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Case of the Missing Facebook Share Counts

If you’ve been putting off making the switch from Facebook Share to Facebook like on your blog, don’t put it off another minute. I am currently traveling, but noticed that the share count disappeared from my site early in the week. I had been blaming the issue on poor loading due to the lack of connectivity I’d been experiencing.

After doing some research I found the issue of the missing share count was not isolated to my site.

The Facebook Share Count problem seems to have first been reported on the Facebook Developers Forum and is widespread, affecting sites like Huffington Post. The official bug report shows that Facebook is aware of the issue, but they are recommending to switch to the preferred Facebook Like Plugin.

Count displays are important to well-trafficked sites as they take advantage of a psychological phenomenon known as social proof.  Your sites visitors are more inclined to share content others have already shared. One of the biggest impediments -outside of missing functionality and crappy content- to sharing is a reluctance to be the first to perform an action. If a visitor can see that several others have already recommended a post, their confidence in their positive opinion is reinforced and they are more likely to take action.

Chances are not all of your readers are savvy in the social media world. Keep this in mind as you tweak the social features of your site. Any actions you can take that show your readers that sharing is “good” behavior will benefit your traffic in the long term.

New sites or sites with poor traffic may not want to display their like or share counts, as social proof works in the opposite way as well.  Bloggers who wish to overcome this barrier may find it useful to form a loose group of peers to help promote one another’s work. Choose your group carefully, it can be difficult to tell another blogger that their content isn’t strong enough to be worthy of promotion.

 

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