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I love Facebook Likes.

I guess I’ve always loved them, but I especially love them after starting my own photography business. Small business owners operate outside their comfort zones. When we put our work on Facebook, we’re putting our personal labors out there for the world to see. That’s a pretty vulnerable place to be sometimes.

So when I see people liking my photos and my Facebook page or sharing them with their friends, I know they’re rooting for me. To me, Facebook likes equal support, a quick click vote of confidence.

We live in a society where so much of our time is spent behind a screen. Online social networking is a way of life. Almost everyone we know is on Facebook and probably logs in a few times a day. And even though it’s so easy to click that little thumb up, so many people breeze right over it as they’re scrolling through their newsfeed.

I know that when you’re on Facebook you’re bombarded with fun things to like, share or comment on. From cat memes to someecards and inside jokes with friends, there’s a lot to like in your newsfeed. So I want to give you 5 reasons why your friends’ business pages should be one of them.

Facebook liking supports the small business. According to Entrepreneur Magazine there are between 25 million and 27 million small businesses in the U.S. that account for 60 to 80 percent of all U.S. jobs. So go ahead and like the Facebook pages of your friends and all other amazing entrepreneurs you encounter. You’ll actually be helping the economy when you do. Even if their product is not something you’re particularly interested in, it’s important to like your friends’ business pages because it lets them know you support them in their goals.

It’s also great to share business pages with friends because it might be exactly what someone else is looking for. So if your little nephew just started a shop selling hats for dogs, it may not be your cup of tea and that’s ok. Maybe you’re a cat person. Either way, your nephew’s putting himself out there and that is an amazing thing. Show him you support his efforts by liking and maybe even sharing his page. Unless it’s something that goes against your morals, it’s such a simple way to show you care.

Like recognizes like. When you like my stuff, it makes me want to like your stuff. There are a few people in my online community that I know I can count on for likes. I love those people! The ones that consistently comment, like, and share are the best cheerleaders! So it’s important to me to show them the same love whenever I can. Because they take the time to support me, I want to do the same for them. It’s a pretty easy concept.

So if you want more likes on your own stuff, share the love. You’ll see how easy it is to connect with people, make new friends, and strengthen existing relationships when you’re an active supporter of what they do.  All with a one second like. It’s amazing!

We notice when you don’t like. Opposite to the point above, I do notice when people don’t like my work. I know I don’t need everyone to like my photos to know that they’re good and keep going, but chances are if you’re a close friend or family member and you never like my work or even worse, my Facebook page, well, I’ve noticed. And to be honest, it kind of hurts my feelings. Maybe it’s not fair, but it’s true.

I know there are people who just don’t think that much into Facebook liking and I know they’re not ignoring me on purpose. Still, I think of it like this, if you were starting your own business and created a page, would you want or expect me to support your page and product? If the answer’s yes then do the same for me please!

You can help people you like win stuff! How many contests do we see posted on Facebook where the winner is someone who gets the most votes or likes? What’s crazy is that only a small fraction of that person’s friends will actually like the post and even a smaller percentage will share it with their own friends.

That’s just sad people. If everyone in that person’s online community came together to vote, they would surely win. So do it next time. Seriously. It’s the simplest thing you can do to support someone.

You don’t have to like posts that you don’t actually like. You don’t need to get all crazy with the liking and start liking things you really don’t like. It’s important to be true to yourself when liking.  For instance, I’d never like a company that gives loans to people, even if it was one my best friend started. I just can’t get down with that. So at the end of the day, use your best judgment when liking. You’ll be doing the poster a favor by letting him or her know what kind of content is genuinely more likeable so they can focus on that instead of the mediocre or straight up yucky stuff.

Now I do realize that some people aren’t exactly Facebook junkies and may not even know how to “like” a post. Which does seem shocking in this day and age but I’m sure it’s true for some. So here are a few simple technical tips for liking if you’re not sure how to do it:

– When you’re on Facebook, underneath every post is a little thumb up button that says ‘Like.’ When you click that, you have now liked the post. Yay!

– When you’re on someone’s business page, in the top right corner, there is a box with the word ‘Like’ inside of it. Click that and you have liked their page! Go you!

Here’s where things get a little more advanced.

Remember that nephew with the dog hats idea? Well, let’s say you’re just not into it and he’s blowing up your newsfeed with pictures of dorky gentlemen dogs. You really want to unlike his page but you don’t want him to know. There’s a great alternative for that!

– Go to the Like button at the top right of his page, click on it, and then unclick the ‘show in newsfeed’ option. Problem solved! It’s a truly wonderful function.

Now on the other hand, let’s say dogs in hats totally do it for you; you just can’t get enough of them. When you hover over or click the Like button, choose Settings and then select to see All Updates. This means you’ll never miss an opportunity to show your love!

At the end of the day, Facebook liking is a nice thing to do for the people you love and/or admire. It feels so great to support others and take an active interest in whatever it is the people around you are daring to try. So if you notice a post you like, remember to stop for a second to hit the ‘like’.

And maybe, if you’re feeling especially generous, leave a comment or share (wink, wink).

Happy liking!