Social Media, over the past couple of years, has become very important in the lives of WordPress users from online eCommerce store owners to people who are running online courses and trying to sell digital products. It has also become one of the main ways WordPress designers and developers market their services online.
We are going to show you how to set-up your WordPress website to be really social media friendly to visitors. Also, we are going to show you how to easily and effectively publish your website content through social medial.
So let’s look at a number of social media WordPress plugins that can really help you put your social media outreach on steroids. To do this, we are going to subdivide these plugins into 3 main topic areas.
- Social Media Sharing
- Social Media Following
- Social Media Comments
Social Media Sharing
You have to get your articles shared on social media. This is done by using buttons on your WordPress powered website that make it easy for people to share your new great content on all the leading social media platforms.
We are going to look at some the best WordPress plugins that allow you to do this. However, there are a number of different ways of showing social media button on your website. We are going to look at the most popular methods in this article.
Online Social Media Sharing Services
You’re probably thinking, why should I use one of these services compared to just using a WordPress plugins? The main reasons are these:
- It can cut down on the number of individual social media plugins you will have to install on your website.
- If you have a plugin conflict and you need to keep the plugin that is conflicting with your normal social media plugin choices.
- Some hosting providers like WP-Engine will not allow you to install some of the most popular social media plugins because of stability and security concerns.
ShareThis: is a well-known service, not only for WordPress powered websites, but for a number of CMS (content management systems.)
The nice thing of this service is that interest connected to social media sharing is free and they also provide a nice WordPress plugin system that makes it really easy to integrate their online service.
Shareaholic: is another easy to use social media button sharing online service that is also totally free. They also provide a really nice WordPress plugin system.
AddThis: is another great fully featured and free online service that offers a lot and I mean a lot of free functionality. They also like all the online services I’m going to talk about here offer a nice fully powered WordPress integration plugin system.
I have used all three of these services on client’s websites that I have developed or I maintained for clients. I personally feel that ShareThis offered the best mixture of different button styles and core functionality.
Floating Social media plugin bars
Floating Social media bars are popular at the present moment. Here are some that you should look at. I’m not totally into floating social media bars just because they do take up a lot of page restate and are really in the face of your users. However, they are effective.
Floating Social Bar: from Wpbeginner. I’ve used this plugin myself of a number of clients websites and have found it one of best connected to loading times and core functionality and it’s also free.
Floating Social: from Wpmudev is another nice floating plugin. However, it’s not free. But on the other hand $19 is not that expensive. You get a lot of adjustment functionality with this plugin that you don’t see with most of the free plugins.
Jetpack: from Automatic has a floating social media bar as part of large plugin library of core functionality.
Flare: is another great looking media floating bar that is also totally free. I personally have not used this plugin, but it does seem to have all the functionality you would want with this type of plugin. It also has a very nice backend interface. You get a lot of color and placement adjustment functionality that you don’t get with some of the other free plugins.
Here’s a nice full article on Netmediablog that goes into some more detail on floating social media plugins and gives you a list of the seven most popular at the present moment.
Hybrid Semi Floating Bars
SumoMe: This is a great semi free WordPress plugin that positions a set of social media icons on left side of your website. We use this on WP-Tonic.com website.
Encourage social sharing with Social Share & Locker Pro: Is nice with a strong stylish look and priced at $14. One of the reason’s you would look at this type of paid plugin, unlike SumoMe, is the plugin is not sharing data that is going to be used and sold to a third parties.
Monarch: is another really nice looking plugin from ElegantThemes. It the best looking of all three however, it does cost $89 but you do get excess to all of Elegant Themes, themes for this price. The only problem with this is that you might only want the plugin and not all the themes.
Social Media sharing plugins
Social Sharing by Danny: This is a really nice lightweight social media plugin that allows you place social media buttons anywhere on your pages, posts or sidebars. It has its limits when it comes to styling, but on the other hand, it is free.
Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress: is really a great paid for social media plugin. It only costs $14. It is very flexible and powerful and offers a lot more options then Social Sharing by Danny.
Media Feather: is another social media icon and link building plugin which is also free. I have used this on a number of websites.
Social Media Following
The more people that follow your websites and your posts or articles the more you will influence others who will push people to your website. One the best ways to grow your social media following is to link your social media profiles all over your website and make it super easy for people to join your social media properties.
Social Media Widget: I normally use this particular plugin on almost all my own and clients website. It offers a lot of power and is very flexible.
Social Icons Widget: I really also like this plugin and use it almost as much as the Social Media Widget plugin. It has a different look with a more Apple flat style.
Helios Solutions Social Media Buttons: I personally haven’t used this particular plugin, but it looks good. It has some floating functionality that allows people to see your social media profiles.
Social Media Comments
Some people have said that comments on websites were semi dead with social media properties growing in power and influence. I personally can understand this because I don’t run or normally recommend active comments on most websites that I have been involved in. However, this has more to do with the active time that is needed to manage a truly functioning comment section on a website.
However, on an active website, a good comment area can really increase the power and usefulness of your website. One of the important areas is integrating your comments with social media so it’s much easier to login to a comment area.
Disqus: is very popular in the WordPress community. It is a hosted solution, but it has some great WordPress integration plugins. It is a free service, but like most of these free services your data is collected and used by third parties.
Livefyre: is less popular then Disqus. Its online service is impressive and you really should look at it
Jetpack Comments: is a very popular solution to making the administration and posting comments on a WordPress powered website much more easier experience. However, I’m not a big fan of Jetpack but it does do a great job. It is developed and supported by Automatic.
Social Comments: This looks to be a really interesting plugin with loads of power and flexibility. It is one of two plugin commenting solutions that I’m looking at the possibility of integrating into the WP-Tonic.com website in the near future.
Postmatic: is a new comment management plugin that has some really interesting functionality and is one of two solutions I will be looking at for WP-Tonic.com website.
Facebook and WordPress
Yes, we going to be talking about Facebook, and yes, many feel it is not as popular in the WP design & development community as Twitter. However, according to a Washington Post article last year, the number of people who use Facebook is nearly equal to the number of people living in China. How many people is that? About 900 million. You have to agree that is amazing!
With numbers like that, it would be hard to argue that Facebook isn’t worth your time if you run an online business or any business really. Social Media, Facebook and online social sharing in general is the lifeblood for many businesses.
If you’re not doing what you can to tap into that pool of possible clients, you’re likely missing out on a large audience who are thirsty for what you have to offer.
One of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to gain engagement (clicks, likes, follows and comments) is to display something related to FB in the widgetized areas of your site so that people can quickly connect with you.
I’m going to look at a number of WP plugins that have been developed to help you integrate your WP-powered website with Facebook.
Jetpack: we are going to start with Jetpack. Yes, Jetpack has a nice simple Facebook plugin that provides good basic functionality. We seem to have started with Jetpack quite a bit in this series; however, it does offer quite a bit in the social media area.
Not only does it have six Facebook widgets packed inside, it also has some great features to go along with it like using Open Graph for optimized shares, and short-codes for embedding in posts and pages. It uses the Facebook API to connect things, but it’s pretty easy to setup and get going.
Simple Facebook Plugin: if you are looking for a more simple solution then the previous two plugins this one might be perfect for you. It’s not only widget-friendly but it provides short-code functionality for posts and pages.
GoViral Facebook Share Popup: is a very powerful but expensive WP Facebook plugin solution at $300 +. However, if getting your website visitors to join your Facebook page is an important objective for you—this could be the solution you are looking for.
Facebook Page Promoter Lightbox: has some of the functionality that GoViral offers at a much affordable price i.e. it’s basically free. However, GoViral is a very basic plugin, but, if you looking for a simple plugin that has great lightbox functionality this might be just right for you.
What you can see from this small selection is that there are a lot of choices for how you’re going to link your WordPress-powered website to Facebook effectively. These range from giving people a simple of way of sharing your latest post on Facebook to methods of showing your Facebook fans’ latest comments on your WordPress website. Just remember, Facebook is a daily habit for almost everyone online these days, so being there puts your site in the mainstream of potential customers’ lives.