must read this’, ‘I totally agree with what this post is saying’.
On the flip-side, if your post takes a negative slant, perhaps it is regarding animal cruelty with an overwhelming message of why it must stop. A ‘Like’ for this kind of post could be seen as an agreement or enjoyment of the act of cruelty, completely missing the actual point of the post. However, a ‘Share’ gives the user the opportunity to state to their friends why they’re sharing this type of post, “I don’t ‘like’ animal cruelty and I’m sharing this because I agree with the post and we need to make it stop”.
Whilst users are not required to comment when sharing a post, there are a few extra mouse-clicks involved in sharing so it is fractionally more time consuming for the reader to get the shared message across, making the share all the more important. Due to the commitment required of the reader to share your post, EdgeRank considers a share to have more weighting so this action scores more highly than Likes or Comments.
Encouraging More Shares
So if Facebook likes to see more shares, how do we get more?
- It may be stating the obvious but give your posts the best content:
- Provide accurate facts which are less easy to dismiss
- Grammatically correct posts are more likely to be respected and shared than poorly constructed posts
- Keep the post short and use images where possible to catch the eye of the reader
- Include a call to action, if you’re asking your readers to like, comment or share on your post they’re more likely to do so. Just be careful how often you use this technique as EdgeRank will penalise you for ‘like-baiting’
- Keep your posts consistent and relevant to your industry or brand topic
- Keep your posts seasonal. Discussing how to cook a full Christmas dinner in the middle of summer isn’t going to generate an awful lot of interest at that time of year!
As your brand is attached to the share via the link to your Facebook page, the share is as good as a word of mouth recommendation which can only go to enhance your credibility and traffic to your website.
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