Facebook Share vs. Facebook Like Button

Dec 9, 2011   //   by Kristi Hines   //   Social Media  //  27 Comments

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.

Facebook Share Button

  • 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.

Facebook Like Button

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.

Facebook link.getStats Share and Like Count

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.

Facebook Like Count

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.

<a name="fb_share" type="button_count" href="http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php">Share</a><script src="http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/connect.php/js/FB.Share" type="text/javascript">

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!

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Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Don't miss her Web Domination Review on Kikolani. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!

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Comment Policy

  • I generally like the “like” button b/c it’s quick and easy.

  • Daphne says:

    Like is much, much better than share. There are certain things that I like but not necessarily want to share. ;)

  • Gerald Weber
    Twitter:
    says:

    I would agree with the other commentators. I tend to prefer liking over sharing on FB. It’s more simplistic.

    • David
      Twitter:
      says:

      Me, too…for the simple reason that I might like a lot of posts about social media and Internet marketing, but my FaceBook friends are mostly people I know from various past lives in the real world, and they would not want their stream to overflow with a bunch of social media, blogging and SEO stuff from me.

  • Debi
    Twitter:
    says:

    I prefer the share button so I can customize my post. It only takes a couple extra seconds.

  • Ray says:

    Seems like a lot of people don’t fill in the write something or comment when using either the share or like. Whatever thumbnail comes up is what they use and they just click share link or post to facebook unless for some reason they are sharing their own link. Not always, but it just seems like people are in a hurry and don’t bother too much to add more details.

  • Tessa says:

    Most commonly i prefer share the post with customized option. So that i select people whom to share.

  • Bill says:

    I’ve noticed my Share buttons are broken the last few days. No changes on my end. Anybody else experiencing the same?

  • wasel says:

    I did not even realized the difference between the two. I always assume them to be the same. Anyway, i like the ‘share’ button because it allows me to post to my page.

  • Tobi
    Twitter:
    says:

    I prefer the Share Button, as customization makes it more beneficial.

  • Raf says:

    What about the link back and SEO advantages if any? Does liking a page give a link back to the page thereby boosting Google or Bing search rankings? Surely it should do that with sharing a page as the link itself back is being posted correct? Please share some insight into this.

  • Raghuram
    Twitter:
    says:

    The like button is being used on my site as of now and share button which the facebook has discontinued promoting is not good as per my view

  • John Webster
    Twitter:
    says:

    I see there is no share button on this page. Have you changed your opinion recently? I am not a fan of the SHARE button but have a client who insists. Curious about your thoughts now.

  • Marijn Rongen
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’m the creator of the Social Sharing Toolkit you use on this site and actually came here through a search for the difference between likes and shares as a lot of people still ask me to include the share button in the plugin.
    Thanks for making the difference clear in this post. The next version of the plugin (on which I’m working as I type) will include the share button.

  • For me, the two icon has its own advantages and disadvantages. I love to use the “like
    bottom because of its simplicity. After i read this post, i went to my facebook and check to see what is the real status of this “share” bottom. Unfortunately, i couldn’t see it there anymore.

  • Kyrre says:

    The problem with the Like button is that one can only like a page once.

    I work for an airline company, and we want our customers to like the WiFi landing page every time they are onboard a WiFi plane. With the Like button that is not possible unless the user unlike it and then relike it :)

  • I see I have th elike button on my site, but never realised there was that big a difference.

  • Tom says:

    Thank you for the information. I have a few questions, and I can’t think of any place else to ask.
    Background:I have a website I have been working on for about a year. Someone said I needed to add social networking buttons. (It is a Joomla website.) I am older and am not on Facebook or Twitter or Google + or any other social network and have tended to resist getting into something new. I looked through all the Joomla extensions and found two social networking extensions I like. One has Facebook, Twitter, and Google + on top of every article (I used the Share button). The other extension adds a whole series of buttons, not to the individual articles, but to my home page. I know I get hits on my site, because I use an extension that gives me the number per day. So far I have no Likes or Google +’s that I can see (or positive Tweets). If I hover over the Share button it says “1″. That’s it. So here are my questions:
    1) Do I myself have to be on Facebook or Twitter or Google + for these buttons to work for people who visit my site and want to Like or Share or whatever?
    2) What does that 1 mean when the mouse hovers over Share?
    3) If anyone ever does do Like for Facebook or Twitter or Google +, will I see it on all pages of my site where there are buttons or only for the specific article where they leave the feedback?
    4) Does the way I have set it up make sense — one set for the individual articles (at top) and one for the home page?
    5) Does the choice of Facebook, Tweet, and Google + make sense, or should I look for an extension that allows me to insert more buttons?
    Thank you so much in advance for any help.
    Tom

  • Great article. I’m new to facebook and social media so I have lots of questions. This article really helped.

  • Greg says:

    Replacing the “Share” button with the “Like” button is a bad software engineering practice, and Facebook deserves to be chastised for it. The Like button requires the use of the Facebook “Platform” which is advisable to leave off for security and privacy reasons, often left on by people who simply don’t know any better.

    Without the Share button, the workaround is to copy/paste the URL and share that. This is also advantageous as if give the user the opportunity to strip useless and sometimes invasive metadata from the end of the URL and customize the preview title, text, and sometimes the image as well.

    Naturally, those that support Facebook’s disregard for its users’ privacy and security will feel differently, although Facebook’s recent disastrous stock IPO is probably partially an indicator that tolerance for Facebook’s manipulation of its users is limited, at best.

  • Paul says:

    I notice that the FB like button from this plug-in doesn’t generate a Facebook pop up box to add any additional comment (using Chrome at least). I can like and it will appear on my timeline but no supporting comment.

  • Shanti Mai says:

    I am building a special page with an offer that people can post to their Facebook feed, and am looking for the code for a Share on Facebook option. I keep finding information about sharing once I’m ON Facebook, and code for counting how many times something’s been shared, etc. Help! I just need the code to put ON a webpage, not on FB itself, but to send something to FB to be shared. I hope I’m clear? My head is spinning!

  • Jamy Hoster
    Twitter:
    says:

    The like button and share both have great effect with your site and gives you users.
    Thank you for this sharing as you have given all cods which are needed for the sites.

  • Jay Castillo says:

    Hi Kristi, I also prefer the share button although I decided to add both on my vertical sharebar. It seems people prefer sharing over liking as I get a lot more shares.

    By the way, I noticed that shares are no longer counted as likes. Before it was, but not anymore, bummer.

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