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 Some even think that the “Like” button is just a newer version of the “Share” button.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?

Damien Damien

Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

14 comments

  1. This indeed is a great article, yet it still didnt answer my own question which is- how to attach a Like button to your individual post, and not just your entire blog. I actually implemented the code into html that makes a Like button appear on each of my posts.. but when i Like it, on my facebook profile it links it to the entire blog, not the specific post. What is the difference between those two?

    1. The simplest way is to use the iframe code found here (http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like). In WordPress, replace the URL (after the href) to <?php get_permalink();?> and paste the full code to your single.php template.

  2. You can do so much more. It’s called open graph tags and they are awesome!

    They allow you to embed a fully functional, custom video or audio players right inside status updates of Facebook. If you follow my tutorial you will be able to apply the same method to control images, descriptions, titles and much more when people share or like your pages.

    This is my tutorial: http://ahrengot.com/tutorials/custom-video-player-on-facebook/

  3. Thanks for explainig this topic. I couldn´t tell the difference between “Likes” and “Shares” before I read your aritcle.

  4. The best thing is to monitor the analytics and see which one is best for your site. Different site has different dynamics. For us, the Share button is more utilized than the Like button and bring in more traffic.

  5. I was confused about why there was a change and what the like button meant. Whether it would come up as a Like on your interests page. Instead it simply shares the article and there is no record on a users interests section. I personally preferred the share button for this reason, as a user I could chose to inbox someone or post to my wall and chose who could see this. Instead the like button is fast and quick with less preferences. It depends on your site. Having both is handy though!

    1. Personally, in terms of traffic generation, I have found that the Share button is more effective than the Like button, but this could be site-dependent.

  6. In fact the Like button CAN have the same function as the Share. Just use the XFBML version of the API, and a comment box will pop out. Alternatively, use the standard iFrame version and make it larger than 400px. Comment box should automatically pop up.

    Check FB’s support page for clarification.
    https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like/

  7. Another differentiator is the fact that a “Share” can be integrated into a native android application code, using facebook graph SDK, but the “Like” CANNOT be integrated in a similar way.
    I have no clue what is the reason for this difference.

  8. Where in the HELL can I find the generator for the “Share” button???   Everyone keeps posting about it, but NO ONE is offering up it’s source!  _ I DO INDEED know the difference between like & share, so don’t ask that.  And On That Note, please, for the love of God, do NOT offer me another link to the “Like” button generator again!  – I want the “Share” button, is there at least ONE SINGLE PERSON on this planet that actually knows where the damn thing is?  And one that actually works??? – Please!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. The URL is

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

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