Sharing is caring, as they say. When you share your content with the rest of the world, you can’t say you are doing it because you care about them but you can say it is because of the benefits sharing on social media has for you. Like it or not, social media can do a lot for the wellbeing of your WordPress site – you just need to get the right plugin to enjoy the benefits.
There are dozens of WordPress social media plugins for different purposes. While some of them are simple and straightforward – e.g. they do only one job but this is all you need – others are more complex and offer more. Here are seven plugins worth trying.
ShareThis is one of the most popular social media plugins for WordPress (100K+ active installs), and it’s also one of the easiest ways to enable your users to share your content on over eighty social sites, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Linkedin, WhatsApp, etc. The plugin comes with optional share counters (i.e. how many times a post has been shared), which is great if your posts get a lot of shares (like hundreds or thousands) and not so nice when they don’t (i.e. zeros or in the single digits).
The functionality of Shareaholic is similar to what ShareThis does, but it offers much more than simply putting share buttons on your site. As its creators call it, it is a “Content Amplification Platform, which includes related content recommendations, social sharing, following, social analytics and site monetization apps such as promoted content, native ads and affiliate links.” If you are looking for a simple social sharing plugin, this might be too complicated for you, but if you are looking for a more feature-rich plugin, this one is a good match.
3. Social Media
Social Media is a really versatile social sharing plugin. It is based on Ultimate Social Media but it has some additional features. What I like about this plugin is that there are 16 different designs for your icons, and you can also assign multiple actions to one icon (e.g. the same icon can contain a link to your profile on a social site and also used to vote for your content there). Some of the other features are a share counter, popups with a share request, animated icons, etc.
4. AddToAny Share Buttons
With its 300K+ active installs, AddToAny Share Buttons must be the most popular, though not necessarily the most feature rich, WordPress social media plugin. It allows users to share your content on more than 100 sites and uses vector (SVG) icons, which is really good if you care (and you should care) about responsive design. It has counters and floating share buttons, as well as email sharing for the most popular email services such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook.com (Hotmail), AOL Mail and more. The icon pack includes some 3rd party buttons such as the Facebook Like Button, Twitter Tweet Button, Pinterest Pin It Button, Google+ Share Button and Google +1 Button.
5. Social Media Widget
With 200K+ installs, Social Media Widget is a pretty popular plugin. Unlike the plugins up to here, this isn’t a plugin to make it easier for your readers to share your content. Its purpose is different – it’s a sidebar widget where you put links to your social profile so that your readers know where to find you on social media. It’s great when you want to popularize your social profiles and attract new followers.
6. Social Media Buttons Toolbar
If for some reason you don’t like Social Media Widget, try Social Media Buttons Toolbar. It is similar to Social Media Widget (puts links to your social profiles), though it isn’t as popular as the first one. However, who knows, you might like this one more. Since it’s a toolbar, not a sidebar widget, you can place it anywhere on your site – post, page, widget, sidebar, footer. You can arrange the buttons in a horizontal or vertical rows, as well as add them automatically to new posts.
7. WordPress Social Login
Finally, here is one more plugin that is totally different from the others on the list. As you can guess from its name, WordPress Social Login is used when you want to give your users the option to login with their social media credentials instead of having to register with your site. This functionality is useful for instances when you don’t want to have unregistered users comment on your posts because this usually leads to lots of spam but you don’t want either to make it too difficult for them to post at all because this will drastically cut the number of comments you are getting. The platforms currently supported are close to 30 and include all the popular ones such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Windows Live, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Reddit, or Disqus.
In addition to these seven great social media plugins there are dozens of others I didn’t include on the list. Social media is a popular niche, and this is why there are so many WordPress plugins. It’s hard to say which one(s) are the best because this all depends on what exactly you need a plugin for, but all these plugins do a great job, and if you haven’t tried them by now, you’ve missed a lot!