How to Get More Shares on Your Facebook Page

We run down the difference between Facebook likes, comments and shares.

Understanding-Facebook-EdgeRankby John Haydon

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

Facebook’s news feed 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 update, you’re essentially saying, “Well, 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 than likes in the news feed 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 credibility. Because of this, 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 I’d be negligent not to mention the fundamental pillar of Facebook success. And by content I don’t mean photos vs. text updates. I mean stories that are awesome.
  2. Include a call to action – Dan Zarrella published a study showing how calls to action 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 an update from the Humane Society, the description starts off with “what the heck?” and concludes with “Share this if you think pigs deserve better!”
  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” who 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. You’ll succeed on Facebook through a process of experimenting and measuring.

What do you think?

John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, or follow him on Twitter and Google Plus.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported.