What’s The Difference Between Facebook “Share” and “Like” Button?

Before the “Like” button even exists, the only way to get your post shared across the Facebook network is via the “Share” button. With the new “Like” button, many webmasters rush to implement it on their sites, with some even replaced the “Share” with the “Like” button, without understand the differences. Some even think that the “Like” button is just a newer version of the “Share” button.

In this article, we will show you the differences between the Facebook Share and Like button and how you can utilize them effectively.

Facebook Share

As the word implies, the “Share” button allows the users to share the current page link to their wall. This is akin to the user going into their Facebook account and paste the link onto their status update box (aka as the wall). Facebook will then retrieve images from the link and turn it into a snippet entry in your wall.

facebook-share

facebook-share-wall

With Facebook Share, all your friends will be able to see the snippet in their news feed.

Facebook Like

The “Like” button allows the users to “like” a post. When a user “like” a post, it will show a single line entry in his/her friends wall, under the Recent Activity section (see the screenshot below).

facebook-like

facebook-like-wall

Like is similar to the thumb up in Digg, except that there is no “bury” button.

The differences

The only purpose for the Share button is to allow your reader to share your content with their friends in Facebook. The shared item is more visual as Facebook will decipher the link, grab the image and show a snippet of the post.

The “Like” button is more like a personal endorsement of the post/article/content/site. What’s more, the power of the “Like” button involves more than just “liking”. It basically creates a connection between the users and the publisher. When a reader likes your website/post/anything, he/she is literally subscribed to your news feed. You, being the webmaster, is now able to send a notification/update to his/her news feed.

In addition, if you implement the Open Graph protocol in your site, you can also get analytic about the people who “like” your content. All in all, the Like button is a more powerful implementation than the Share button.

Usage

The Facebook Share button can be generated from the Facebook Share page. The code used is a combination of HTML link and javascript. As of any share button, you can choose whether to include the share counter (number of times the post is shared) in the button.

The Facebook Like button can be generated from the Facebook Developers page. It can be added as an iFrame code, or if you choose to integrate the Facebook social plugin deeply into your site, as javascript code.

Should you use either button or both?

You are not restricted to either one of the buttons. It really depends on your preferences whether to implement one, or both, buttons. In fact, in Make Tech Easier, we implemented both buttons so that our readers can share/like depending on their preferences. However, noting how power the Like button can become, it is definitely something that you should not ignore, especially in this Web 2.0 era.

That’s all for now. How do you make use of the Share and Like button on your site?