Sure, the Facebook Share button is no longer officially available from Facebook. But that doesn’t stop sites from finding the code and using it. The question is – why are people (like myself) still using it and how does it affect your actual “like” count?
Customizing Shares with the Facebook Share Button
The main reason I still use the Facebook Share button on my blog over the Facebook Like button is for the way it works. When you click on the Facebook Share button, you will get the chance to do the following.
- Change the privacy of your shared post to Public, Friends, Custom, or only to be shown to specific lists.
- Post the share on your own timeline, on a friend’s timeline, in a group, on your page, or in a private message.
- Add a comment on why you are sharing the post.
- Change the thumbnail to one you like the best.
- Click on the title and description of the link and edit it to suit your needs.
When you click on the Facebook Like button, however, you only get the chance to add a comment.
It will then automatically show up on your Timeline as a public post with the thumbnail Facebook chooses and the default title and description.
The tradeoff with using the Facebook Share button over the Like button is that the people who don’t care how the post appears on their profile might be miffed at the fact they need to take the extra steps to customizing the post before it goes on their profile. You can satisfy everyone’s needs by placing both buttons on your website, but then you have less room to add other social sharing buttons. Since I have mine in a neat row at the top of posts, I would have to trade off my LinkedIn, Google+, or Buffer button.
Counting Shares vs. Likes
The next question about the Facebook Share button is what the difference is when counting shares vs. likes. I had the same question, so I used the links.getStats console for Facebook developers which you can only use if you have developed an app on Facebook. I only use the Share button on my blog posts, so I got the stats for one of my most popular Facebook posts on the new Timeline profile.
It shows the total count of Facebook shares as 467, Likes as 294, and comments as 276. Whenever I plug my post’s URL into the Like button code box, I get a total of 1,037 likes.
This means that whenever someone shares, likes or comments on your post on Facebook that it all will be totaled up as likes toward your post!
Getting the Code
Before adding the Facebook Share button, I will give you this disclaimer – although it is working now, it might not be for long since Facebook has redirected the page for their Share button to the Like button. If you choose to use it until it stops functioning, you can do so by placing the following code into your website’s template.
If you want the code for the Facebook Like button instead, you can get it via the configuration tool on the Like button plugins page.
Do you use the Facebook Share or Facebook Like button? Which one do you prefer using when going to someone else’s site? Please share your thoughts in the comments!