The Difference Between Liking and Sharing a Post on Facebook

Facebook Social media experts, this post is not for you. For everyone else, this might be new information, or information you already know but don’t ever really think about: What’s the difference between liking a post on Facebook and sharing it?

From your point of view, probably not much. You see something on there and you like it, so you click like or share and you’re done. From my point of view as a content creator, there is a pretty big difference, though. In a nutshell, when you click “Like” on Facebook, you let me know that you like something I’ve written enough to give it the thumbs up. That gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling, but does little else. However, when you click “Share” on Facebook, you not only indicate to me that you liked what I wrote, but you also put my content in front of a large number of your Facebook friends. Depending on how many friends you have, this introduces me and my brand to hundreds or even thousands of people who would not have otherwise seen it.

Say you love my book, or you want to let your friends know about my Spartan Obstacle Race classes, sharing those links on Facebook guarantees that many more of your friends will see that post and have a chance to sign up for the trial before all the spots are taken. When you do this, it makes me want to come over to your house and bake you a vegan cake as a token of my appreciation.

I sometimes lie awake at night (not really) thinking about what could happen if all of my Facebook friends and followers shared my posts instead of liking them. The possibility exists for a cascading pyramid effect: Assume that I have 200 friends and that each of them shares it with their 200 friends…and so on. Sharing, and not liking, is where the elusive “Power of Social Media” really happens.

There’s another way you can share posts with your friends and followers that works just as well, and that’s by using the social media buttons on the website where the article or post is actually published. At the bottom of this post, for example, you’ll see some social media buttons under my shameless plea for you to share this post. When you click on one of those buttons, the share dialogue box for that social media site pops up and lets you type a message to your friends and followers if you like. In the photo here I’m demonstrating Facebook, but it’s essentially the same for all of them:


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So, as you browse the internet in an effort to kill time and avoid work, if you happen upon something that you really like, remember to do the author a favor and share (don’t like) it with all of your friends.



  1. D Lilla says:

    Thanks! Might you help on one more situation? One are you didn’t cover that I’m still trying to figure out as a reader on FB who sometimes likes and other times shares. I get it form the creator’s perspective. What I don’t understand is: Some friends “like” something and it shows up in my feed. They didn’t share it, the post on my feed says “Jane Doe liked this” and it shows up on my feed, similar as when they share. That makes me wonder, do my “likes” show up on their newsfeed the same as my shares?
    What causes this? and looking at this from “me”, when should I like vs. when should I share so my friends see? I get that a share definitely will reach their feed, but if a like also does, then hum, I might want my own criteria of how I do it.

    • Rashelle says:

      Great question! Whether “likes” show up on someone’s feed or not has to do with the settings they have set on their account. Those friends of yours whose likes you see in your notifications or on your newsfeed have likely been designated by you as “close friends.” If you’re part of a group, the default setting is also to see posts made to that group page, so those will turn up in your notifications as well. I think the same is true for friends you’ve identified as “family.”

      So, it’s up to each person you are friends with as to whether they get notified and see a post whenever you like something. However, when you share it, many more of your friends (but probably not all, thanks to an algorithm Facebook uses called “Edgerank”) will see the post.

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