I know, I know, you’ve all heard it before…‘Sharing is caring, yada yada, yada’, but is it really?
Yes, I believe it is.
(Before you read on, this is not a rant, even though it looks like it could be. Lol. This is merely an observation on the workings of Facebook, and some guidelines I personally follow before Liking, Commenting or Sharing anything on my business or personal walls)
We all like to get Likes on our Facebook posts and images. They tell us that our audience is watching and appreciating what we post and it makes us feel good. Comments are good too, they tell us that the commenter likes the post enough (or not, if the post is contentious) to leave a little note for us to respond to. Sharing tells the poster that the sharer not only Likes your post, but likes it enough to tell all of their friends and followers about it. Wow! A huge reach for something as simple and as easy as a great product photo or a link to a blog page ( 🙂 ) But what is the difference between Liking, Commenting and Sharing?
Liking is a quick and easy way for us to tell one another something about the post in question. That is, we ‘Like’ it. And that is about it, really.
I know that ‘X’ likes my post because they hit ‘Like’. It doesn’t feed into anyone else’s stream unless ‘X’s friend, ‘Y’ follows my page too, and then they can see it also. And that is where it stops, unless you are keen eyed enough to see the little activity stream in the top right of a computer screen flicking by with your friend’s activity…and it goes by pretty quickly too so the fact that ‘X’ liked my picture is likely to be missed by ‘Y’.
So, a like is a good way of showing your appreciation of a post of someone else, and it lets them know with a little pat on the back. Nice. Likes are good…but…
Comments Are Better
Leaving a comment on a post tells the poster that you are moved enough by the post content to tell them something…and this is great, as it is usually accompanied by a ‘Like’ for that post. The poster can then enter into a dialogue with the commenter(s) about the post and who knows where that will lead? A sale perhaps? It has worked for me…so it is important for businesses to reply to all comments as it could lead to a sale. What it also does is tell the commenter that the poster appreciates their comment enough to write a reply.
Personally, I like to write an individual reply to all comments, not simply a cut and paste job to bulk reply to a particularly popular post. Replies can be read also, and a list of replies that read ‘Thanks for your comment’, or suchlike, frankly looks uninspired and unappreciative of the original comment. Call me old fashioned, but if I take the time to write a thoughtful comment, a thoughtful reply is appreciated much readily than a cut and paste.
Yes, it can be difficult and time consuming to reply to a raft of comments for a particular post, but something as simple as adding the commenter’s name to reply shows you have at least noticed who wrote the comment.
Sharing is Best
By sharing a post, you not only tell the poster that you like what they have posted, but you like it enough share it amongst your friends, perhaps with a comment about how you feel about it. BUT, and there is a but here. You can’t go sharing everything you see just to make the poster feel good. Careful consideration of what you share to your friends is important. You are likely to lose friends, followers and fans if you share stuff willy-nilly.
You know your friends better than the page owner of a post you like. Do you share it? Hmmm….not sure. In my opinion, something should only be shared if you feel your friends, or at least a good sized proportion of them are going to appreciate your doing so. If in doubt, don’t.
If you are a business page, your fans and followers are following you for a reason. What is that reason? They are either friends of yours liking your page because you invited them to. This is lovely of course, that they care enough about you to follow your business too, and they are very likely to like, comment or share a post amongst their friends. The second reason is that someone follows you from a share or a post on page you regularly post to yourself. Somewhere there is a certain amount of similarity between you. Similar businesses perhaps? Like minded, or perhaps they are curious about what you post; your products etc? Or, they found you from a share from someone you both know. At least in the early days of a page’s life.
Thirdly, your competitors…and you should follow them too!
Take a look at these very basic scenarios…
You post a great picture of a product with a cool description and a price etc.
Your 2 fans with 200 friends each Like the product post. How many people see it? 2, and you know they like it.
Now, the same two people Comment on the post. How many people see the comments? 2, and you have a chance to enter into a dialogue and possibly make a sale.
The same two fans now Share your post on their own walls, perhaps with a comment to introduce your post. How many people are likely to see it? 400!
The reach of a post from just one or two shares is huge compared to a few likes and comments.
Let me just say again that there is nothing at all wrong with likes and comments. On the contrary, they are vital to letting the poster know that the post has been seen. Better still, the post is liked so they can gauge what content they post is good or not.
Think Before You Share
Before you head off and share everything in sight, be thoughtful about what you share and where. Share stuff that you think your fans are going to enjoy looking at…something that inspires you perhaps, or something you found interesting…not just your own stuff. And don’t, just don’t spend time on making every post a sales one. Social media should be just that: Social. A few marketing posts here and there are good…but not every single one! You are a person, and people buy from people. But that is for another post on another day.
Sharing on your page should be a considered action. Sharing stuff, as we have discussed is brilliant for reaching more people, but don’t share for the sake of it. Ask yourself some questions…
- How many of my friends/followers would like this or be interested in it?
- Am I that interested in this post to want to share it?
- Would I like to see something like this shared on my wall?
I think the last question is interesting. I post stuff on my business wall and my personal wall that I wouldn’t mind seeing shared by my friends and followers. Similar people follow similar people – flocking, I guess!
To Coin a Cliche
At the end of the day, it is a matter of personal choice to share or not share, like or not like. And it is important not to share for a share or like for a like. You are going to gain false ‘fans’ that like your page simply because you liked theirs, even though you probably don’t…and this is another post for yet another day!
If there is something you really like that crops on a wall you are browsing, then ask the questions above and if it feels right for your audience or friends, then share it. You could be helping a small business, sole trader, craftsperson reach another few hundred people…and maybe they’ll even send you a personal ‘Thank you’ message for your troubles.
So what do I mean by Sharing is Caring?
To be honest, it is more about caring what you post/share on your own wall as much as it is about posting onto other peoples. Share if you care enough about a post that you believe will be of use or interest to your audience. By not sharing everything you see, you do your audience a favour by not filling their streams up with endless posts selling stuff from other people, there are brilliant pages that do this for you. It is your audience that is most important to you. Your audience follow YOU, and are interested in YOU and what interests YOU. So show them what interests you, and the odd thing or other that you think they might be interested in. Be considerate of them. They can leave you very quickly indeed…and they probably won’t come back either.
Thanks for reading.