These days, no website should go without at least some basic social media integration. If you’re a content creator, enabling readers to share various services is a must. But you can also go beyond just the basic share buttons.
You might even want to automate the process of sharing that same content on your own social accounts. Then there are the methods for enabling social media login, commenting, and analytics.
If your website is powered by WordPress, adding this type of functionality couldn’t be any easier. Some plugins cover everything mentioned above and more.
Here are some outstanding free WordPress plugins that run the gamut of social media integration:
Photo galleries are a popular feature for many websites. But, if you’re already on Instagram, why reinvent the wheel?
Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed is tied to your Instagram account. Set it up and the plugin will display your feed as an attractive gallery. And it also brings back oEmbed functionality – something that had previously left WordPress core. The pro version offers advanced features, such as the ability to display hashtag feeds and image lightboxes.
If you run an online community or membership website, users will have to fill out yet another registration form – and keep track of one more account. But with WordPress Social Login, you can enable the use of their social media accounts instead.
The plugin integrates with all the major social media networks. In addition, it works with popular WordPress plugins such as BuddyPress and WooCommerce.
Want to combine all of your social media posts into a single feed? Flow-Flow Social Feed Stream can make it happen. It works in conjunction with the “big four”: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.
This can be a server-intensive process. That’s why the plugin utilizes AJAX and caching to speed things up. You’ll also find post-share counts, mobile compatibility, and plenty of design settings. If you’re looking for even more social networks for your feed, the pro version has you covered.
AddToAny Share Buttons is one of those plugins I find myself turning to over and over. It provides an easy-to-use and highly customizable way to add your basic social sharing icons.
Place them directly into your template or create a floating share bar. You have access to virtually every social media platform (over 100 in all), and it integrates with Google Analytics. Use the included icons or your own.
Indeed, with over 3 million active installs, Jetpack is one of the most widely used plugins out there. And since you may already have it installed, it’s worth mentioning that there are some powerful social media tools built right in.
Besides adding social sharing buttons, you can also automatically post your content to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more through their Publicize feature. Your readers can also use their WordPress.com, Twitter, or Facebook accounts to comment on your posts. Who knew?
WPSSO is a plugin that works behind the scenes to make sure your WordPress website contains valid Open Graph and Schema Markup, among other things. This helps ensure that when your content is shared on social media, it’s properly read by services like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. For example, this information will make sure that Twitter Cards grab the right images, etc.
Even more advanced features are available in the Pro version of the plugin.
If you’re running a WooCommerce shop, the free Facebook for WooCommerce plugin will help you harness the power of the popular social media network. Integration with Facebook Ads provides conversion tracking, optimization, and remarketing.
But you can also create a Facebook store that connects your WooCommerce products directly to Facebook. You can list your entire catalog on Facebook. And, when you make changes to products, they will automatically sync with the social network.
Blog2Social is a suite of tools to make automatic posting of WordPress content to social media work on your terms. It connects to your Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter or other social profile and lets you customize messages, hash tags and more for each service.
It’s also great for re-sharing older posts. The Premium version features advanced scheduling, allowing for more than one concurrent profile on a specific network and more.
BONUS: Scriptless Social Sharing
The plugin claims to build a set of links and can be displayed as simple icons with or without labels. Accessibility is also ensured – even if you choose not to show labels on the included icons. Frankly, I’m scared scriptless.
Becoming Fully Socialized
The ways and reasons for integrating social media into your WordPress website have grown tremendously. It’s no longer a matter of just helping users share your content (although that’s still an important piece of the puzzle).
Now, it’s also about ensuring that the social networks you care about can properly read your content. And, when users do share, you’ll want some data to see how it’s working out. Beyond that, many social network integrations add a layer of convenience for users.
With that in mind, it’s important to consider both your needs and those of visitors to your site. Choose the functionality that will make the most impact. With the plugins above, you’ll be up and running in no time.
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