I was recently asked “Is it smarter to ask your fans to Like or Share your Page’s content?”
The source of the confusion stems from the Weight of the two objects and which object tends to have a larger dent on social lift.
The answer resides in a cross section of psychology, marketing, and Facebook’s ecosystem.
Likes are definitely a lighter Weight than Shares in Facebook’s algorithm, Edgerank.
Yet, it really boils down to the type of content that is being pushed to the news feed.
It isn’t be advisable to ask fans to Like something serious that should be Shared, just as one shouldn’t ask fans to Share something that should only be Liked.
Enter Common Sense
What’s interesting about this, is that the human psyche seems to step in and take care of this for us. Content that should be Shared, tends to be Shared above average (as compared to Like engagement levels). It seems that human psychology takes care of this issue, with or without calls to action.
In an incredibly unscientific example, take a look at the difference between these two stories from Coca-Cola:
The Polar Bear post above is asking users to be involved in a social cause. Shares for the object exceed 1,100 Shares, illustrating fans desire to Share a worthy cause. This touches on human psychology and how people approach objects in the news feed.
We also probably like sharing cuddly animal photos.
The “Coca-Cola Is Like ________” post is ultimately a call-to-action for Likes. The post received over 13,000 Likes but only ~250 Shares. This post is inherently more Likable than Sharable, which has been reflected in the engagement levels.
The Call To Action Lesson
Calls to action tend to significantly increase the likelihood of these actions, only if the call to action is in congruence with the user’s psychological choice of engagement.
Now that I’ve made this answer way more complicated than it should be… I’d recommend developing content that is truly Sharable as opposed to content that is only Likable.
Content that is Sharable will inevitably be Likeable as well (as we saw in the Polar Bear post, it picked up nearly 10k Likes), whereas Likable content may or may not be very Shareable.