Getting many likes is one of the main goals of any Facebook marketing effort. These likes boost the prominence of a page, attracting more people and engagement. Are you curious as to why people respond to Facebook likes that much? Let’s take a quick look at the reasoning behind it, and find out how you can use it to your advantage.

Liking as a form of acknowledgment

The most basic function of Facebook’s Like feature is to show appreciation. You see a post in your feeds that interests you, you hit the Like button. In the years since Facebook launched, the use of likes has gone beyond that simple purpose.

Likes have now become a way to convey acknowledgment. When you see a post that you agree with and you click Like, you essentially tell the poster “I am with you here.” On the other hand, if you read a post about someone’s situation like this one, you might “Like” that to show the poster that you care about them.

Psychologist Larry Rosen calls this phenomenon “virtual empathy.” He notes that the phenomenon has limitations in conveying specific emotions, but that does not deter people from using it to connect with their peers.

Earning social capital

We saw how virtual engagements like Facebook Likes serve as a means of conveying our emotions for others online. As it turns out, the doer of such actions also gains something in return in the form of social capital.

Social capital refers to the network of relationships we build when engaging with other people. People attempt to gain more social capital in the hopes that it will give them positive returns in the future. For instance, some might like posts in the hopes that others will like their own content.

This ultimately ties back to the desire to assert ourselves. We “like” Facebook posts not just to tell the poster we agree with them but also to tell the public about this.  Marketer Neil Patel noted that you can even learn a lot about a certain user just based on the posts that they like.

Taking advantage of Likes psychology

Now that you know some of the reasons behind people liking posts on Facebook, you can use that knowledge to plan out your content. Adding more visual content is one way to attract the attention of people and get them to like your posts. Facebook has, in fact, introduced a variety of different visual content formats, like 360-degree photos and videos, to get people engaging more.

Creating polls is another way to generate more likes on your page. As I said above, people want to publicly affirm their views, and polls are a common channel for them to do so. In fact, many Facebook polls use the “React your choice” mechanic for their polls, where participants use the appropriate reactions (not just likes) to state their options. This works as an effective way to gain more engagements since you get more than just Likes.

Facebook contests also work well for tapping into the psychology of likes and gaining engagements. Simple “Like and share” events will work well here, as they can quickly go viral.

Such contests also work well in attracting more followers.

The psychology behind Facebook likes gives you a lot of useful insights on how your audience’s thought process shapes their online interactions. Next time you create your Facebook campaign, take these nuances into account. Soon enough, you will find your posts swarming with likes.

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