In the early days of social media, many people thought that it was just another fad that would fade away over time, and indeed, many have. For the majority of young people nowadays, the names MySpace, Xanga, and Friendster mean nothing.
But Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? Those names are still going strong and for a good reason.
The most popular social media platforms have seemingly become an integral part of our everyday lives, for better or worse. And for businesses, they’ve become a primary channel for driving traffic to their websites.
There are many ways to accomplish this, but one of the best methods is to get your website visitors to share your content to their own social media profiles and groups.
Outside of creating great content and using call-to-actions, the best way to get people to share your content on social media is to include social media buttons on your WordPress site’s relevant pages.
In this article, you’ll explore the many plugins that have been designed specifically to make it easy to encourage social shares of your content, but before we do that, we should mention a secondary impact that social media plugins have on WordPress sites.
WordPress Social Media Plugins and Page Speed
By activating new plugins on your WordPress site, you can increase your pages’ total size. This increase in size can significantly increase your pages’ loading speeds, which will hurt your UX and, in turn, your SEO.
There are workarounds to this problem, of course. By optimizing your site with caching plugins and using efficient content delivery networks, you should be able to reduce page loading times despite having several plugins on.
Sometimes choosing a better WordPress hosting provider can increase page speed by getting you on a newer/faster server.
Keep in mind that, while it’s great to give your visitors the option to share your content on 10 different social media platforms, you may want to limit sharing to your business’s most important channels because the more icons your plugin displays, the slower your page will load.
To measure the impact that different social media plugins have on your site, try downloading them one at a time and test your page speed using PageSpeed Insights.
After you’ve tested your pages’ speeds using different social media plugins, you can compare and contrast to decide which one hurts your loading times the least.
Speed shouldn’t be the only deciding factor in which plugin you decide to go with, however. Design and ease-of-use considerations should also be taken into account.
If you want to learn more about the more technical aspects of digital marketing like Page Speed, SEO, and more, it might be worth your while to hire a marketing consultant who can educate you on the industry trends.
Plugin #1: Shared Counts
This social media plugin comes with sharing options for the most popular platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Mix (formally Stumbleupon), and more! It’s simple to set up and easy to use.
Shared Counts can also be configured to your specific wants and style preferences, and you can make it so that the share buttons only appear before or after users go through your content.
True to the plugin’s name, the share buttons also display your content’s share count by platform.
Plugin #2: WordPress to Buffer
This plugin differs from the previous in that it’s designed for website owners such as yourself to share published content to all your business’s social media accounts simultaneously—a feature that’s particularly useful when you occupy space on several social media platforms.
Plugin #3: Better Click to Tweet
As the name implies, this plugin makes it super easy for your website visitors to share a post from your website to their Twitter profile. Better Click to Tweet appears as a quote box on your posts, which you can place anywhere you’d like in your articles.
Plugin #4: Monarch
This user-friendly plugin that’s gained popularity since its release in 2014.
With Monarch, you can display beautiful social media share buttons, which can be displayed in several different ways, whether it’s above or below content, floating as a sidebar on the screen, as a pop-up, embedded into images or videos, and more!
The vast amount of customization options lets you personalize the look of the plugin to your specific brand. With over 20 social media platforms supported, you can be sure that you’ll be able to reach your audience wherever they get their social media.
Plugin #5: Social Warfare
This social media plugin’s theme is big and bold, and its sharing buttons reflect this style.
It also has a simple user interface that’s easy to use so that you can focus less on understanding the tech and more on benefiting from the plugin.
Social Warfare has both a free and premium version. The free version allows you to create share buttons for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Mix. The premium version expands this list and gives you even more features.
The way you display the sharing buttons is also customizable, so you can set them to float on the side, the top, or on the bottom of the page.
Plugin #6: Ultimate Social Media Icons
Although less intuitive than some of the previously mentioned social media sharing plugins, this plugin’s complexity allows it to be robust and deserving of its ultimate title.
All the customizations can be accessed on one single plugin settings page in your WordPress dashboard, and it’ll guide you through how to use the plugin in eight easy-to-follow steps.
The first three steps show you how to select the social media platforms you want to display in your buttons, customize their style, and then choose their placement.
The remaining five steps are optional but advised. Here is where you can design the icons, decide whether they display the number of shares, and give you the option to show subscription forms to generate leads.
The free version of Ultimate Social Media Icons is already generous in letting you share over a dozen social media platforms. However, the premium version still gives you even more options to choose from.
Premium also grants you more designs for the icons, the ability to animate them, and more.
Plugin #7: Novashare
Some of the more notable features of Novashare include its UTM tagging, Pinterest Pin images button, and Click-to-Tweet options.
It was designed with loading speed in mind and, as such, only adds about 6KB and two requests to the front end of your website.
Novashare has the basic features provided by other social media plugins, but unlike others, its buttons are pre-optimized for both desktop and mobile display so that it looks great no matter what device your website visitors are using.
Another added benefit to using Novashare is its Share Count Recovery feature, which allows you to combine the page shares from your previous domain to your current domain.
This makes it so that, even if you migrate your website to a new domain, the social share icons will still count the social shares that occurred on the old site.
The plugin is also intuitive, simple to use, and can be configured in mere seconds.
Plugin #8: Social Snap
Social Snap is another great social sharing plugin that comes with the rare feature of embedding the share icons via shortcode.
Supporting over 30 of the most popular social media platforms, you can be sure that your visitors will be able to share your content wherever they spend most of their time on social media.
It also comes with standard features like choosing the design of the buttons, including the shape, size, and animations.
Depending on which plan you get, Social Snap also allows you to schedule automatic posts of your content to social media, revive old or dead posts, lock your content, and more!
Plugin #9: Easy Social Share Plugin
This plugin is similar to the Social Warfare plugin, except you get even more value. The catch? It’s only available at a premium. However, its thousands of fans will attest that the price is definitely worth it.
Along with the standard features that come with other social media sharing plugins, Easy Social lets you use advanced A/B test features so that you can test the effectiveness of icon placements, display triggers, and more.
A bit advanced? Certainly. But if you take the social sharing aspect of your content seriously, this is a plugin you really shouldn’t ignore.
Plugin #10: Social Share & Locker Pro
Last but not least is another premium plugin.
Like other social sharing plugins, your posts can be shared on an extensive list of social media platforms. There are plenty of customization options so that the share buttons appear however and whenever you prefer.
Try Them Out to Discover Which Is Best
Social sharing is a tricky thing to get right, partly because there are just so many options to go with. To truly discover which one is best for your website, I recommend you try out a couple of your favorites, measure the results, and then choose a winner.
As mentioned earlier, you want to choose a plugin that looks good, is easy for your website visitors to use, and that doesn’t slow down your site too much.
You also want to make sure that the developer of the plugin you decide to go with is frequently adding updates to the plugin. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a plugin that quickly falls out of fashion as these types of plugins continue to evolve and improve.
Hey, I’m Dale! I’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people just like you around the world learn how to create a website over at CreateAProWebsite.com. Whether you want to make a beautiful blog, portfolio, or business website, we’ve got you covered with our easy-to-follow guides and tutorials!