Like. Like. Like… Everybody knows someone who likes everything on Facebook. Whether it’s your mom, your grandmother, or your wacky Aunt with six cats, “chronic likers” are hard to miss.

It’s almost as if the like is the modern day metric of success. Everybody is guilty of scrolling through Facebook’s infinite feed, liking status updates, pictures, advertisements and the latest viral buzz. But why does that simple click mean so much to you? What goes on in your brain as you enter into autopilot mode and mindlessly like things as your scroll down your feed? Believe it or not, there’s a science behind it.

As a business owner, understanding the psychology behind Facebook liking will not only help you create a better social media marketing strategy and reach more customers, it will give you a leg up on your competition.

What is the psychology of liking on Facebook? Take a second to review these three points to get a better understanding of what goes on in the mind of a user as they like your Facebook content.

1. Liking is an Act of Human Acknowledgement

Liking something on Facebook is a form of human acknowledgement. By liking a status update or new profile picture, you are communicating with that person or business, providing them with positive feedback, and showing them you care. It shows unity with their way of thinking.

Liking isn’t always about expressing affection. It’s a form of acknowledgement or understanding. According to a study reported in Psychology Today, a like can be a way of displaying “virtual empathy,” which is a good indicator of the ability to express real-world empathy.

2. Liking Asserts Who You Are as a Person

A like doesn’t just affect the recipient of that like. There’s more to it. When you like status updates, pictures or Facebook Ads, you are publically expressing agreement by clicking the button.

In contrast, when you compliment someone in person, it doesn’t cost you anything. People send compliments with ulterior motives or to gain something in return (“I love your outfit today… Can I borrow your car?”).

You don’t always have to be telling the truth when you pay someone a compliment. However, when you like something on Facebook, you stamp your name on it and it affects your reputation online. Your likes become a reflection of yourself. It tells an authentic message: this is who I am, this is what I believe in, this is what I am about.

3. We Like to be Liked and Want Something in Return

Although only few of us admit it, everybody loves to get likes. When you like someone’s Facebook update, there is always the implicit hope that the gesture will be reciprocated. It’s part of human nature to want to be recognized and appreciated. As a Facebook user, you are subconsciously looking for psychological feedback.

So what can we learn from these sparkling psychological insights? It’s important to know and understand your target audience. Whether you do it on your own, or an Internet marketing agency is in charge of your social media management, it’s time to dig deeper.

Know who it is you are connecting with. Learn more than their demographics. Understand their preferences and what motivates them on a deeper level.

By taking a second to comprehend the psychology of Facebook liking, you will be able to create a stronger social media marketing strategy that will entice your audience to communicate with your brand. While you’re at it, reach out and connect with your followers and brand advocates. Everyone loves to be liked, so give them that sense of affirmation they desire.

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