It seems that every site now has a Facebook Like button on it, but did you know that the number of Likes is made up of more than just people clicking Like?
The number shown on a Like button is the sum of:
- The number of likes for the URL
- The number of shares for the URL – This includes copy/pasting a link back to Facebook.
- The number of likes and comments on stories on Facebook about the URL
- The number of inbox messages containing the URL as an attachment
So lets say you have a blog post that had a Like button on it. The Like number showing would include:
- The number of times someone clicks the Like button.
- The number of times someone shares the blog post URL on Facebook.
- The number of comments that shared blog post gets on Facebook; across all shares.
- The number of comments on the blog post if the user is using the Facebook comment system.
- The number of times someone has sent the blog post URL to a friend via Facebook’s messaging system.
Basically, anytime that blog post URL is active on Facebook, a Like is added to the count.
This means that the number can be really inflated.
Some sites have chosen to use the Facebook comment system instead of their blog’s default comment system. So anytime someone leaves a comment, the Like number goes up.
This also means that, with so many factors influencing the Like number, one little change by Facebook could make the share number plummet.
Just yesterday I had a site drop from 250+ Likes to 3. Turns out Facebook temporarily stopped counting shares and comments and were only counting actual clicks. Few hours later it went back up. Facebook’s system is fragile; just ask any Facebook developer.
Ohh and then think of the ways you could increase the number of Likes by being creative with your content. The system is easy to game.
In the end this is all just a big marketing scheme to get people to use Facebook more. They know we are already addicted to the Like button, or actually the number on the Like button, and now they want us to use their comment system and share our URLs on Facebook as much as possible so they are using those to increase the Like number.
It really makes you wonder if the number of Likes is a sign of quality content, or just another number.