Social media plugins help you integrate social media feeds into your site and get your content out, giving your customers an at a glance view. They make it quick and easy for users to share the stuff they like on your site in their own networks or follow you on yours. Social media is important for driving traffic to your site, so it pays to make sure your site and social feeds are in sync. Think of social media plugins as hidden extras that blend into your site perfectly, while boosting your brand.

A LOOK AT SOCIAL MEDIA PLUGINS

Do your homework

Before installing any plugin including social media plugins, you need to do some research and ask some important questions. For example:

  • Is the plugin compatible with the latest version of WordPress – i.e. when was it last updated?
  • How many downloads has it had?
  • Is it well rated by reviewers?
  • How good is the ongoing support?
  • Is it cost-effective?

Once you’ve found a plugin that ticks all these boxes, there’s an element of trial and error as you’ll need to test it fully to make sure it does what you want it to do. Even once you’ve made your selection, getting to grips with any plugin involves a learning curve.

Some recommended social media plugins

Scriptless Social Sharing, from Robin Cornett

  • Free

Its creator is up front about this plugin’s lack of bells and whistles. If Simple Share Buttons Adder is lightweight, then this is superlight flyweight. You just tick a few check boxes to decide which social media buttons to put where on your site. And as with some of the others, you can put them above, and below your content.

As well as adding buttons to new posts, you can add them to archive content, and the plugin currently has a 100 per cent five star rating (although not from many reviewers!) Download it at https://wordpress.org/plugins/scriptless-social-sharing/.

We’ve looked at how powerful plugins are for your website, and equally, social media has transformed our ability to reach potential customers. Combining the right social media platforms with the right social media plugins could really take your site to the next level.

Simple Share Buttons Adder, from Simple Share Buttons

  • Free

As you’d imagine, this lightweight open source plugin lets you create and place share buttons on your site easily, in a choice of location, using custom imagery options. There are three Plus version price packages, from $10 a year (around £8) to $100 (around £78). These offer click tracking, URL shorteners and shortcodes, and have 11 sets of buttons that can be scaled for different devices, and customised with hover effects and colours.

It’s one of the most basic of our recommendations, and may be a good starter option. More at https://simplesharebuttons.com/.

Monarch, from Elegant Themes

  • Annual developer access for $89 a year (around £70), or
  • Lifetime access for a one off payment of $249 (£195).

I use this more than any other social media plugin. It’s versatile, mobile friendly, and doesn’t slow your load time too much. Why do I use it? I believe it achieves the most important tasks …elegantly! From your website your main aim is to get people to either share your content or follow you on social media. This does the job and has great flexibility. From a business point of view I have to justify the cost of signing up to an Elegant themes subscription, even though I don’t use the themes it’s worth investment to get this baby! 

With it, you can display all the social media networks most businesses would ever need, and arrange the buttons above or below content, in a floating sidebar, or on embedded videos and imagery. You can even choose to have the feed icons pop up or fly in automatically, such as when a user’s inactive, is scrolling, or after they’ve bought something.

It’s user-friendly because of the custom dashboard, and you can choose your own button colours, shapes and hover effects. You can also display the follower counts on each of your feeds. The plugin has a shortcode generator, as well as support documentation and access to forums; and you have a raft of stats at your fingertips to monitor engagement. That said, it’s worth verifying some of the stats via other sources.

To access Monarch, what you’re actually buying is Elegant Themes, and whichever payment option you choose, you get all plugins, Photoshop files, themes, support, and updates. But note that Monarch is not available on the personal plan.

Get Monarch at https://www.elegantthemes.com/plugins/monarch/.

Social Warfare, from Warfare Plugins

  • Lieutenant’s package for one site for $29 a year (around £23)
  • Captain’s package for five sites for $135 a year (around £106)
  • Colonel’s package for 10 sites for $250 a year (£195).

In a nutshell, Social Warfare helps you get more shares, and, like Monarch, there’s built-in link shortening. You can put your sharing buttons above and below content, have buttons float and follow the reader as they scroll, or go for manual placement. You can show your share counts to demonstrate the popularity of your posts, and display posts on the social network of your choice using a customisable widget.

To make the most of Twitter, you can quickly create tweetable quotes, and write ready to share custom Tweets that include your handle. Or, to focus on Pinterest, you can add a shareable pin to images with custom descriptions, so your exact wording is displayed on Pinterest. And with the Frame Buster feature, you can stop hijackers placing rogue ads on your site.

There are layers of features, so I’d try it out for 45 days – there’s a no questions asked money back guarantee. More info at https://wordpress.org/plugins/social-warfare/.

WP Quicklaunch comes with important plugins installed for you with video instructions on how to use them. Use the Quicklaunch platform to fast track your website.